How the c-commerce revolution brings success to Showfields
By Robyn Turk
Sep 20, 2019
Showfields connects an ongoing rotation of emerging and digitally-native brands with New York City shoppers through immersive retail experiences. The innovative multibrand retail store, which launched in 2018, takes up a four-story space at 11 Bond Street, where it offers brands assistance in venturing into brick-and-mortar retail without the risks that come with opening a dedicated store.
Brands are invited to stay for a four-month trial period, with the option of extending to six months. Showfields creates completely customized a pop-up space for each brand, which flow seamlessly together to fill the retailer’s motto of being “the most interesting store in the world.” The result is a genre-defying experience to connect brands and consumers through retail, exhibition and curated community spaces.
Luxury resale brings brick-and-mortar traffic
The most recent round of brands included Treasures of New York City, a luxury vintage reseller that launched in 2013 and had previously only conducted business through its e-commerce site and Instagram shop.
Treasures’ first foray into physical retail was in a 700-square-foot section of Showfields, where it generated enough sales within its first five days to cover its first month’s rent. Within just a few months, the brand saw a 3x return on its in-store investment.
“Our consumer is very into designer vintage - it's a big movement right now,” Katie Hunt, Showfields’ chief revenue officer and co-founder, told FashionUnited. “Its success also comes from the brand’s popular Instagram account. There already was a trust factor in the brand.
“Previously, shoppers were bidding on its products online without actually being able to touch, feel and interact with them and see how incredible they are in person. So when we actually took something that had such a big reputation like Treasures of New York City and paired that with a physical space, it was very easy to drive sales convergence."
Hunt explained that Treasures brings its own followers to the space, plus the Showfields shoppers, who are primarily aged between 24 and 36, have loved the brand’s offerings. The pop-up carries a large amount of 90s vintage, which resonates nostalgically with the Showfields consumer.
“If you think about the ‘magic of Showfields,’ it's not just about this idea that we have a lot of foot traffic because of the show, the content and the location,” Hunt continued. “Rather, it's the idea that there are 40 incredible brands curated for a time of year for this audience, and they're all speaking to their existing audiences as well.
“If you made a Venn diagram the audience, you'd see that the brands are all speaking to crossing over. Somebody who loves Treasures of New York is also someone who's going to walk into the curated shop next to it and discover incredible designers that they love as well, and be more likely to purchase.
“It's working as a community to get the word out and all capitalizing on the fact that this shopper is in the room and is a captive audience for these incredible brands.”
The c-commerce revolution
Showfields stands on a belief that the future of retail is moving towards a new phase called c-commerce. “C-commerce is not traditional retail and it's not e-commerce. It's an incredible space that lives in between,” Hunt said.
The phrase “c-commerce” has been referred to as collaborative commerce, with the idea of a hybrid retail model in which brands work collaboratively with suppliers, competitors and customers. Collaborative commerce also refers to the integration of technology with physical channels and vice versa to maximize efficiency.
Hunt has a different definition of c-commerce, which speaks to a similar idea. She explained, “C-commerce is consumer commerce. It's an island completely run by consumers - it's about how, when and where they want to see products, and ultimately what they want that experience to be. We really believe that Showfields is at the forefront of that for many emerging brands.
“At the same time, there are many leaders in the category already, such as Warby Parker and Casper, who have paved the way and shown that retail is not dead, it's just evolving.”
The next generation of Showfields brands
Showfields reopened on September 20 after having been closed for five days to completely revamp and redesign the space for its next selection of brands.
Treasures of New York City is continuing its tenure at Showfields, alongside other veterans to the space and 11 newcomers. The new brands include wellness companies Almēda Labs, Each & Every and Feals, fragrance companies L’or de Seraphine and Skylar, sleepwear company Dagsmejan, apparel company TeePublic and handbag company GiGi New York.
Showfields’ current roster is at 35 brands, in a space that is almost unrecognizable from the layout it had featured prior to the redesign. The current offering will take the store into the holiday shopping season.
"This relaunch represents a new era for not only Showfields but for the brands that are joining our store. We’re so excited to give our customers the opportunity to discover and shop brands that are on the forefront of design, innovation and sustainability this holiday season,” said Tal Zvi Nathanel, CEO and Hunt’s co-founder.
Photos: courtesy of Showfields