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E-tailers Get Brick And Mortar

Bonobos is the latest online retailer to join the brick-and-mortar world as e-commerce sites bring their brands to unique versions of the traditional retail platform. The e-commerce men’s apparel brand is opening its fourth offline showroom in Chicago on October 15, following recent openings in New York, Boston, and Palo Alto, CA. Called a Bonobos Guideshop, the showroom-cum-retail store will allow customers to see and try on the full range on clothing the company offers for sale online.

“Feedback we’ve gotten from a lot of male shoppers since Bonobos started has indicated they wanted to know more about the clothes and how they fit before making a purchase,” said a Bonobos spokeswoman of the plan to open a Chicago showroom, reports the Chicago Business Journal.

Assisting visitors in the Guideshop will be Bonobos Guides – brand experts that walk customers one-on-one through the full range of Bonobos items, from suits and denim to button-down shirts and washed chinos. Bonobos Guides provide the hybrid service of a fit expert and style advisor, removing the hope-it-fits downside to the e-commerce experience.

“The positive response to our initial Bonobos Guideshops, coupled with the tremendous sales success of these spaces reinforces that we’re on to something with our e-commerce showrooms,” says Bonobos Founder and CEO Andy Dunn.

In the past year, several major on-line only boutiques have gone or announced plans to go brick-and-mortar. Gap Inc.’s Piperlime opened its doors this month in New York’s Soho neighborhood. Eyeglass e-tailer Warby Parker’s first offline storefront is coming soon to the same neighborhood, while high-end e-tailer Net-a-Porter continues to experiment with international pop-up window shops. A fifth Bonobos Guideshop is expected to open in Washington D.C. by year’s end.