Most of the things we get to own in life come from a physical store stockpiling them: clothes, furniture, electronics, cars. Even homes are tangible entities sitting on a physical lot.
Digital assets, on the other hand, exist as a record of zeroes and ones at the very low level; at the higher level, they are computer records in a database structured to accommodate them.
Domain names are one such type of a digital asset created to exist and operate across computer networks. They are registered, transferred, sold, and deleted, merely by altering "flags" designated to demonstrate their status.
It's quite clear that the lack of a physical storefront creates a negative effect to some—an illusion that domain names are inherently easy to come by, of a value equal to the initial registration cost, and that they can't be resold at a price that has appreciated many times over.
Naturally, none of this is true. Domain names are unique and appreciate in value, building up a cost that can range from hundreds to millions of dollars. Aside from the monetary value, they are representations of brands and products, and links to content accessible through many types of software, apps, and devices.
In that sense, a physical storefront for digital assets sounds like an oxymoron. There is no physical entity that defines a domain name, so it can't be stockpiled in shelves and atop counters. And yet, that's the beauty of domains; they can exist in a digital format and exist by the thousands and millions without the need of as much as a square foot of a physical storefront.
Hold that thought for a second, though: what if a physical storefront existed, merely emphasizing the digital qualities of domain names?
Some digital services do exist in a hybrid state; for example, phone services. One can go to a T-Mobile or Verizon store, get a phone plan, a number, and a phone. That latter is the "bait" or the reason to make it into a store.
In a similar fashion, a physical domain store would involve a card with the domain's credentials, codes, and a payment plan. You get to buy and hold the material "bait" that feeds your consumer hunger, and yet acquire a digital asset that is completely usable online.
Perhaps it's not a crazy idea, after all, and one I'd like to see for select domain inventory from the Uni Market and Afternic: domains that can be showcased in stores specializing in such digital assets, or in stores that already sell phone services.
For the heck of it, perhaps a GoDaddy store would be a literal storefront in select markets, offering domain registration cards with a code that can be used online to register domains and other services.
Am I thinking outside the box? Of course. And this is how things evolve in life.