Companies of all sizes that once sold primarily through multi-brand retailers are building on their experience running online stores by opening direct-to-consumer brick-and-mortar locations. Established retailers are shifting their focus from basic transactions to offering compelling brand experiences and higher levels of personal service. Design stores that once catered to professionals are welcoming independent consumers, as Houzz, Pinterest and Instagram give rise to a legion of do-it-yourself decorators. And even companies that started as online-only enterprises are increasingly opening physical stores. To understand why, just follow the money. Read more at The New York Times.