THIS WEEK'S #STORESWELOVE|In a world where everyone urges us to take our business online, the market has become more saturated than ever. However, as companies invest in their digital efforts, one strategy is making a comeback: traditional, offline initiatives.
Brandless – the eCommerce which sells wholesome household consumables for $3 – is exploring brick-and-mortar with a pop-up shop in Los Angeles. Deemed to be disrupting the $600 billion grocery industry, Brandless is positioning itself as the smart, healthy, and socially conscious alternative to large grocery chains.
The experience, dubbed "Pop-Up with Purpose", is there not so much to sell you something. Many of Brandless’ products are on display to taste or try, but not purchase in the store. The company handed out a variety of food samples with QR codes that can be scanned to order products and later shipped to the customer's address. They also limit the amount of time the pop-up is open to the public to create a sense of urgency.
During 'off hours', they set up an event, which participants can donate $9 to a local charity to attend. Brandless hosted two weeks of live-streamed programming with different panels centered around wellness and nutrition. The entire experience is about the Brandless community coming together with a big open space for demos and conversations.
Building a community around a private label brand is pretty much unheard of; typically, these items were purchased for their convenience instead of a sense of customer loyalty. Brandless is flipping the conventional wisdom on its head and working to create a very specific image for their brand.
It's ironic, sure— they market themselves as being brand-free while simultaneously working to build one of the most compelling brands in eCommerce. But it's effective, and their product differentiation offers an object lesson in how non-Amazon retailers need to think about their brand and their image in today's age.
By treating their first physical location as a way to foster loyalty to their brand as opposed to a convenient quick stop to pick up some items, Brandless is inverting the traditional idea of what ‘generic’ brands tend to be.