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Online retailers going back to (some) brick-and-mortar?

One option that has become available for retail businesses in recent years is the option to do their customer sales entirely online, and to not have a physical retail presence.

However, just because a business initially opts to go the online-only route doesn’t mean that it won’t someday be in the market for brick-and-mortar retail space. An online retailer could later choose to have some physical retail spaces for customer to visit.

For example, the major online retailer Amazon.com recently opened up over 20 new physical retail locations in America. These retail spaces are “pop-up” electronics stores. A couple of these new stores are located in Texas, including one here in San Antonio.

This is part of a recent trend of online retailers experimenting with and looking into having some physical retail locations in addition to their digital stores. It will be interesting to see what this trend ultimately results in here in the United States.

When an online business opts to have a physical store, there are many big choices to make including:

  • Where to locate the store.
  • Whether to have the store be a pop-up store or a more permanent presence.
  • Whether to rent or buy the retail space for the store.
  • What kinds of real estate transactions to make in relation to the store.

These decisions have both practical and legal aspects. Addressing things properly is just as important for the legal aspects as it is for the practical ones. So, online businesses may want to bring in a skilled real estate attorney for guidance when taking efforts to expand into having a physical retail presence.

Source: San Antonio Express-News, “Amazon bringing physical pop-up store to San Antonio,” Joshua Fechter, Sept. 14, 2016

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