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Startup Watch: Storefront

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Over the last decade brands have been focusing on how to make their online experience enticing to consumers, but today there is a fast growing trend towards innovative online retailers launching temporary pop-up shops to create hype and brand awareness. To keep up with this new demand French Startup Oui Open and American based Storefront have merged to provide a global marketplace of pop-up stores. Keeping the name Storefront, the company have created a tool and marketplace that connects brands and designers with retail spaces for rent.

Much like Airbnb, Storefront have a marketplace business model which matches excess capacity with the demand for capacity in an efficient and scalable way.  This includes seamless bookings, standardised contracts and insurance policies. Brands simply submit a proposal, finalise the details and the rest is taken care by Storefront. It means the retailers have no commitment and a budget friendly way to get started with a retail presence, when the time is right for them. Their goal is to make retail more engaging, transparent, productive and of course accessible. The two companies together will manage 10,000 listings across top shopping districts including New York, Paris, London, Hong Kong and Amsterdam.

Offline channels still drive a massive 94% of retail sales and are crucial in allowing brands to connect with customers on a personal level. Customers come to stores for an experience – they seek a memorable, multi-sensory experience rather than a product or service, so there is a pressure for retailers to provide something that can’t be reproduced online. For many companies it makes sense to start with a trial pop-up shop before launching flagship stores in high-profile shopping districts. To put the benefits into perspective it costs $2,000 on average to open a pop-up with Storefront compared to $98,000 for a traditional brick and mortar store. A Storefront pop-up takes 12 days to set up versus 60 days.

Google opened its first ever real life shop in London which gave people an opportunity to physically play, experiment and learn about all of what Google has to offer from its range of devices to a totally connected, seamless online life. This is the perfect example of an online company using a physical shop to raise brand awareness and provide fresh ideas and experiences in the physical world.

Storefront have already worked with big brands like Nike and Kanye West. As brands continue to rely on pop-up stored for special events and product launches, expect Storefront to be providing the spaces! Real life experiences will continue to be fundamental to retail marketing, and this is especially true for online retailers.

Find out more & rent your space at thestorefront.com

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