A recent survey in the United States of the shopping habits of 18- to 25-year-olds suggests that just over two thirds of them - some 68% - prefer to shop in stores for clothing and shoes.
"Retail observers have been significantly overestimating our use of online and digital technology for shopping - we like shopping in stores," says Nicole Flasch-Mihalko of LIM College, which carried out the survey with the National Retail Federation in the US.
IMO, it really depends if your competitive advantage as an ecommerce company is being the price leader or being in an under-served niche.
If you're simply the price leader, I think it's hard to survive in a retail setting with big wages and rent, both of which are significantly lower as a website. On the other hand, if you're in a underserved niche with large margins, I think it might work well.
We did it for several years and went back to web only last summer. I found that the B&M was a distraction. We could not do web marketing and B&M marketing at the same time well, at least as a small business. Plus, overhead (especially extra employees) was significant, even for our modest location. For us, the downsides outweighed any additional sales.