Our Mission

Learn who we are and how we serve our community

Leadership

Meet our leaders, trustees and team

ICSC Foundation

Support up-and-coming professionals

ICSC Exchange

Catch up on industry ideas, news and views

Research

Check out wide-ranging resources that educate and inspire

Global Public Policy

Learn about the governmental initiatives we support

Events

Connect with other professionals at a local, regional or national event

Professional Development

Grow your skills online, in a class or at an event with expert guidance

Find Members

Access our Member Directory and connect with colleagues

Find Outlets

Get data and contact information for shopping outlets

Find Jobs

Search and post jobs, upload your resume or find qualified candidates

Become a Member

Learn about how to join ICSC and the benefits of membership

Renew Membership

Stay connected with ICSC and continue to receive membership benefits

SCT

E-tailers use physical space as marketing channel

There’s a whole universe of online tenants out there who want to use retail real estate as a temporary marketing channel, experts said during a panel discussion about specialty leasing at the ICSC New York Deal Making Tuesday.

Alana Branston, Yashar Nejati, Ross Bailey, Richie Siegel at the 2017 ICSC New York Deal Making

A host of retailers who sell their wares on the Instagram and Shopify platforms are eager to experiment with physical spaces, said Alana Branston, whose Bulletin Mini Mall stores are called the “WeWork of retail.”

“They pay a flat monthly fee. We manage the store and share data with them so they can improve their products,” Branston said. Brands come and go quickly at Bulletin stores, she added. “It’s considered marketing so the lease is short and targeted. You wouldn’t buy a Facebook ad for 10 years.” Only about 10 percent of Bulletin’s vendors expect to eventually open their own pop-up shops, she said.

These sellers are recognizing the high cost of search-engine optimization and driving web traffic, said Richie Siegel, fashion entrepreneur and author of the popular Loose Threads blog. “They recognize that retail is still the cheapest to acquire new customers,” he explained.

“We are trying to define a new category of real estate”

These retailers view the store as a marketing channel more than anything, said Yashar Nejati, co-founder and CEO of This Open Space, which matches online retailers with pop-up stores. “We are trying to define a new category of real estate,” he said. “There are a lot of Shopify entrepreneurs. We bring the brands together, and take out leases ourselves.”

Oftentimes, sales growth isn’t even a metric for these tenants, Nejati said. “The metric for success is engagement. They measure it by online sales and customer feedback.”

Tech companies such as Match.com are also increasingly coveting physical spaces to raise consumer awareness of their brands, said Ross Bailey, founder and CEO of Appear Here. “Tech companies are obsessed by the customer journey.” He said Match.com’s recent pop-up store in London helped raise the company’s brand awareness by 50 percent in the market.

By Brannon Boswell

Managing Editor/SCT

Related Topics:

  • retail & retailers
  • specialty leasing

Save on getting the scoop

Our members get discounted publications, access to ICSC Exchange, and a free subscription to Shopping Centers Today.

Join ICSC today