TORONTO — The Canadian Press has reported on the growing number of Canadian online merchants who are expanding into physical store spaces, through pickup locations, pop-ups, and showrooms, as retailers learn not to put their eggs in one basket. Despite dire warnings about the fate of bricks-and-mortar retail, a survey last year by research firm CROP found 68% of Canadian shoppers prefer to buy in store. Brent Barr, who teaches branding at Ryerson University, said that most people aren’t aware that only 8% of sales are made online.
Kendall and Justine Barr, Edmonton sisters who run made-to-order footwear brand Poppy Barley, initially planned an all-online model. That vision lasted less than a month, as they heard from prospective customers who wouldn’t buy shoes sight unseen. They added a showroom in their head office and a store at Edmonton’s Southgate Centre Mall, and have hosted pop-up events in cities from Vancouver to Toronto. Meanwhile, Shopify is set to open its first physical store later this year, in a still-undisclosed city.