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A new retail experience: Anuradha, CEO & Co-founder of Indi Collage

Fractional retail, a fast-evolving vertical, is not just a passing shower. This new uber-cool trend will grab a larger pie from traditional workplaces in the times to come writes Anuradha.

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As the saying goes — change is the only constant. The phrase assumes even more significance when we are talking business.

The last decade brought a host of changes — including aging malls, fickle consumers, e-commerce boom, among others — for brick & mortar retailers. But the retail spaces didn’t become irrelevant; instead they morphed themselves to remain profitable. And what better tool to fight change than change itself!

One of these changes that’s not only benefitting retailers but also winning hearts of consumers is — fractional retail. This practice refers to entrepreneurs sharing commercial spaces and building their businesses.

Why opt for fractional retail?

Ensuring brand visibility and access to consumers is sine qua non for any entrepreneur but these come at a price. Commercial spaces in eye-catching urban corridors are often too expensive for a young brand. Thus, new businesses (and even the established ones) are increasingly opting for space sharing arrangements. This gives them the required market access at an affordable price. Moreover, these shared commercial spaces look even more attractive to consumers and multiple brands under one roof always brings good word of mouth publicity.

For the customers, fractional retail offers a more convenient shopping experience by bringing complementary goods (or services) under one roof.

The benefits of fractional retail:

— Opportunity to kick-start your business with less capital. Leasing a shared commercial space does not require huge investment, thus allowing more talents to come forward. Entrepreneurs flying solo can lease spaces in shopping centres with larger spaces which are generally little risky for small businesses.

— Opportunity to expand your business while minimizing the risk factor. By sharing retail space, an entrepreneur can ensure a multi-city presence without having to think about exorbitant retail costs.

— Opportunity to share customers. If you sell handbags and the one co-renting commercial space with you is a jeweler, then those who come to buy jewellry may also purchase your handbag.

— Opportunity to use space as a pop-up shop, which allows you to test your products, try new locations, and reach new consumers, while boosting brand recognition and awareness.

— Opportunity to meet your customer offline and create a memorable in-store experience. This strengthens your brand’s relationship with the customer, thus ensuring more brand loyalty.

How to go about it?

Earlier, shared commercial spaces were only used for pop-up shops that are opened temporarily to cater to seasonal demands or take advantage of a trend. Once considered a seasonal phenomenon, pop-ups shops now remain operational throughout the year as demand of the millennial customers for something new is never-ending.

To facilitate fractional retail, there are several websites that not only find a perfect shared commercial space for you, but also assist your business. These fractional retail facilitators help you in the following:-

— Reaching a formal agreement for a shared business space. This includes an agreement on payment for shared utilities, parking space, among others.

— Choosing your perfect “retail roommate” who has a complementary — and not a competing — product line.

— Dividing the space creatively so that the customer traffic flows equally to both businesses and the store is shared fairly.

These facilitators have an enticing catalog of showrooms and pop-up stores for all kinds of businesses and budgets. These shared stores have a sophisticated look and provide sufficient spaces for your inventory.

It’s here to stay

E-commerce boom has transformed the business landscape across the globe and retail stores do not have a level playing field anymore. Thus, to avoid what the Western world refers to as the “Retail Apocalypse”, entrepreneurs are switching to fractional retail.

The trend, that has already become popular in the West, is fast gaining momentum in India. Even big corporates are tapping into the potential of fractional retail as it boosts innovation, productivity, and employee satisfaction.

Fractional retail, a fast-evolving vertical, is not just a passing shower. This new uber-cool trend will grab a larger pie from traditional workplaces in the times to come.


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