As the Classic Department Store Falters, These 4 Challengers Want to Upend the Retail Model

An adjacent industry is cropping up

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Don’t call it a comeback—call it a renaissance, a golden age of retail. Contrary to headlines bemoaning the death of merchandising, the so-called “retail apocalypse,” it’s still alive and kicking and was all anyone talked about at this year’s Shoptalk retail/commerce conference. 

While legacy retailers are experimenting with all sorts of ways to keep customers coming through the door—nail salons, laundry service and buy-online-pickup-in-store offerings—a new breed of store is cropping up, one that brings the digital experience to a brick-and-mortar environment. 

A few of these—b8ta, Bulletin, Neighborhood Goods and Showfields—offer direct-to-consumer companies the ability to grow their brand, all the while taking a cut of sales, data or both.

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This story first appeared in the March 18, 2019, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.