Hubba, a commerce community for buyers, brands and influencers, has launched Hubba Groups, a series of new community discussion groups focused on helping small businesses to engage, collaborate and learn from one another, according to a company press release emailed to Retali Dive.
The first eight Hubba Groups created are organized around different pressing themes for retailers, as suggested by their titles: Eco-Friendly; Health & Wellness; Outdoor Sports; SuperZoo Pet Expo; Kids and Baby Toys; Housewares and Home Accessories; Personal Care and Beauty; and Accessories and Apparel.
Hubba has invited several experts across industries to conduct AMAs (Ask Me Anything events) within the discussion groups to help get them going. These will function as “Office Hours” with group members having the opportunity to learn from a community of experts in their respective fields, including Paco Underhill, author of “ Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping ”, and award nominee Garnet Armstrong of Re:Form offering insight on visual design.
A Hubba spokeswoman told Retail Dive that prior to launch, a Hubba Groups beta test was conducted with a small sample of Hubba members, retailers, brands and influencers, including local Montana retailer Mystique Fly Shop, nutrition e-commerce retailer HiHealth.com, and brands such as Kleynimals, Nature's Kitchen, CrikNutrition, and Jem Organics, among others.
Getting a diverse group of companies together to actively share insights can help all of them keep up with the giants in their field, which may rely on expensive ongoing engagements with massive consulting firms to get the same sort of advice and feedback. The company said Hubba Groups can help buyers better serve their customers by creating a direct line to trends and trusted brands, and decreasing the time they spend hunting for information. Meanwhile, brands get help solving business challenges by connecting to their industry communities and gaining peer and expert advice.
The discussion groups won't just be limited to the eight mentioned either, and Hubba members will have a voice in the creation of new groups. The Hubba spokeswoman said anyone can suggest a Hubba Groups topic. "We are looking to soon introduce the ability for brands and retailers to start their own group without our community managers launching the group [for them]," she added. "Participants will be notified when their suggestion is chosen. We will survey community and brands and retailers, and new suggested groups will be crowdsourced based on interest. The cadence will set itself based on interest."
One can imagine, for example, a wave of interest in a certain new technology innovation floating high enough to warrant a discussion in Hubba Groups, in which smaller retailers could help one another plot how to incorporate the technology into their operations much more quickly than might be done otherwise.