B8ta isn’t shy about entering new categories, first bringing its retail-as-a-service platform to traditional names such as Lowe’s and Macy’s while building out its own stores, then partnering with Tru Kids Brands to resurrect Toys ‘R’ Us ahead of the holiday season. On Nov. 15, the company will make perhaps its most curious move yet — opening a fashion and lifestyle concept called “Forum” in Los Angeles. Additional locations will be announced in 2020.
Alala, a women’s athleisure brand, is the first confirmed anchor partner that will showcase its products within Forum. The store will feature a rotating selection of products from more than 25 local or sustainable brands such as Poplinen, Silked, Remu Apparel and Just Human. Generally, anchor partners will receive a greater share of space inside of a Forum store and be featured for a longer period of time than the rotating brands, according to Philip Raub, Co-Founder and President of b8ta.
Retail partners operating within Forum can design their own space and have creative control to curate experiences for consumers. This includes product launches as well as community, influencer and VIP events designed to help retailers bring their brand ethos to life for individual Forum shoppers.
Forum will leverage the retail-as-a-service platform built by b8ta, which is designed to deliver insights to brand partners on in-store engagement, sharing metrics such as the number of guests that walk by their display, time spent browsing and how often an item is taken into the dressing room.
B8ta is outfitting every dressing room of Forum with RFID technology, so participating brands can track which products customers are bringing into the fitting room and compare them with the ones that are purchased. Via a digital display, brands can offer suggestions on product styling and even encourage social media sharing. Shoppers also can read about the brand and products, as well as request different colors and sizes through the display.
The brands will take the full revenue from their products, while paying b8ta a flat monthly fee. Fees are determined by square footage and services provided.
“Shopping used to be a very social experience, an experience in which learning about the maker or the product origins were typically present elements,” wrote Raub in a company blog post. “Somewhere along the way that got lost and the shopping experience has become far more transactionally focused. At Forum, we aren’t looking to challenge the simplicity and ease of the online experience, but rather to create a place where consumers can discover new products in an in-depth way, learn about the maker’s experience and vision (as curated by the maker), and ultimately convene and connect with others over their shared love for fashion, art and a given lifestyle.”