Fifteen years ago, a generation of dot-coms flamed out by trying to sell everything from pet food to fashion items to couches online. While the Pets.com sock puppet remains in mothballs, a host of brick-and-mortar retailers are embracing e-commerce–first strategies. Perhaps the biggest case in point: The Home Depot, which recently announced that it’s pulling back on physical store openings and plowing $1.5 billion into an e-commerce initiative. Other retailers — in categories as diverse as mattresses, flooring products, and eyewear — have taken similar leaps.
All adds up to further evidence that consumers now feel comfortable buying practically anything online and that retailing is blurring into a single cross-channel model.