Leasing

How Digital Native Brands Find a Space in Retail

Posted June 12, 2020

Rosedale Center, upper level stores including Athleta and Lush

There’s a new trend these days that most retailers didn’t see coming. Digital native brands (i.e. e-commerce businesses like Amazon, Casper, Allbirds, etc.) are now going brick-and-mortar. Why the sudden change in retail landscape?

Well, let’s take a step back and consider why customers go to shopping centers and retail plazas rather than buying “all” their products online. The answer is simple: customers want unique, personalized experiences and more opportunities to test your products before they buy them.

Sure, shopping online is easy, but physical spaces lend credence and authority to your brand in ways that purely e-commerce stores cannot. According to a report from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), ” As we look to the future, a hybrid form of commerce is emerging, one in which shoppers move seamlessly between the physical and digital worlds of retailing as they research products and make purchases.”[1]

The Benefits of Multichannel Experiences

Most customers follow a similar path when shopping for new products, but a multichannel setup offers a unique opportunity to reach people when they’re ready to buy or are looking to buy. The pattern looks something like this:

  • Wants/Pain Points: Your customers have a specific need or “want” that motivates them to purchase a product to make their lives easier, more exciting, stylish, or to solve a pain point they have.
  • Research/Reviews: Once customers identify their wants/needs, they go online to find out which brands offer the best, most cost-effective solution. While researching, your customers will likely compare your products to other sellers, read reviews, investigate prices, etc.
  • Experience/Explore: After completing the initial online research, customers may either choose to go with your product or may still feel undecided. For these shoppers, the obvious next step is seeing and interacting with your products in person. They’ll find your location (or a retailer who sells your products) on their smartphones, see if the item is in stock, and plan to travel the distance to get a better look and feel (i.e. personal experience).

They may also want to talk to your employees and ask questions as part of their journey, rather than decipher messages from an automated chat tool. Again, this is all part of the customer’s need for a personal experience.

And for the customers who already know they will buy from you, they want their product now, not later. So, rather than paying for delivery and waiting the 5-7 business days it takes to arrive, they will venture to your retail space and make the final purchase in person.

A New Era for Digital Native Brands

As we watch the retail industry continue to evolve, there’s no question that we’ll start seeing more direct-to-consumer brands make a space for themselves in the physical retail environment. And technology, though it allows us to make purchases online and avoid long lines and traffic, will play an important role, as well.

Many retail stores, for example, have already provided their employees with in-store apps to allow customers the option of buying their products online after they try them out in the store.[2] This allows shoppers to still enjoy the personal retail experience they want and also avoid the hassle of checking out later.

The same strategy applies to in-store pickup. Customers still get the experience of being inside the physical space of your retail store and interacting with your brand, but they can ensure the products they want are available and waiting for them when they’re ready to leave, allowing them more time to browse and perhaps make a second purchase.

Need Help Renting a Retail Space?

Choose Rosedale Center to help bring your digital native brand front and center in a thriving retail landscape. To get started, simply fill out our online form. If you have questions about renting a retail space at our mall, contact Holly Rome, the executive vice president of leasing, at 651.260.3545, or download this leasing brochure for more details!


[1] ICSC. “The Future of the Shopping Center Industry.” Retrieved from https://www.icsc.com/uploads/default/Envision-2020-Report.pdf

[2] RetailDive. “10 Retail Trends to Watch for in 2019.” Retrieved from https://www.retaildive.com/news/10-retail-trends-to-watch-in-2019/545314/

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