November 11, 2019
By Mitchell Hernandez
The intersection of brands and places creates meaningful convenience and exceptional experiences. But, this now familiar convergence didn’t happen overnight; it came at a cost, and it has triggered some uncertainty, especially when it comes relevance.
But of course, this also means huge opportunity in retail.
At Beta, we think the answer lies in whether a brand or owner has taken advantage of the intersection of two core, connected concepts: meaningful convenience and exceptional experience.
We conceived these two themes at Beta to help create a purpose for brands and places. These two concepts are a direct result of consumptionism and disruption. Companies can no longer assume they are relevant because technology has commoditized industries. As a result, companies must create convenience for consumers.
Experience, on the other hand, is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Not everything needs to be experience-driven. For example, accessibility trumps for the budget-conscious consumer who needs to replace tires or quickly grab a lunch break in under 40 minutes.
What matters today can best be described with a cup of coffee.
Meaningful convenience is being able to go to a Starbucks and have a frictionless experience. This occurs as we (1) place our order on a Starbucks App remotely (2) park in a short-term stall (3) grab the item from a mobile-only pickup station. This frictionless experience is meaningfully convenient, as customers gain 10 or more valuable minutes back in their day.
An exceptional experience is quite the opposite and seeks engagement. On any given weekend, we can walk into our local coffee shop such as Gum Tree Cafe in Hermosa Beach, CA (pictured above), and embrace friction. This experience leads to small talk, enjoying the surroundings, slowing down the process, and maybe additional sale opportunities. If you walk into Gum Tree Cafe, for example, they have a beautifully curated retail store, perfect for gifts or finding the next household item for your kitchen. I would easily spend an extra 20 minutes on the weekend here, versus 20 seconds going to my nearby Starbucks.
The polarizing difference in these examples does not mean that brands and places have to be meaningful convenience or exceptional experience. Instead, it should address relevancy and identifying the purpose. Today, more than ever, we need to be more thoughtful and transparent with consumers to fulfill desires. There is no doubt we have too much retail GLA, but this contraction is an opportunity.
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Dennis Kaiser