Non-store retailing is growing so fast, it is looking at bricks-and-mortar locations to keep the momentum going. In the first three months of this year, e-commerce and other non-store sales grew 11.4 percent compared with the first quarter of 2016, says the National Retail Federation, which factors out automobile, gasoline and restaurant sales. Non-store, as a retailing sector, includes e-commerce, broadcast selling, catalog mail order and phone orders and door-to-door sales.
Amazon has already begun to open physical stores, as have several formerly “pure-play” web merchants. Broadcast and online retailers QVC and HSN are looking at urban sites, including New York City’s 34th Street near Macy’s Herald Square flagship department store. QVC currently has a studio store and two outlet stores in Pennsylvania as well as an outlet store in Rehoboth Beach, Del. HSN has four outlet stores and its Cornerstone catalog division operates 11 stores under the Ballard Design, Frontgate, Garnet Hill, Grandin Road and Improvement banners.
QVC is doubling down on its core audience of 35- to 65-year-old women who own their own homes. “We’re going to try to find 120 to 140 items every day where we think we can tell compelling stories and inspire” that target customer, says QVC CEO Mike George.
With 55 percent of its volume coming through digital channels, HSN plans to grow mobile, which accounts for 45 percent of digital sales. HSN’s CEO Mindy Grossman left the company for Weight Watchers earlier this year; HSN’s board has established the office of the chief executive, whose members will manage daily operations and engage with the board on a regular basis until a successor is named.