PROFILE

Gabriela Baiter

Founder, Whereabout Studio
I'm the founder and Creative Director of Whereabout, an experiential retail studio that inspires brands to show up, in real life through pop-ups and in-store experiences. Sitting at the intersection of brand marketing and retail, our studio exists to transform passive showrooms into meaningful brand outposts for the new consumer.

With over a decade of experience crafting brand strategy at Uber and Facebook, my passion for the industry has manifested itself in to leading dozens of experiential projects for major brands in addition to workshops and revival programs for over 100+ brick and mortar retailers.

While working with founders is my first love, I've also founded retail concepts of my own including Dozy Rex, a DTC pet brand and Homemade Society, a wandering restaurant concept in Portland, OR.

Recent White Papers & Reports: www.whereabout.studio/resources
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  • Posted on: 08/31/2018

    How should Tiffany modernize its flagship?

    The most shocking part of this article is finding out that only 45,000 of the 124,000 square feet space are used for retail. With so much space, I actually would argue that there is room to target different areas of the store to serve Millennials and baby boomers in the same place. Using the space to bring people into Tiffany's world is brilliant. If they extended their lounge spaces and take a hospitality-led approach to selling, they can maintain their heritage while appealing to a broader customer base.
  • Posted on: 08/23/2018

    Is Victoria’s Secret’s ‘buy 2, get 1 free’ promo the beginning of the end?

    Bottom line is Victoria's Secret needs to reinvent itself. Minor changes in the design or discount cycle isn't going to give it a comeback. Instead VS needs to think about [what she wants] and create a service that moves her more than a teeny tiny panty set. Sex appeal was once the answer, but now it's empowerment, inner beauty and self love. If I was on the VS team, I'd close down stores that are performing notoriously low and open up new, fresh small format concept stores with a NEW NAME that breaths life and purpose back into the brand. I'd also bring in complimentary brands (i.e. Sage Wellness/Casper/Girlboss) with a better reputation that can help boost its image. People have to see the store in a completely new way to shift their mindset.
  • Posted on: 08/14/2018

    Can H&M finally become a serious online competitor?

    This is an interesting one to say the very least. H&M has always been considered the "cheap and fast" shopping trip, but the mayhem and inventory overload that you experience in-store always gets in the way of that. While I'm glad to see "find in store" and "scan and find" features adopted, these still leave customers on their own. Where are the assisted selling tools that up H&M's service game while removing excess inventory on the floor? If there was less STUFF, perhaps people would actually be able to find what they need.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2018

    Is your culture your brand?

    Super interesting topic today. I definitely feel strongly that an internal culture has to stem from a strong sense of brand/self. If a brand doesn't know who it is or what it stands for, they are not going to attract employees who are passionate about their mission. This directly correlates to employee dissatisfaction which leads to temporary solutions of distraction that are out of touch. Rather than trying to only implement solutions that give employees a "break from work," brands should come up with ways to reinvigorate their minds through "work that doesn't feel like work." These tactics should always make employees feel closer to the product or service that the brand provides. A few examples that come to mind are Patagonia, Airbnb and Uber. Patagonia allows their employees to take one service-based trip a year that protects the environment. Airbnb gives their employees $1000+ travel credit a year to travel the world. Uber allows their employees to suggest real projects they want to solve and if their project is chosen, they provide them with a team and plane ticket to solve it for 10 days over holiday break.
  • Posted on: 06/26/2018

    Ralph Lauren’s Club Monaco takes pop-up strategy beyond its flagship


    I own an experiential retail studio that helps brands pop-up around the world. When sourcing locations, we often come across store-within-a-store concepts that can work for clients with a lower budget. While these can be great for niche brands to capitalize on foot traffic and audience fit, it can have its drawbacks for retailers if it lacks focus. As Club Monaco expands this concept, I'd love to see them brand the space and inject more storytelling. Showing off products and offering workshops across beauty, travel and home is a first step, but how can this feel even more integrated in the future? Perhaps they position it as not just a new destination in store but a "Clubhouse" for customers to try out new products that embody the Club Monaco lifestyle. For the travel category specifically, they can invite their customers into the Clubhouse to discover exotic destinations that inspire their collections. By featuring a rotating line of international products and fare, customers build a deeper connection to not just the pop-up brands, but also Club Monaco.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2018

    Sam’s to open small concept focused on tech, fresh and grab-and-go foods

    Perhaps they pivot from "club memberships" to a loyalty-based subscription model? This way they can downsize their inventory in-store while reordering people to reorder replenishable items online.
  • Posted on: 05/31/2018

    New Whole Foods’ store-within-a-store concept is ‘rooted in nature’


    The one thing that Whole Foods has on Kroger is a smaller store footprint and merchandising strategy with a carefully curated product mix. The plant and flower section in the front of grocery stores has been around for years, so I do see Whole Foods continuing to test this as a discovery zone. With Amazon's customer data and Whole Foods' retail expertise, I imagine we'll see a lot more store-within-a-store "tests" that appeal to the impulse buyer.
  • Posted on: 05/29/2018

    Target’s new Instagrammable collaboration is a sweet deal

    Totally agree Max. Given Target's similar brand values, this partnership makes so much sense. By leading with the experience, people will naturally want to buy and take a piece of it home with them.
  • Posted on: 05/29/2018

    Target’s new Instagrammable collaboration is a sweet deal

    I hear you Charles. The one thing I'd caution retailers on is having the brand be too much of a focal point here. While in-store photo ops are great, asking people to take photos with their purchase in front of a branded back drop isn't enough anymore. The Museum of Ice Cream takes this concept further by creating "Instagrammable" scenes that people naturally want to take photos of. By designing and positioning it as an experience vs. a photo booth area, they improve the experience overall while driving social shares.
  • Posted on: 05/24/2018

    AriZona Iced Tea taps ’90s nostalgia with pop-up

    A brand can't tap into nostalgia "just because." The retail story has to be an extension of the brand purpose and ethos or else it will be overlooked. This pop-up does a great job at combining multiple tactics that appeal to this generation of experience seekers without over indexing on one over the other:
    • '90s nostalgia = relatability;
    • Limited edition merch = exclusivity;
    • Temporary pop-up = urgency;
    • Speakeasy = discoverability/personalization.
    On an unrelated point, I also LOVE how they are paying homage to the "family business" and hope they continue to own that narrative moving forward.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2018

    Should Starbucks acquire Blue Apron?

    You can make an argument for Starbucks to acquire any ready-to-eat meal company. However, just because Blue Apron has a similar audience doesn't mean you can change the product's entire value proposition to fit in. People equate Blue Apron with DIY meal prep, not ready-made, period. The only way I can see this working is if Starbucks kept the integrity of the product and served it up for the late-night crowd (4 p.m. to 8 p.m.) who is working late and needs an easy solution. Either way, it's a stretch.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2018

    The importance of prioritizing high(er)-value customers

    Agree with your point here. On the data front, retailers have to stop using their own data to identify "potential" high value customers based on past purchase behavior alone. Machine learning and artificial intelligence can now predict with more than 90% certainty who is willing to buy more from you using a combination of rich mobile data (i.e. social habits, apps, purchasing behavior). Retailers should also consider basic logic in their approach. For instance, college students will never be your highest value customers based on spending behavior, but by nurturing them early on (via lower priced products / targeted experiences), brands are making a critical investment for the future.
  • Posted on: 05/10/2018

    DSW’s rewards program includes ‘emotional experiences’

    I couldn't agree more. 5/6 things mentioned are discounts/cost savings, but disguised as something different. (Birthday gift discounts, early access to discounts, etc.) Their program already has 25M members, so I hope DSW plans on highlighting each of these benefits independently to avoid getting lost in the shuffle. Other emotional experiences they can explore:
    • After hours shopping events for VIP members;
    • Access to personal shoppers/stylists (virtual and in-store);
    • First to access exclusive product including limited edition collaborations, etc;
    • Reserve shoes online, try on in-store.
    The key is to eliminate pain points in the outdated wear-house shopping experience and make their customers feel special. If they can reward "the hunt" across channels, the value of their loyalty program will vastly increase.
  • Posted on: 05/08/2018

    Walmart associates check out customers on the floor in pilot program

    This is an interesting one. I applaud Walmart for innovating their check out experience, but why not also test this out in different areas of the store? With the size of their footprint and larger product inventory, there is an additional pain point of people who wind up dragging large items across the store to later change their mind. If Walmart removes the inventory and turns these sections into showrooms, these spaces can be dedicated to experience and trial. Associates can use "Check out with me" to reserve the items that people want to buy and place them in their car when they drive up to the back. As far as associate vs. shopper enabled check out -- I am all for having the customer do the least work while they are shopping. Until other retailers can duplicate Amazon's "Just walk out" technology, human touch is a huge benefit to improving the customer experience inside these retailers while making life easier for them. While check out is a first step, I hope to see Walmart experiment with other assisted selling tools that empower the associate with product information and CRM capabilities that create more of a dynamic shopping experience.
  • Posted on: 05/04/2018

    New Brookstone concept brings makers to the mall

    As someone who lived down the street from Roosevelt Field growing up, it's great to see them continue to innovate. For the Makers, the visibility that Brookstone offers will be great for initial product feedback. However, rather than targeting people in suburban areas who have more discretionary income, they should consider placing these concept stores in major urban cities where early adopters are more prominent.

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