Gabriela Baiter

Founder, Whereabout Studio
I'm the founder and CEO of Whereabout, an experiential retail studio that helps brands navigate the future of retail through pop-ups and in-store experiences. With retail going through a massive transformation, we sit at the intersection of brand marketing and experiential retail, existing 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 custom experiential projects for major brands and retailers in addition to workshops and revival programs for over 100+ brick and mortar retailers.

Recent White Papers & Reports:
  • Posted on: 04/19/2018

    What makes a great loyalty marketing professional?

    Loyalty is a complicated topic that should be treated as a customer-centered ecosystem over a singular rewards program. Too often I see brands replicate Starbucks and Sephora's programs by design to later realize that their customer is craving something more. Psychological carrots that incentivize consumption is a short-term competitive strategy, NOT a loyalty strategy. To avoid this, brands should hire a mix of customer-obsessed engineers and marketers to build tools that deeply enhance the customer journey.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2018

    Meijer works to keep up with Kroger and Walmart with ‘Shop & Scan’ tech

    Running and maintaining an app is difficult. While I definitely see faster checkout as a core value proposition to download, these stores are going to need to continuously add value into that mobile experience to drive usage. As technology innovates (i.e. Amazon Go's just-walk-out tech), apps with checkout only capabilities may become obsolete. As these stores collect more customer data from their users, I imagine they will retarget them to join their home delivery programs leaving room for the in-store experience to differentiate. Front-end of stores will take on more of an experiential approach, driving inspiration and education around food culture/cooking. Exciting times ahead!
  • Posted on: 04/11/2018

    Death Wish Coffee goes from small roastery to Amazon’s ‘most wished for’ brand

    With platforms like Jungle Scout and Viral Launch, it's much easier for people to create a niche brand by re-engineering consumer pain points from generically mass-produced competitors. With so many "brandless products" existing today on Amazon and chain stores becoming obsolete, a strong brand with thoughtful positioning is sometimes all you need to differentiate.
  • Posted on: 04/09/2018

    Where will the ‘new generation of female explorers’ take The North Face’s business?

    While storytelling is the only thing you can do with ad spend, this thirty seconds falls flat. The most meaningful part of this program is what they're enabling for girls with Girl Scouts USA. Why is this left out? Considering that the organization has been slammed for depicting women in traditional gender roles by dishing out homemaking badges and spatulas as prizes in some cities, this is a HUGE step in partnering with a modern legacy brand to create meaningful change. I'm super interested in seeing how this partnership manifests into a physical space. Let's just hope it doesn't look anything like a store (unless that store is selling Girl Scout cookies of course).
  • Posted on: 04/05/2018

    Target succeeds by going big on convenience in small stores

    As options have become more abundant, anxiety has only increased in department stores. I love that these small format concepts force retailers to better curate their products and retail story to better serve their customers. To bring another point into the discussion, Target is also betting on a long-term play with college students who tend to have a higher LTV than other shoppers when exposed to the retailer early on in their purchase behavior. Not to mention, they tend to migrate to urban areas so will literally "grow with the store" as their income levels change. Smart move.
  • Posted on: 04/04/2018

    Luxury fashion hunts ‘hype beasts’ with high-end streetwear

    I agree that this is an authentic subculture that makes sense for fashion retailers. However, I've seen good and bad executions of this. Barneys didn't use a data point to allocate a corner of their store for "testing." They instead took the time to partner with the right people and use their reach to tell a story. That's the kind of commitment we should see from these retailers in the future.
  • Posted on: 04/04/2018

    Why are there so many employees in a cashier-less store?

    If we question any store's profitability in the first few months, we are missing the point. The famous Amazon flywheel starts with the customer, hence why a majority of their staffing resources are going toward human touch and not traditionally automated tasks. With a constant influx of new customers, their staff is going to have to continue training a new behavior. "Walking out" isn't shoplifting! If I had to guess, I imagine that their hiring process was very different than other grocery stores, hiring for a variety of skill sets that could adapt throughout the year. It will go something like this: A store associate with a passion for charcuterie will receive a notification that a customer is alone in the cheese aisle. The associate arrives along with a recipe to educate the customer on the best pairings. Delighted by the personalized service, they buy all of his suggestions and "just walk out."
  • Posted on: 04/04/2018

    Luxury fashion hunts ‘hype beasts’ with high-end streetwear

    This move feels like a disingenuous attempt for legacy retailers to catch up. Anyone else feel like the store-within-a-store format is a cop out? Rather than just bringing in new "trends" that spike sales temporarily, I'd love to see these retailers take bigger bolder bets that tell a larger story than "what's cool." Nordstrom Local (their small format concept stores) is not mentioned in this article but is a good comparison to randomly celebrating a subculture in a corner of their department store. At least this tactic continues to serve its neighborhoods, bringing in homegrown collaborations that resonate with the local culture.
  • Posted on: 04/02/2018

    Starbucks shifts happy hour to invite-only

    Very interesting debate here. Considering that the program didn't see any initial incremental lift, the "invite only" tactic sounds like a strategic choice to simply control the quantity of subsidies they were dishing out (while saving their employees valuable time and frustration). Based on the copy on their site ("Already a Starbucks Rewards™ member? You’re in. No need to sign up"), I imagine they are also using this as a carrot to give non loyalty members a taste of the good life, in hopes that they eventually make the switch. While it requires an additional step for the customer, that seems like a far better way to control demand than creating complicated terms with limited hours and availability. By simplifying the promotion period (year around/till close) they are training a new customer behavior, while using the full year to continue to gather rich data on their customers.
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