Bulletin is bringing online-only products to real-life concept stores.
Brooklyn-based start-up Bulletin is giving retail a makeover and reimagining the brick and mortar experience. The retailer, which has opened stores in New York’s Soho and Williamsburg, rents out temporary physical space to independent, normally online-only brands.
Online retailers can rent everything from a shelf to a full corner of store space. The model, which fits into the sharing economy, has previously been called “WeWork for retail” and “the physical embodiment of a lifestyle blog.” Decisions about what to display are driven by social media trends and popular blogs.
For consumers, the excitement comes from the constantly changing face of the store. Every few weeks, the store chooses a topical theme and stocks an entirely new range of products around it.
“We think retail stores need to be reinvented to optimize for experiences instead of conversion,” Alana Branston, CEO and co-founder of Bulletin, tells JWT Intelligence. “In other words, creating spaces that deliver memorable experiences to customers rather than just focusing on increasing sales. If stores are treated as a marketing channel, it won’t matter if the conversion takes place online or IRL.”
With the rise of co-working spaces and co-living spaces, co-retail stores may be the next collaborative concept to take off. For online-only brands, Bulletin offers a new channel to launch products, engage with existing customers in new ways, and connect with new customers that may not have come across the brand online. This model is also a great way to test out where a brand might be most successful and identify strengths and weaknesses.
Research shows that, despite the convenience of e-commerce and the vast number of online purchases made every minute, consumers still enjoy the thrill of seeing, touching and engaging with a product. One study found that 85% of consumers prefer to shop in-store and 71% would even prefer to shop at an Amazon store over Amazon.com.
Bulletin is the latest concept to show why it’s a mistake to think of the future of retail as either digital or physical. For now, the future is both.