Brick-and-mortar stores are still an important avenue for online retailers to gain new customers

Brick-and-mortar stores are still an important avenue for online retailers to gain new customers
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  • Over 18 million Americans currently use a subscription box service, but digital brands still rely on in-store discovery to attract new customers.
  • By having some products available for sale in brick-and-mortar stores, this allows new customers to discover a brand while doing their regular shopping routine.
  • Subscription dental brand Quip and BarkBox, which is one of the most popular pet subscription boxes, have courted new customers through stocking products at popular retailers like Target and Walmart.

Over 18 million Americans currently use a subscription-based service, but some of those digital-first brands have added in-store campaigns to expand their footprint and attract new customers offline.

For dental brand Quip, selling products at brick-and-mortar retailers like Target and Walmart is the biggest way the brand is getting its direct-to-consumer reach, Shane Pittson, Quip's head of growth and marketing, said at IGNITION: A Retail Revolution.

Pittson added that by selling its products in-store, Quip is able to "explain the benefits of [a] direct relationship and subscription convenience." Customers who discover the brand offline in this way are more likely to make the leap to a subscription.

Meghan Knoll, general manager of BarkBox's Super Chewer themed subscription box, shared the same sentiment, adding that the subscription box and retail options "complement each other."

"It's important for us to over serve dog owners where they are," Knoll said. "The ability to feel and try and buy a toy at retail as the first touchpoint has been a pretty powerful thing."


For both brands, relationship building is key. BarkBox sends out handwritten letters to pet owners after a move to see if the owner's dog is adjusting, and Quip allows subscribers to set reminders for upcoming dentist appointments so they're never forgotten.

"Having that authentic conversation, letting them know we're crazy dog parents too has been important," said Knoll.

That relationship-building was one of several other topics — including how to keep subscribers excited for products throughout the month and how to make subscription boxes as effective as possible— that Pittson and Knoll discussed during the IGNITION panel.

The entire panel is available to watch here.

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