A dark store, also known as dark shop, dark supermarket, or dotcom center, refers to a retail warehouse or distribution center that is solely built for online shopping.
A dark store is generally a large warehouse that can either be used to facilitate a “click-and-collect” service where a customer picks up an item they have ordered online, or as a complement to online sales. Companies can, for example, use their retail warehouse, or dark store, primarily as storage for their online business but also as a physical store where customers can physically go to shop. Think of a hybrid warehouse that can be used as both storage for an online store and as a place for customers to shop in person. One company that utilizes this warehouse management approach is IKEA.
The use of the term “dark store” began in the United Kingdom and has since spread to parts of Europe, Russia, and the United States.