Brandless is only a little over a year old, but the ecommerce platform is already working on IRL channels to market to and connect with its customers.
From October 24 to November 4, Brandless will be hosting a pop-up shop within the Milk Building in NYC, at 459 W. 14th Street. This is Brandless’ second pop-up shop — in May, Brandless launched a pop-up in LA.
Brandless sells more than 350 items through its website, all of which are meant to be ‘better for you’. This includes vegan, non-GMO, and/or organic snacks, fair-trade coffee, clean beauty products, and 100 percent organic toilet paper.
While the company has succeeded in making these products relatively affordable — everything is $3 — there is a disconnect between the way customers experience these products online. The pop-up shop (which Brandless is calling Pop-up with Purpose) is built around taste and trial, with tasting flight menus, a snack wall, a fair-trade coffee bar, and a clean beauty lounge. The pop-up will also showcase all of Brandless’s products, including a few items which have yet to ship.
But this place isn’t meant to feel like a grocery store or pharmacy. CEO Tina Sharkey hopes that the Brandless pop up creates a space for communities to discuss these products.
Sharkey says that there was plenty to learn from the LA-based pop-up. First and foremost, people want to taste and try the products without any frills. In LA, the Brandless team used its own products to create fancy meals to serve to customers. At the end of the day, however, those customers wanted to try individual ingredients, like organic olive oil.
Brandless believes, above all, that these pop-ups can serve as a way to connect with customers, and give them a way to experience the products, rather than focusing on sales or conversions.
That said, Brandless saw a double-digit percentage lift in traffic to the site in the area surrounding the LA pop-up shop.
As Brandless starts to experiment with offline locations, it’s worth noting that Sharkey insists that Brandless products will never appear on shelves in non-Brandless retail stores. But she didn’t rule out the idea of creating a permanent Brandless retail store, adding that this is still early days and that pop-up shops give the company a chance to figure out what works for customers.
Sharkey says the company’s greatest challenge is “we can’t go fast enough.”