I recently shared some thoughts in an article on Entrepreneur titled “Thinking of Opening a Physical Location for Your Online Store? Ensure Success With These 4 Tips.” The article outlines some ideas on how the industry is in the midst of a shift and ways brands can find success. I wanted to share some additional thoughts and where Fourpost fits within this shift.
With the rise of online shopping, particularly on mobile, I saw opportunity in its lack of consumer engagement and founded Braze in 2011. Braze, then an entirely new form of customer engagement technology and now the market leader, allows brands to directly connect with their customers through mobile with personalized messaging experiences across push notifications, email, web messaging, and more. We’ve seen the ecommerce side of the industry continue to innovate, with companies like Shopify that make starting and running an ecommerce business as easy as a few clicks.
While some services exist to automate the mundane aspects of running a business, most do not drive success beyond these processes. With so many DTC brands now looking to create real-life experiences, I realized there was a big opportunity in applying the principles of a SaaS business to brick and mortar. Beyond basic tools and training, true value lies in dedicated support teams, event programming, and access to a community of like-minded entrepreneurs from varying industries, backgrounds, and company sizes to ensure businesses are equipped to scale, grow, and prosper.
Community and connection are key to delivering shoppers an experience they want and will keep coming back to. The focus on experience is the reason why a handful of malls, like Mall of America, and many DTC brands are flourishing at a time when retail is in flux. Experiences, such as the chance to connect with brands and events for both customers and business owners to learn from each other, can make a difference. Services, such as onsite support and dedicated staff, that build a community and foster relationships not only between customers and brands, but also between business owners, are critical to building a sustainable brick and mortar model for the next generation.
I’m excited to be at the forefront of this time of change in the retail industry and believe that this is only the beginning. What type of retail innovations do you think we’ll be seeing within the next few years?