As a shopper, you're probably familiar with the unique feeling of our stores—an environment built for discovery and interaction, with some of the newest and most innovative products around. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to talk to our b8ta testers, or maybe you even took home a new gadget or two.
What you might not be familiar with is what goes on behind the scenes. Our model is different—as different as the store itself. We don’t buy and resell product like a typical retailer; we offer Retail as a Service to makers and brands ready to get into physical retail on their terms. As of today, we’ve partnered with over 500 brands both big and small, opened 16 flagship locations across the U.S., and have been paving the way to a new form of retail as we know it.
We’re proud of what we’ve built. So proud, we want to take a moment to reflect, and even pat ourselves on the back for building a retail model that brands love. Here are the top five reasons why brands partner with b8ta and stick around:
We’ve built them a new marketing channel.
Companies have discovered that not only does b8ta give them direct access to their customers, their marketing teams also unlock a marketing platform comparable to their digital ads. Today, brands are relying more and more on digital advertising, yet seeing fewer results. With a b8ta placement we give marketers a new measurable and effective way to find and acquire customers; it’s the first offline strategy that’s just as easy to launch as online marketing ads.
Through our stores and platform, partners can understand how a customer discovers and interacts with their product in real life—they see impressions, engagements, demos, and more. Our partners can add offline to their marketing mix, drive digital-to-store journeys, build new types of programs and activations that complement their online strategy. Furthermore, the offline customer is typically much more qualified than a customer who views a product online. This results in a more engaged prospect and greater conversion rates.
We’ve created a testing ground.
The technology in our stores offers a testing ground for brands to learn how customers discover, interact, and feel about their products. From big brands like Google testing new merchandising strategies, to younger brands like Meural learning from their customers, we’ve designed our stores and software to allow brands to understand their offline presence.
Each product is merchandised next to a digital tablet that brands have complete control over. Companies login to their b8ta dashboard to update messaging, add imagery and video content, or even change pricing, all in real time. The dashboard offers quantitative feedback on how the product is performing in store and, with the chat function, gives brands a direct line of communication with the b8ta testers in our store. Brand partners can ask how customers are interacting with the product, the most frequently asked questions, or even “Why aren’t people buying my product?” These quantitative and qualitative insights combined create a rich dataset that our partners use to learn about their customers, inform product development, and optimize their digital marketing spend.
One example is our partner Meural, CEO Vladimir Vukicevic sites how the b8ta platform has helped them with product development:
“Letting people play with the product is both scary, wonderful, and completely necessary. Ultimately it’s an educational experience for a young company. The things we’ve learned from the customers using the product have led to extreme levels of product development. The sooner we got Meural in front of people to gain feedback, the sooner we had a more complete product.”
We’re designed for flexibility and scalability.
Getting into physical retail doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing. We allow brands to be flexible with the number and locations of stores they launch in. We’ve seen some of our smaller brands choosing to launch in only five or six stores to test and hone in on their retail strategy and messaging. Once they hit their stride they have the opportunity to scale to more or all b8ta stores, or expand to more placements with the rest of their product line.
We interviewed Brian Min, Founder of Qwerkytoys, Inc. to get his perspective on the flexibility and scalability of the b8ta model:
'"With b8ta we control our inventory, I have the ability to change pricing, or scale the way we want to scale so we can take on more risk when we can, and less when we need to. It seems so logical, and yet a lot of bigger retailers are stuck in the old method. b8ta isn’t, and the Qwerkywriter has really benefiting from that. "
We make retail easy for our partners. Traditional retail can be more of a burden than a benefit with difficult inventory management systems or no insight into what’s going on once it’s hit the shelf. Our platform makes launching simple and our customer support ensures partners have a thorough understanding of what’s going on with their retail channel.
Brands are our partners—and partners keep 100% of their sales.
One of the biggest differences between a traditional retailer and b8ta is how we charge. We’ve fundamentally changed the way products enter retail. Most retail companies don’t consider the companies they purchase from “partners”, rather just a transaction to buy and resell inventory. At b8ta, instead of buying inventory and reselling, we charge a flat monthly fee for space in our stores. The fee is all-inclusive of inventory management, experienced staff, your online retail dashboard, marketing opportunities, and more. In the same way someone can buy a space at a farmers market, we let brands buy space in our stores (plus we supply retail data, a tech platform, full-service management, and more). Brands keep 100% of their sales. b8ta takes no margin and no cut of the profit; just a simple flat monthly fee.
Since we approach retail differently, working with b8ta is quite different than working with a typical retailer. Because we don’t make money from product sales, we’re a true partner to every brand in our store. Our energy is focused on ensuring our partners are happy with their placement, and we’re invested in making sure our partners are successful in retail. From our b8ta testers to our CEO, we act as an extension of the brands' teams giving companies the easiest and most informative path into physical retail.
Think of us as your new retail department that does retail better than it’s ever been done before. Whether you’re interested in launching in stores for the first time, or you’re already in retail but want to test a more experiential store, partnering with us will give you a new and exciting offline channel of growing your business.