COLLABORATIVE PIONEER: INSIDE INTERVIEW WITH ERIK ELIASON AT STOREFRONT

erik1. The easiest way to explain Storefront is …
Storefront is easiest way to open a brick and mortar store.  We are a marketplace for short-term retail space, helping merchants identify and secure short-term spaces in their city.

2. I believe it is the right moment for Storefront to take off because …
There are a few trends: one – retail vacancy rates in the U.S. are around 10% which represents $20B in forgone revenue annually. Two – a growing number of brick and mortar retailers are redesigning their stores to host pop-up shops and events. Three – millions of e-commerce merchants are seeking to build a complementary offline presence, where 90% of retail sales still occur.

3. Our favorite success story so far …
We’ve opened over 100 pop-ups in San Francisco in the last six months and it’s been pretty exciting. A few that stand out include helping a mobile fashion truck execute a retail store in Crocker Galleria in downtown San Francisco. In doing, this vendor was able to increase revenue by 40% year over year. Another great example is helping Storenvy, an online platform with 40,000 sellers; open their first offline brick and mortar store.

4. The biggest challenge to come is …
Managing growth on both sides of the platform. We have a lot of interest for Storefront from landlords, brokers, and merchants across the U.S., and while it is very exciting and other markets are enticing, our biggest focus is providing the most value to our current customers. Relationships with customers, as relationships with people go, are all about making good on your promises. Once you’re able to come through on a small promise, progressively make larger promises, ultimately providing more value to the customer.

5. Another example of Collaborative Consumption I admire is…
There are many exciting companies in this space right now. A few that come to mind are Zaarly for their ability to engender trust between users; Lyft for their ability to build a passionate community; and LiquidSpace for their ability to optimize office space in real time.

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