For startups, opening a real-world, physical store can seem a bit quaint. Who wants to deal with the sky-high rents charged in prime, urban locations, not to mention getting locked into a long-term lease?
Well, a Y Combinator-backed company called Bulletin is looking to offer a more flexible experience for brands who want to sell their products in brick-and-mortar stores — COO Ali Kriegsman described the approach as “We Work for retail.”
To do that, Bulletin takes a physical location and divides it into different sections of varying sizes — some of them are just a little bit of shelf space, some of them are much bigger. Then each of those sections can be rented out by different businesses on a month-by-month basis.
For the customer, that means you can come into one location and see products from a variety of smaller, independent brands. And since there should be plenty of turnover, the products and companies could be different every time you visit.
And compared to normal stores, those brands get much more control over the experience — Kriegsman described it as “their own store within a larger space.” They can decide what products get displayed and where, they determine the pricing and they also set up an iPad in their area to show more products, collect email addresses and whatever else they want. (The in-store salesperson works for Bulletin, but each brand gets to train them.)
In some cases, brands may see this as a way to experiment with brick-and-mortar retail. In other cases, they might just want to rent out space for a month or two to launch a new product. Kriegsman said that as long as they give 30 days notice, it all works. (The rental and setup process should only take five days, she said.)
While Bulletin hasn’t shut down its online sales, it’s now focused on taking the pop-up strategy and applying it to more permanent locations. It opened its first store in New York’s Williamsburg neighborhood last November, which Kriegsman said is now “fully booked” with brands. It also has a second store in SoHo — and while the Williamsburg store is stocked with home goods, the SoHo location is focused on products for women.
Via Tech Crunch