Innovation in Retail
With the current economic climate and online retail sales set for continued growth, traditional retail is finding new and innovative ways to keep it’s edge, by re-thinking what it means to be a physical store and considering what advantages the physical has over the virtual. New concepts, similar to those already offered by brands such as Apple and Burberry, provide the best of both worlds by combining the experience of the two. A retail space where virtual meets physical, in concept-like stores more akin to galleries than traditional shops, creating spaces that allow for full immersion into a brand. Certainly this is something that online alone cannot offer. Even the most successful digital brands recognise the importance of physical retail, with Ebay and Amazon having both recently experimented with physical retail concepts. Google also, is reportedly planning a museum-style concept store in New York. It would seem that there is still some hope for the future of retail.
One new concept which aims to help especially new designers, get their collections on the high-street, is Spacerebel.com. Conceived by Thomas Weikop, almost as an extension of his online global showroom, MYTRND, Spacerebel works, by offering retail space, in bite size chunks, to both Brands and Designers. It works for retailers by offering them a low risk model to diversify their product ranges and to allow them to react quickly to current trends. It works for Designers, by offering them low cost access to new markets, in premium retail locations, across Europe’s key retail capitals. At the same time helping them avoid expensive sales reps, agents and significant investment.
We spoke to Thomas Weikop at Spacerebel about the concept:
The concept for SpaceRebel evolved out of our work with mytrnd.com which is a large global showroom for more than 3.000 of the best fashion brands worldwide. We have had many talks with fashion brands across the globe and the need for a direct contact to buyers which in this case most often are store owners, became more and more explicit. We talked about stretching the basic concept of mytrnd but realised that a new platform with the contact as the main focus would be the best solution.
How did you know the idea would work well with designers?
We have had interviews with more than 100 designers. Completed questionnaires with more than 1.000 designers. The answer was very clear. Designers want access to new markets. They are generally looking for alternatives to expensive sales representatives and agents. Smaller designers are especially looking for a stepping stone to new cities. Mid size and larger brands are looking for pop up store opportunities to test how the market will react to their design and sales strategy.
What are your main goals for SpaceRebel?
We have several.
1) First of all we want to explore the unique opportunities within space management. There seems to be so many possibilities when we look at new ways of share space, utilize the potential of space as we know it. The short-term rental of smaller unit’s we have started with at SpaceRebel has already proven to fulfill a huge demand. There are opportunities within the area of larger areas also for instance Pop-up stores. We do also have plans within large scale contracts.
2) On a very personal level we find great pleasure in helping smaller designers reach new ground.
3) Looking at the the retail global sector it seems evident there’s a urgent need to find new ways of driving business. The traditional business model has been under pressure for years. New thinking in this field is crucial.
Which cities can designers rent out shelves and why those particular places? Will you think about branching out further?
We start with 6 cities in Europe: Amsterdam, Milan, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Barcelona and London. The limited geographical spread has helped us gain critical mass in these cities. Yes, we do have plans to expand and the organic growth has already started. We have had more than 50 stores signing up within the past 2 weeks. We have been thrilled to see applications from absolutely fantastic stores in places such as Berlin, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Riga, Sydney and Budapest.
What does the launch on SpaceRebel mean for designers?
- a) Creation of new sales channels
- b) Expansion to new markets
- c) Higher demand
- d) Promotion, publicity and access to new target groups.
- e) Minimising risk as all costs are set from the beginning.
- f) Lower cost as the alternative with own sales staff and local agents is an expensive and risky alternative for many designers.