There are inherent advantages to shopping online — convenience, access to information (e.g., product reviews), personalized product recommendations; likewise, shopping in a brick-and-mortar store has its advantages as well — the ability to touch, feel and try on a product; personal attention from store associates; instant gratification from walking out with your purchase. Now imagine combining the best of each. Retail nirvana, right? Well, Hointer, an apparel retail startup, is trying to accomplish just that.
In the heart of Silicon Valley, Amazon.com veterans are trying to disrupt the experience of shopping in a store. Former Amazon supply chain Vice President Nadia Shouraboura, who launched the Hointer Inc. clothing company in Seattle last year, is set to open a store in Palo Alto, Calif., on May 1. But there's a digital twist: The new store, like all Hointer shops, will have almost no salespeople. It will also change its prices dynamically to prevent the increasingly common practice of consumers browsing in stores, only to buy from online retailers who offer the same goods for less.