While it seems like much of physical retail is trying to figure out how to better emulate eCommerce brands, eCommerce startups are actually trying to figure out a way to get a toe-hold into the physical retail world.
And Simon Malls — with over 300 shopping centers nationwide — wants to help them do just that.
The trouble with physical retail from the startup point of view is overhead: Long-term leases in untested physical spaces lack a certain appeal, particularly in an era when brick-and-mortar spaces are struggling. Simon Malls wants to bridge that gap by offering a “scaleable retail platform” called The Edit.
The Edit is basically akin to a pop-up space where eCommerce startups can test drive physical commerce in front of a live customer audience.
The goal of The Edit is to fix the old retail burdens that mall spaces often bear — inflexibility and expense — while delivering the mall’s benefits of customer foot traffic. The Edit is also pitched as a turnkey solution, meaning that everything from fixtures to security to displays to background music are on offer starting at a $500 per month price point.
Commitments range from one to six months, as opposed to the ten-year lease that goes with a standard mall space. If it works, Simon could have a valid reuse for it in hundreds of locations around the country — particularly as the company works to counter a rising wave of empty mall real estate in need of tenants. Empty stalls drive away consumers, but variety through rotating pop-ups could theoretically give customers a reason to return.
A trial location was launched last week at Roosevelt Field, New York’s second-largest mall about 45 minutes outside NYC.