The hottest new trend in online shopping is ... offline shopping?
Facebook announced Monday that it’s opening nine small business pop-up shops inside Macy’s department stores across the United States. At the stores, wares sold by brands that are more commonly discovered through Facebook and Instagram will be available in the real world for holiday shoppers to browse through, touch, try on and buy.
The pop-ups launched this week and are open through February in Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Pittsburgh, New York City, San Antonio and Las Vegas, according to Facebook. Each shop features “100 of the most-loved small businesses and digital-native brands,” Facebook’s announcement said.
Facebook isn’t alone in looking back to brick and mortar, even as more Americans turn to online retailers for their shopping needs.
Warby Parker, the online glasses-seller, is aiming for more than 100 real-word storefronts before the end of the year, CNBC reported, and other startups (Casper with mattresses, Untuckit with button-down shirts) are following that path as well. E-commerce giant Amazon — blamed by many for the fall of once-mighty retailers like Sears — has begun opening real-life bookstores and cashier-less retail outposts.
Two Blind Brothers, a brand that makes soft designer clothes and sends some of its proceeds to research blindness, is one of the Facebook pop-ups’ participating retailers.
“Facebook has been a core partner in our growth,” Two Blind Brothers cofounder Bradford Manning said in a statement released by Facebook. “For Two Blind Brothers and the majority of businesses participating, the experience will allow consumers to experience our brands and quality in a physical store for the first time ever.”
Other brands available at the store include Bespoke Post, Love Your Melon and Charleston Gourmet Burger Company, as well as other clothing, food and beauty upstarts, Facebook said.
“Macy’s shoppers will have the chance to meet businesses like Love Your Melon that sells hats and apparel to help in the fight against pediatric cancer,” said Facebook’s Director of North America Marketing Michelle Klein, according to Techcrunch, “or Charleston Gourmet Burger Company that started from a backyard barbecue and has expanded to reach customers in all 50 states.”
Techcrunch reports that Facebook covered the cost of bringing each of the small businesses into the Macy’s pop-up, and neither Macy’s nor Facebook will take a cut of the brands’ revenues from the shop. But participating in the venture could encourage businesses to buy more ads promoting themselves on the social network.