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The Shared Space Approach to Brick-and-Mortar

by simon
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Small companies in search of more sales should never shun the brick-and-mortar route. Yes, it seems like brick-and-mortar is in a state of uncertainty.

But suppliers are testing the shared space to give shoppers the personal experience they still want.

This is a trend that author and researcher Pam Danziger noted in a recent “crystal ball” piece forForbes. Customers in 2017 will seek more personal shopping experiences.

Young customers and affluent baby boomers alike want “special services and products that only local small businesses can provide.”

Big box retail and eCommerce don’t provide that kind of experience, as a rule. In the ongoing scuffle between online and physical retail, there’s still plenty of room for the human connection.

Success in Share Space Retail

Take Colleen Imrie’s “Nook” concept, for example.

The Toronto-based entrepreneur over the last year has established three shared retail spaces.

Each one is curated, and designed for a specific category. They all give small, local suppliers a place to grow customer relationships.

DesignNook was the first. It opened last April.

DesignNook has 78 vendors selling small items, from restored vintage and antique to beauty products.

The Toronto Star writes that Imrie soon had a waiting list.

She opened two more spaces in response. NiceNook Lifestyle is for vendors of upscale luxury items. GoodNook is marketed as a “foodie” shopping destination.

The Nooks give vendors something more permanent than a pop-up store but less risky than a long-term retail lease. Vendors commit to a minimum of four weeks and pay $120 to $300 a month (depending on which Nook they set up shop).

The fee covers the rent. It pays for staff to do the day-to-day sales when vendors are not on hand.

Shared Space: Not New, But Still Unique

The shared space is not new.

It does appear to mesh with this rising trend of the personal shopping experience.

Taking part in a shared space in the right location (a historic building, a lively part of a town) could be a viable transition step from the pop-up store to the long-term retail lease.

A supplier developing an omnichannel strategy with a retail facet will do better using a platform that integrates POS with their inventory.