A mall carves out pop-up space for online brands

Discussion
Rendering: Simon Property Group
Oct 16, 2017
Tom Ryan

Attempting to bring greater brand discovery to the mall, Roosevelt Field on Long Island is introducing The Edit@Roosevelt Field, a space dedicated largely to online-only brands.

Edit@Roosevelt Field, to launch in November and filling 3,500 square feet, will feature a rotating selection of “exciting and diverse new brands, with the initial collection taking shape now.” Brands already signed up for the initial launch include Raden Smart Luggage, Millennial-focused Skinnydip London, menswear brand Vitaly, athletic apparel specialist Rhone, beauty brand Winky Lux, Beltology, dessert maker JARS by Dani and contemporary art gallery Uprise Art.

Brands will be displayed in micro retail units ranging from 20 to 200 square feet as part of a turnkey retail platform. Custom-designed modular fixturing systems, digital media walls, staffing solutions are being offered to those seeking space.

The space was designed by O’Neil Langan Architects and leased through Appear Here, which specializes in short-term rentals. Also collaborating on Edit@Roosevelt Field was AllWork, a technology platform that helps companies remotely locate, vet, manage and pay workers on the retail floor.

Shoppers will also be able to interact with brand ambassadors who will be on hand to provide product information, brand storytelling and convert sales. For some participating brands with online businesses only, this will be their first foray into brick & mortar.

Zachary Beloff, national director of business development for Simon, said Edit@Roosevelt Field enables brands to “come to market faster and more visibly than ever before” in a physical setting. He added, “This concept is a design-centric, experience driven, and completely transitional place to discover new product and technology in a brick and mortar space. Our customers will be able to experience and interact with new brands like never before.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see potential in The Edit@Roosevelt Field concept for other malls? Do online brands have an edge when bringing new brands to market? How else can physical stores support discovery of young brands?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"I’d be thrilled if rotating pop-ups became the new 'anchor' stores for malls."
"I expect we will see more of this as malls demonstrate leadership in bringing physical retail to new heights."
"Having pop-up shops allow online brands to see what their products look like “in the flesh” and gives the chance for live feedback."

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28 Comments on "A mall carves out pop-up space for online brands"


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Charles Dimov
Guest

Exceptional. One of those “why didn’t I think of that” ideas. The Edit@Roosevelt concept has some amazing potential. It lets online pure-plays get a taste of brick-and-mortar, and do it with the latest technology. I expect that more of these concepts will start popping up across malls. We should start seeing much faster development of online pure-plays into omnichannel retailers in the next few years.

Exciting times!

Sterling Hawkins
BrainTrust

What a great way to keep malls relevant as a platform to connect online and in-store. It’ll keep consumers engaged and give online retailers a chance to be in direct contact with shoppers. We’ll see a lot more of this in the future and more technology and experiences that work cross-channel as well.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

This concept is going to continue. Simon Property Group are not the only ones thinking about this and it makes sense. Now we have to add the retail systems component to the offering.

Mark Ryski
BrainTrust

Hats off to Simon for launching the Edit@Roosevelt concept — this is the type of innovation other mall operators should consider. Making it easy for online and emerging retailers/brands to test consumer acceptance in major malls is good for the mall operator and the emerging retailer. Simon gets to test new potential tenants and bring new offerings to existing mall visitors and the new brands get physical retail exposure with a low investment and risk in major malls. Win-win.

Mall operators should consider offering these new retailers additional support and services from analytics to merchandising in order to nurture their growth.

Joanna Rutter
Guest
2 years 1 month ago

Repurposing inactivated mall real estate for fresh, engaging ideas? Yes please! The experience of pop-ups shouldn’t just belong to Soho tourists. With a data-driven approach, Roosevelt Field can bring in brands their visitors want, making their mall a destination for new shoppers. I’d be thrilled if rotating pop-ups became the new “anchor” stores for malls.

Chris Petersen, PhD.
BrainTrust

The single most powerful retail medium of the future will be customer experience. At this point in time, it is the one thing that you can not replicate online. Amazon is buying and building stores. Alibaba is building a mall for it’s marketplace retailers. The Edit@Roosevelt Field is a new iteration of the march toward the merger of online an physical retail, with the focus on the customer and their experience.

Until AR/VR becomes a credible alternative reality online, experience with people in a physical space will be a premium that differentiates. Said another way, the store will be become even more about the experience and less about the merchandising products on shelves.

Art Suriano
BrainTrust

This is an excellent idea and one that makes perfect sense. I strongly feel that brick-and-mortar of the future will be a balanced blend of the internet and in-store shopping working together. We continue to see e-commerce businesses open stores as we also continue to see brick-and-mortar businesses expand their e-commerce presence. What Roosevelt Field is doing is providing an opportunity for e-commerce to have an introduction to the brick-and-mortar experience without the massive investment. I can see this concept easily expanding to malls throughout the country. I also see many of the e-commerce companies who participate in the Edit@Roosvelt Field program soon opening brick-and-mortar stores once they see success.

Phil Masiello
BrainTrust

I think this is a very smart new way for malls to promote customer engagement and utilize excess space. But it isn’t going to drive new traffic, so it will be limited to strong performing malls only.

New products and brands, whether online of offline, never have an edge. Brands really need to be creative to get their message out and their brand through the clutter. Certainly there are less expensive opportunities online to introduce a brand. However, at the end of the day, any brand needs to have a message that resonates with consumers in order to have meaning and gain traction.

Physical stores today need to be creative with technology and partner brands in order to create an engagement with their customers. Nordstrom has done this very well in the area of customization with partner brands.

Nir Manor
BrainTrust

This is yet another great example of how omnichannel should be implemented. This is a win-win both for online brands that needs physical presence and malls that need to find new ways to utilize ttheir space. I believe will see more and more cooperation like that. The challenge will be to justify it by sales and revenues and not only by “branding” that is more elusive to measure.

Laura Davis-Taylor
BrainTrust

Love, love, love this. It reminds me of what Fabletics is doing by building brick-and-mortar to get deeper insights on product acceptance, fit, merchandising stories and customer behavior for their online strategy. What a great and evolved perspective! But for brick-and-mortar, I’m excited to see how these brands, so unencumbered by legacy store dogma, come into these spaces with a fresh perspective. I hope someone starts a blog to cover what they do!

Cate Trotter
BrainTrust

The pop-up market is incredibly strong and it makes a lot of sense for shopping centers and malls to be factoring this sort of space into their thinking. For the online brands it’s usually a cost-effective way to dip their toe into physical retail, see what works and what customers respond to, without the risk of a long lease. I think the mall will benefit from always having something new to offer customers — it makes the shopping center experience much more dynamic rather than it being the same spaces every week!

Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

This great idea promotes one of the last great differentiators: customer experience. It’s a good thing to get more awareness and exposure to the audience who may not have seen your online presence. As this grows to more locations, it might actually begin to move the needle for revenue. One location most likely will not for most merchants.

Roy White
BrainTrust

This is one of those really good ideas that tell us a couple of things. One, mall developers are moving with the trends as the popularity of pop-ups grows, and, two, pop-ups have now come of age. They are now an accepted form of retailing, not a fringe format, not an experimental idea any more. Pop-ups have arrived. And since this program address online-only sellers, it also tells us that the relationship of digital selling and physical stores is ever getting closer and more complicated.

Ed Dunn
Guest
2 years 1 month ago

There is a revolution in retailing lying underneath that needs to be addressed. The future of retailing will be nothing more than large flat-panel screens and handheld/table-mounted tablet screens.

QR code payments have already matured and are predicted to take over in America as Asian shoppers bring the QR purchase behavior here. Hardware card processors and back-end systems subject to hacking are no match to dynamically generated QR codes and tokenization for security and payments.

Large screens can be fed real-time information on sales data, inventory availability and serve as personalization assists with a microphone and camera to conduct computer vision. Future retail malls can simply provide a space with screens and tablets and quickly move in and out tenants and future retailers will have cloud-based services to get retail locations up and running quickly.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust
Ken Morris
Retail industry thought leader
2 years 1 month ago

As malls look to revive traffic and generate more rental revenues, they need to be creative. The Edit@Roosevelt Field concept is a smart strategy for both malls and online-only brands. Department stores have lost their lure as mall anchors and stores that have passionate, loyal customers (like Apple and Whole Foods) are the new “anchors” or “sails” for malls.

The new concept of short term leases in malls for online stores is a great way from small online brands to gain greater awareness and use the space for special product introductions and events. This will be especially appealing for brands with products that consumers prefer to touch and try on or demo (apparel or electronics).

With this new concept, malls can organize themed events that promote the online brands that will attract more visitors to the mall and increase the awareness of the brands. A win-win!

Seth Nagle
BrainTrust

I like the concept. One of the biggest issues with malls is their is very limited excitement/surprises. Stores in New York have had great success by revolving their inventory quarterly, so why not a storefront in a mall?

Also I really like the idea of small showrooms in large-format stores. Going into a Best Buy is almost like going into a little tech expo of all-things innovative. If larger stores can create these mutually beneficial relationships then they should be able to create a unique in-store experiences in stores that shoppers are excited to visit.

Peter Luff
BrainTrust

Pop-up stores in shopping malls have certainly had some success in the UK, so the idea of a turnkey managed facility for online brands is an engaging one.

The skills and resources required to be a successful retailer on and off-line are very different. Support with elements such as fixturing systems and staffing solutions will surely help bridge the skills gap, but other facets such as successfully conveying the essence of the brand physically and the ability to close sales will present new challenges to the online teams. If successful, everyone will be a winner: the shopper will be stimulated by new content in the mall, the mall will draw more customers and the pure-plays will gain a stepping stone experience of the transition to brick-and-mortar.

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

At the Store Operations Council meeting last month, numerous retailers talked about their plans for creating compelling store experiences, including in-store birthday parties, makeovers, mani-pedis and more. Get ready to see anything and everything that will create interest and drive traffic. We might actually be looking at the beginning of a new Golden Age for retail.

Ed Rosenbaum
BrainTrust

Excellent idea and a potential marketing success in the making. Let’s take it a step further and allow mall retailers to rent the space for a specified time to promote whatever they choose. Like as a preview of what they have that is in the store. I think this concept has a tremendous upside to it.

Lee Peterson
BrainTrust

Smart. I’m sure we’re going to see a lot of this going forward as more space opens up and the idea of paying rent for an abbreviated hot business cycle (as opposed to all year) takes hold. It’s a no-brainer for both parties. The only issue would be who else is left standing. You don’t want to have your hot pop up next to “Charlie’s Neighborhood Candy Store” or some such tenant. It looks like the real estate department will remain relevant for a bit longer.

Phil Chang
BrainTrust
Phil Chang
Retail Influencer, Speaker and Consultant
2 years 1 month ago

I love the concept. Discovery of new brands should happen anywhere that is possible. Having pop-up shops allow online brands to see what their products look like “in the flesh” and gives the chance for live feedback.

For malls, this is the innovation that’s going to allow them to re-discover how to be a hub for their community.

I think the initial perception is that online brands have a serious advantage, but I think that the only advantage that an online brand has is that it’s designed to move faster than brands that are in bricks and mortar. “Regular” brands can compete and reverse engineer their way into online and do the same things. (They’ll love the margins too!)

Kenneth Leung
BrainTrust

Makes sense. Here in SF, the Westfield Mall has a retail lab and co-working/meeting space, plus opportunities for new online brands to showcase items. Malls have to give shoppers more reason to visit than the traditional “anchor store” concept. New malls I think need to offer diverse experiences, from food to services to experience and, constantly, new items to be successful.

Karen S. Herman
BrainTrust

With Edit@Roosevelt Field, Simon Malls is taking a similar turn-key micro retail concept launched last November at the Mall of America and giving it an online brand focus with an international edge. Both are much needed innovative offerings to engage consumers that are bored with the typical enclosed mall shopping experience.

Do I see this conflicting with the Cart and Kiosk offerings that Simon has been improving lately? Yes, and I am interested to find out the rental costs in comparison.
Bottom line, all can offer an experiential, interactive and engaging shopping experience, if designed right. Edit@Roosevelt Field is a great start.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

The small space allotments and randomized nature of this make it seem more like a lottery than a “store”, so I’d be hard pressed to guess how useful people will actually find it. And I think the same could be said for the brands themselves: the number that can be spotlighted is so small I’m not sure how useful it will be for the ocean of brands that is actually out there.

Michael La Kier
BrainTrust

MAKE SHOPPING GREAT AGAIN. This is a fun idea. It provides a reason for people to come back to the mall and see something new. And it gives online retailers a taste of what it’s like to have a store.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

What a fantastic blending of pop-up retail, online shopping and a way to bring traffic back into malls! This is something mall owners should be saying: “Why didn’t I think of this sooner!” The idea of curating online-only brands of interest to select shoppers and providing them a pop-up space to showcase their products is a great blending of physical and digital retail. And without even adding a mobile app (yet)!

I expect we will see more of this as malls demonstrate leadership in bringing physical retail to new heights now that department stores have yielded. If the malls start providing technology infrastructure along with the fixtures and digital media walls for key things, like network communications and mobile devices for checkout, the barrier to entry for online brands will be minimal and we’ll start to see brands lining up in front of mall owners to be the next participant.

Min-Jee Hwang
Guest

This concept reminds me of Snapchat. Bear with me here. Part of Snapchat’s success is that there’s always something new to delight users, so they keep engaging with the app. Similarly, The Edit is giving shoppers a reason to keep coming back. While it will take time to see if this works out the way they intended, the idea behind it is a step in the right direction: engrain the concept that, in order to succeed, malls need to provide a new and exciting experience to shoppers.

Alex Levashov
Guest

Very promising initiative, especially that pure-play online retailers will be provided with guidance and support about going offline.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"I’d be thrilled if rotating pop-ups became the new 'anchor' stores for malls."
"I expect we will see more of this as malls demonstrate leadership in bringing physical retail to new heights."
"Having pop-up shops allow online brands to see what their products look like “in the flesh” and gives the chance for live feedback."

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