PARIS, France – Newly launched platform Guesst bills itself as a digital matchmaking service between brands and retailers. Based in the US, Guesst allows brands to ‘pop-share’ an existing retail space, thus reducing the time and cost involved in organising a traditional pop-up.
On the other side of the coin, Guesst provides brands with the opportunity to make the jump from e-commerce to physical retail less financially burdensome. When you consider the cost of hiring staff, plus renting a space (in the right neighbourhood for the right price), it’s easy to see how this concept is inviting. Brands simply send products to retailers to sell on consignment – and the retailer takes care of the rest.
Enticing customers into stores is clearly a concern facing all brick-and-mortar retailers today. So what’s the draw for retailers? Without the burden of inventory, retailers can theoretically use the platform to leverage their own space and staff whilst injecting newness into the customer experience. To stand out from online competitors, we’ve found that retailers cannot rely on being a transactional space – attracting new customers is about delivering unique in-store experiences.
One of Guesst’s major partners, Steven Alan, is itself undergoing a substantial downsizing. Over the last two years, the retailer has closed a majority of its stores across the US, shuttered its wholesale operations and terminated its optical licence. Steve Alan’s partnership with Guesst could be seen as part of its strategy to rejuvenate the brand’s in-store offering without the
At this stage, it’s hard to say whether or not a service like Guesst can turn the tide on dwindling foot traffic as customers prefer the ease of shopping online. But we’ll be watching to see if the platform can help retailers like Steven Alan stay afloat in a less than robust brick-and-mortar climate.