Mall operator Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield and e-commerce platform Verishop on Wednesday announced a partnership to bring digital brands incubated by Verishop to physical spaces, in the form of 14 pop-up or full-store concepts at leading U.S. Westfield shopping centers.
Skincare brand Ghost Democracy, developed by L’Oreal veteran Rex Chou, and luxury leisurewear brand LETT, created by Reformation veteran Justine Liu, will be found in the first eight Westfield locations, according to a release from the companies. Liu’s apparel line Billie the Label will also join them in the effort, according to an email sent to Retail Dive.
Ghost Democracy’s first Westfield pop-up opened in October in Los Angeles, and served as a pilot for the others. Shops have opened in time for holiday shopping and "will continue their phased roll-out in 2020," the companies said.
Most legacy retailers by now have realized how important e-commerce is to their sales and marketing, but now it appears to be dawning on pure-play e-retailers how important brick-and-mortar spaces are to theirs.
Verishop launched in June, curating upscale brands (many, though not all, digital natives), within a multi-category marketplace that offers shoppers free one-day shipping, free returns, 24/7 customer care and the option to pay over time. To stock its site, Verishop curates items from "more than 350 of the most-stylish global brands" and also incubates others with potential.
"Verishop aims to help customers find cool, new brands, and the customization and flexibility of Westfield physical spaces gives another way to provide that discovery experience," Imran Khan, Verishop co-founder and CEO, said in a statement. "The ability to create one-of-a-kind shops has enabled us to give shoppers an in-person experience to compliment what we’ve built online."
Westfield joins several other mall developers in turning to digital native brands to fill space and lure traffic. In recent years, top malls like Simon's Roosevelt Field and GGP's Water Tower Place in Chicago similarly created spaces, with less traditional, more flexible lease terms, for such efforts. 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. Simon has gone even further in e-commerce, recently launching its own "multi-platform" effort dedicated to online discount shopping, in a joint venture with the parent of Rue La La and Gilt.
In addition to various men's and women's fashion, and beauty and wellness brands, Verishop features home goods labels like Boll & Branch, Cinnamon Projects, Cire Trudon and Primary Goods. Old-school players like Levi's, Vince, Perricone and Free People are also part of its stable.