Untuckit co-founder and CEO Aaron Sanandres tells Internet Retailer the merchant operates 36 stores and plans to open 17 more this year. “That’s a pretty ambitious goal, but underscores our bet on retail,” Sanandres says. But online still reigns when it comes to sales—75% of Untuckit’s sales still happen online, Sanandres says.
Sanandres uses the words retail and omnichannel interchangeably because he says customers don’t think about retail in terms of omnichannel, they think of retail in terms of service and convenience.
Sanandres says he knew soon after launching Untuckit in 2010 that the company would need to provide its customers with stores. “Our customers simply wanted it,” he says. “Customers wanted to be able to touch and feel the shirts. Implicit in their requests was a shared view that retail outlets help establish a level of trust that an online-only company can’t—or would find it difficult—to match. So, for us, it wasn’t a question of if, but rather when,” he says.
Untuckit’s first step into offline retail took place in the fall of 2015, when it opened a pop-up store in the Soho neighborhood of New York City. “We used the preceding years priming the market with brand awareness—a product of a rigorous marketing effort—and wanted to test whether we could support a retail position in a geographically desirable, high-traffic and high-rent location,” Sanandres says.
For Untuckit, No. 405 in the Internet Retailer Top 1000, Sanandres says omnichannel is an approach to sales that seeks to improve the convenience of shopping. For a retailer born online, this starts with ensuring the online store is shoppable across the range of digital devices consumers use. For some whose customers covet the convenience of the internet, it might end there, he says. For others, like Untuckit, it moves beyond this into providing a retail outlet. “Once you have an online and retail presence, it’s then about refining the convenience of each of those channels by allowing customers to shift seamlessly across your channels and offering things like buy online, return in store.”
He adds that one feature that sets Untuckit apart from some of its ‘click-to-brick’ peers is its stores carry inventory, so customers are able to walk out of the store with product. That’s different from digitally native competitor Bonobos, for example, which operates 48 “guideshops” that provide shoppers with fittings and try-ons through one-on-one appointments. However, shoppers don’t walk out with anything at those shops; the “guides” place orders for customers and clothes are shipped to customers.
Sanandres says Untuckit focused on premium locations for its retail stores from the beginning. “Finding the right co-tenants for a new brand is pivotal, and we were willing to pay a premium for that,” he says.
Sanandres says the No. 1 metric he uses to gauge omnichannel success is usage. “I want our customers to take advantage of the convenience we’re trying to provide. For now, that means driving online customers to stores and driving store customers to online.”
Untuckit scored 26 points out of a possible 77 points in Internet Retailer’s evaluation of its omnichannel practices. Internet Retailer’s research team evaluated 24 retailers on 29 omnichannel metrics to come up with a score. Complete evaluations, including score sheets and commentary from field researchers, are available in the report: Omnichannel Winners in U.S. E-commerce. The report is available as part of Internet Retailer’s U.S. Reports Pro Membership and as part of Internet Retailer’s Platinum All-Access Membership. Single copy sales are also available.