The CEO of the 'Airbnb of retail' explains why stores should be run by 'showmen' instead of 'accountants' in order to survive
- Appear Here is an online marketplace that allows landlords to list short-term leases. It's been described as the "Airbnb of retail."
CEO Ross Bailey explained to Business Insider what he believes are the key ingredients to creating a successful shopping experience.
- Bailey said retailers need to bring showmanship back to stores to keep customers interested.
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Ross Bailey wants to bring good retail back into the mainstream.
Bailey is the 27-year-old founder and CEO of Appear Here, an online marketplace that lists short-term leases and helps to connect landlords to brands or entrepreneurs looking for temporary spaces. The company first launched in London and has since spread to Paris and New York.In a recent conversation with Business Insider, Bailey described what he believes are the key ingredients to creating a good retail experience. He drew from his own experience running a pop-up store seven years ago and from observing the more than 200,000 brands or entrepreneurs that have come through his platform.
Our conversation immediately led to US department stores, a pool of retailers that have been hit hard by the rise of e-commerce and the demise of the American mall.
But Bailey didn't seem to have much sympathy.
"[US department stores] were about taking the city to the suburbs," he said. "Right now you go into a department store, and quite frankly, they're crap."
He continued: "The biggest fundamental problem about retail is it is being run by accountants. It should be run by showmen."The art of creating an experience has been called out repeatedly by experts as a key element in creating a good store. Now, more than ever, brick-and-mortar stores need to give shoppers a reason to come to their stores as e-commerce sales continue to grow. If stores can't win on convenience, they should look to win elsewhere.
A pool of digitally native retailers such as Bonobos, Glossier, Everlane, and Casper are paving the way with innovative new store concepts. They are treating their stores as places for customers to connect with the brand, rather than necessarily being the place to make the actual purchase, which can be done online.
Longtime leaders such as Nike are also finding ways to offer more exciting experiences in their stores.
Nike's massive new flagship store in New York is a good example of this. The store opened in 2018 and has the largest collection of Nike shoes for sale in the world, plus highly innovative technology that offers in-store experiences like instant purchases for app users.
"The store incentivizes users to engage with the brand through their mobile app by offering enhanced services and store experiences from digital lockers for same-day product purchase and pick-up to instant scan and checkout," Maya Mikhailov, chief marketing officer and cofounder of GPShopper, a mobile retail app developer that looks at ways to drive customer engagement, recently told Business Insider.
"This is the future of relevant flagship spaces," she said.