Online-only operators choosing to offer customers a hands-on experience with their product. (And then, those pesky customers were in their stores, but 'Just looking, thank you.' Who knew?) These and others fit into our category of “retail-as-added-use.” Retailing is not their core competency; they are manufacturers or direct marketers, or wholesalers, or importers, or whatever. Nonetheless, they are confident that they can better represent their products and brand to the customers than can professional retailers. Hmm. We think they are likely to discover that there is more to retailing than meets the eye. In fact, consider our analogy: We think that opening and successfully operating a retail store is a lot like assembling Ikea furniture. It takes a lot more time than you expected It requires a lot of attention to detail. It has an amazing number of small parts It has no written instructions There is no shortage of opinions of how you should be doing it Having a picture of the finished result is sometimes not all that helpful It is highly unlikely that you will be successful on your first try It can seem a bit rickety even after you think you are finished Let us be perfectly clear. Ikea furniture is terrific. Loved and used by millions. But so are stores! Successfully going from a vision to its accomplishment? The pros make it look sooooo easy.