Is American Retail Still Different From European Retail?

Visiting and working in America for more than 25 Years, I have been raised and educated to look to America first if you think new retail. My best friend always told me “you love America”. I am happy he thinks that but that’s not 100% correct. I like America very much for a few reasons. It’s a huge continent with many-many retail customers, big opportunities and of course many hard working and very motivated people.

Some of my European friends think “Americans are too superficial”. Maybe that is true, but I have experienced otherwise. During my time in the United States I met people who were open, interested and excited to share all kinds of business opportunities with me. There was always an exciting and engaging atmosphere working with them.

So for me NEW retail means, NEW retailLAB approaches and also NEW New York. We have to keep on digging and searching for the latest in new retail thinking, both offline and online.

So we have to REIMAGINE and REINVENT Retail. We have to look at the bigger picture, but have to stay focussed even more on the NEW customer experience and Making Retail Personal as well. And if we are looking at this bigger picture on the east coast we always have to see with our own eyes retail cities like: New York, Washington, Chicago (Oakbrook) and even Orlando and Miami. By visiting we still can feel and smell retail in its most original and best form. We can argue later if concepts are really new and can be (partially or totally) implemented into the European market.

For now I would like to stick to my earlier conclusion:
New technologies, the internet, traveling etc. make the world flat. However there is and will always be a huge difference between the European- and American customers.  

Cultural differences
North Americans are culturally so different from Europeans. Think of education, friends & family relationships, money-money-money, sports, politics, status, the list goes on.
Yes, Maybe and NO
Those are my clear answers before you spend too much money in entering the European market; of course the same goes for the American market… and even more the Chinese market.
Let’s have the conversation

It would be very exciting and interesting to talk to some international retail experts on this issue. Experts who have long year experiences and ‘new retail experts’ who have no experience at all.


I just read an article on new American retail concepts and I’m anxious to see and hear if this could work in Europe too.
Reading time: approx 4 minutes

These smaller retail brands are the ones to watch in 2019
Source: Published Sun, Jan 6 2019 by Lauren Thomas
(Alexander Spatari | Getty Images)

Many e-commerce brands are getting a start in New York’s SoHo neighborhood before expanding elsewhere across the U.S.

There’s a new class of retailers to pay attention to in 2019.
And some of them could soon be opening up shop in your neighborhood.

As decades-old brands like Victoria’s Secret, Gap, Claire’s and Mattress Firm are shutting stores across the U.S., combating sluggish sales thanks to lack of innovation, a group up-and-coming retailers — many of them born on the internet — are starting to grow offline. Names like Outdoor Voices, Rothy’s and Mirror are following in the footsteps of e-commerce brands like Warby Parker, Untuckit and Casper, which are slightly further along in their growth journeys at the start of the new year. These three companies already have a strong bricks-and-mortar presence throughout the country, and growing. Shirt brand Untuckit just hit 50 stores, glasses retailer Warby Parker is close to 100, and mattress maker Casper plans to have 200 locations open by 2021.

It’s these direct-to-consumer brands — as they’re often referred to because they’re bypassing other outlets like department stores and selling goods directly to shoppers — that are going to be the next businesses to help “reinvigorate” antiquated shopping malls, according to Web Smith, founder of 2PM, a subscription platform that tracks retail start-ups and their growth.

Many e-commerce brands are getting to the point where they realize they can’t grow any further through buying Facebook and Google ads, and so they’re turning to opening stores, Smith, who also co-founded shirt brand Mizzen+Main, explained in a recent 2PM research report.

“Physical retail embodies a social and tangible experience that America’s Amazon-driven format of online retail has yet to duplicate, ” he said. And so, “digital-first retailers are … investing in extending their direct-to-consumer relationships by owning permanent storefronts in worthwhile locations.” It’s a theme that’s expected to continue to ring out in retail this year. A study in 2018 by real estate research firm Green Street Advisors found so-called digitally native brands altogether have more than 600 stores blanketing the U.S., and counting.

Here are some companies to keep your eyes on in 2019, as many of them are looking to open more stores.

1. Beauty: Glossier











The outside of Glossier’s store in New York.
Source: Glossier

Direct-to-consumer beauty brand Glossier was founded by Emily Weiss in 2014 and has already raised more than $86 million. Weiss recently told Bloomberg her business would surpass $100 million in revenue in 2018. Glossier also late last year finished remodeling its flagship store in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. That one location often draws throngs of shoppers, lining the sidewalk and eager to shop inside or pose for photos in front of millennial pink-covered walls. Glossier has stores in New York and Los Angeles and this year plans to experiment with more pop-up locations.

2. Fitness: Mirror








The inside of a home with Mirror.
Source: Mirror

New York-based Mirror, launched this past fall by Brynn Jinnett Putnam, is already generating buzz in the fitness industry. The company sells a $1,500, full-length mirror that customers put in their homes and then look into to stream workout classes with coaches live and on-demand. It’s following in the footsteps of other fitness brands like Peloton, SoulCycle and Rumble, which are increasingly marketing products that offer fitness instruction at home. Mirror has raised $40.8 million to date and recently opened its first store in New York’s Flatiron neighborhood for people to experience a workout before they buy.

3. Women’s shoes: Rothy’s

Rothy’s store in San Francisco.
Source: Rothy’s

Last year, you might’ve noticed Rothy’s shoes taking over your Facebook and Instagram feeds. And now, the retailer is starting to open stores where you can see those shoes in real life, or try before you buy. Rothy’s, which was started in San Francisco in 2015 by Roth Martin and Stephen Hawthornthwaite, sells shoes ranging from ballet flats to loafers for women and kids that are made out of recycled plastic bottles. It recently landed a $35 million investment from Goldman Sachs and has raised $42 million to date. Rothy’s also recently said it planned to book a little more than $140 million in revenue for 2018.

4. Men’s shoes: Koio

The outside of Koio’s store in Venice, California.
Source: Koio

High-end sneaker brand Koio, started in 2014 by Chris Wichert and Johannes Quodt, has raised $5.1 million to date and already has a handful of stores across the U.S., including in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. But Wichert and Quodt say they’re just getting started. Koio tends to sell more shoes to men, though it offers the same styles for women. This year, the company says it will invest in rolling out new silhouettes. Koio joins a league of sneaker makers like Common Projects that have exploded in popularity of late. These companies have benefited as luxury retailers including Gucci and Balenciaga invest more in the sneaker category, making it a business everyone wants to be in.

5.Women’s athleisure: Outdoor Voices

Tyler Haney is the 27-year-old founder and CEO of Outdoor Voices.
Source: Sophie Bearman

Rivaling the likes of Lululemon and Athleta, women’s active wear brand Outdoor Voices was started in Austin in 2014 and has raised $56.5 million to date. Founder Ty Haney told CNBC last year Outdoor Voices wouldn’t count out having at least 50 stores in the future — one in every state. It currently has 10 locations up and running in cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston and Nashville. A vote of confidence for this brand: Mickey Drexler, the former CEO of J.Crew and Gap, serves on its board. Haney said he’s played a key role in helping Outdoor Voices grow offline.

6.Men’s athleisure: Rhone

A man wears Rhone clothing while walking his bike to work.
Source: Rhone

Started in 2013 by Nate Checketts, men’s apparel brand Rhone has raised $13.5 million to date. It has a handful of its own shops today, like in Brookfield Place in downtown New York, but has grow primarily though selling in gyms like Equinox and Barry’s Boot Camp, gaining a loyal following among fitness junkies. Unlike Nike or Adidas, Rhone also pushes items for day-to-day wear, like polo shirts and “commuter pants.” Rhone’s senior vice president of marketing, Adam Bridegan, has said the brand plans to have an even larger bricks-and-mortar presence in the future.

7. Kid’s apparel: Rockets of Awesome

Rockets of Awesome’s website.
Source: CNBC

Started in 2016 by Rachel Blumenthal, kid’s apparel company Rockets of Awesome has raised $19.5 million to date. It sends members — parents — a box of children’s clothing four times per year after they complete a quiz to determine the best style, be it preppy, sporty or chic. Rockets of Awesome has also started letting customers purchase individual items — like a jacket or T-shirt — on its website. And it’s opened pop-up shops within other retailers in recent months to test having an in-real-life experience. Blumenthal said stores are something she’s thinking about as a next step, as brands like The Children’s Place and Gymboree are increasingly falling out of favor with moms.