Simon Property Group on Tuesday announced that its "The Edit" retail platform, which debuted in November at Roosevelt Field in Long Island, is expanding with a host of international brands, initially focusing on accessories and beauty.
The expansion is in partnership with omnichannel retail platform HiO, which "aggregates forward thinking brands from around the world” and focuses on high-touch customer experiences, according to a press release emailed to Retail Dive.
The first brands coming to The Edit at Roosevelt Field from the tie-up include Portuguese women’s fashion accessories brand Parfois; Spanish fashion sunglass brand Hawkers; French skincare and fragrance brand Compagnie de Provence; and Italian office, leather and travel accessories brand Campo Marzio.
Top malls like Simon's Roosevelt Field and GGP's Water Tower Place in Chicago are refusing to acquiesce to the generally downbeat news about the American shopping center or the rise of e-commerce. Like Simon's The Edit, GGP is amping up its Water Tower offerings with a "living lab" dubbed "In Real Life," in partnership with retail pop-up architecture company The Lionesque Group.
HiO co-founder Sever Garcia sees the American mall as an opportunity. The boutique brands wouldn't otherwise have an easy entry into U.S. brick and mortar. "Since our founding in 1994, we have been fortunate to enjoy success in the European market, where we have over 700 stores," Parfois CEO Sergio Marques said in a statement.
In addition to adding international and e-commerce boutiques to their malls, property owners are also turning to non-retail businesses and spiffing up operations with technology like chatbots, in the hopes of bringing in customers. That makes sense, as these days customers are on their phones for shopping — even when they buy from physical stores.
Zachary Beloff, Simon's national director of business development, described the Roosevelt Field project in an earlier statement as "a completely transitional place to discover new product and technology in a brick-and-mortar space."
It helps the e-retailers, too, which stand to benefit from interacting with customers in real life, especially at Simon's relatively strong centers. "We are a brand that wants to reach new customers where they are already predisposed to shopping," Josh Udashkin, CEO of Raden Smart Luggage, said in a statement. "Simon has malls with lots of traffic. We believe the mall is an under-penetrated market for new brands that should be taken advantage of."
Traditional retail in malls is in need of attention, too. Last year, Simon Property Group CEO David Simon urged retailers to invest in their stores, insisting that e-commerce isn’t the sole reason for their plight. "I'm hopeful that they're going to reinvest in their stores, improve their inventory mix and service their customer better," he said. "And, by the way, we've got to have the same pressure on us to do that. So, it's a two-way street."