Gabriela Baiter

Contributing Editor, RetailWire; Founder, Whereabout Studio
I'm the founder and Creative Director of Whereabout, an experiential retail studio that inspires brands to show up, in real life through pop-ups and in-store experiences. Sitting at the intersection of brand marketing and retail, our studio exists to transform passive showrooms into meaningful brand outposts for the new consumer. With over a decade of experience crafting brand strategy at Uber and Facebook, my passion for the industry has manifested itself in to leading dozens of experiential projects for major brands in addition to workshops and revival programs for over 100+ brick and mortar retailers. While working with founders is my first love, I've also founded retail concepts of my own including Dozy Rex, a DTC pet brand and Homemade Society, a wandering restaurant concept in Portland, OR. Recent White Papers & Reports:
  • Posted on: 05/29/2020

    Has this digital fashion platform figured out personalized recommendations?

    I'm all for this solution. Shopping has been making a dramatic shift to mobile and as more and more Millennials grow accustomed to alternative interfaces (Tinder/Bumble/Eats/Postmates/Uber), they will be looking for this in shopping platforms. Within fast fashion, brands can learn from only showing what is relevant to a customer, while getting increasingly "smarter" the more that customers use it.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2020

    Will 2020 be the year of elevated shopping experiences?

    I agree with you Andrew. All Birds and Casper are outliers in this regard with ambitious growth plans in retail. Before a digitally-native brand starts building a "chain", they will extend their leases. We are seeing this in practice today with the average pop-up going from 1 to 6 month minimums.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2020

    Will 2020 be the year of elevated shopping experiences?

    So true Jasmine. Waste has reached an all time high in retail of all sizes / formats. I'd love to see more modular sustainable solutions in store design as well vs. one time fit outs that are constructed and destroyed 3 months later.
  • Posted on: 01/06/2020

    Will 2020 be the year of elevated shopping experiences?

    I couldn't agree more Casey. Service design is the new Instagrammable moment.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2019

    Will livestream shopping take off in the U.S.?

    Good point Art. With Instagram and Facebook increasing their social shopping capabilities, I can only see this continue to grow. While I'm not in love with the idea of incentivizing influencers to infiltrate our feeds with #sponsoredads, at least we're getting their raw take on the product vs. a hyper edited photo that went through multiple rounds of approvals with the brand.
  • Posted on: 03/14/2019

    New shoppable ad tech creates opportunities across AR, search and voice

    Totally agree Dave! I was surprised Google didn't make these changes months ago for retailers and brands already advertising heavily on their platforms. Also glad they're allowing retailers to leverage it both through paid and organic search. Definitely a customer first offering on Google's part.
  • Posted on: 02/22/2019

    Home design site opens house to showcase brands

    Love the commentary here. It's important to note that Hunker is a publisher, not a retailer, so what they offer brands is very different compared to a traditional showroom relationship. In this case, Hunker is offering brands exposure to their design savvy audience in the form of published content generated from the house. If you compare this to other multi-brand showrooms (Showfields NYC), the guaranteed reach is a unique benefit that is likely to generate sales among their digital savvy readers when they are ready.
  • Posted on: 01/30/2019

    Is experiential retail overhyped and misunderstood?

    Ay. I can side with many of the points noted here but also think that we are falling into the trap of viewing retail as a singular channel for brands to sell, sell sell. The role of concept stores is to help attract your core customer by leading with your brand story, not your product line. There's a reason why brands with hundreds of stores are creating experiential destinations that look and behave entirely different than their other locations. The business objective behind Nike's House of Innovation is to raise awareness and build affinity toward Nike. Yes, it's a little flashy but that is the point. Their store associates are trained to guide "athletes" (not customers) through the brand's storied past and slowly build an emotional attachment that can't be created online. Bring on the future.
  • Posted on: 08/31/2018

    How should Tiffany modernize its flagship?

    The most shocking part of this article is finding out that only 45,000 of the 124,000 square feet space are used for retail. With so much space, I actually would argue that there is room to target different areas of the store to serve Millennials and baby boomers in the same place. Using the space to bring people into Tiffany's world is brilliant. If they extended their lounge spaces and take a hospitality-led approach to selling, they can maintain their heritage while appealing to a broader customer base.
  • Posted on: 08/23/2018

    Is Victoria’s Secret’s ‘buy 2, get 1 free’ promo the beginning of the end?

    Bottom line is Victoria's Secret needs to reinvent itself. Minor changes in the design or discount cycle isn't going to give it a comeback. Instead VS needs to think about [what she wants] and create a service that moves her more than a teeny tiny panty set. Sex appeal was once the answer, but now it's empowerment, inner beauty and self love. If I was on the VS team, I'd close down stores that are performing notoriously low and open up new, fresh small format concept stores with a NEW NAME that breaths life and purpose back into the brand. I'd also bring in complimentary brands (i.e. Sage Wellness/Casper/Girlboss) with a better reputation that can help boost its image. People have to see the store in a completely new way to shift their mindset.
  • Posted on: 08/14/2018

    Can H&M finally become a serious online competitor?

    This is an interesting one to say the very least. H&M has always been considered the "cheap and fast" shopping trip, but the mayhem and inventory overload that you experience in-store always gets in the way of that. While I'm glad to see "find in store" and "scan and find" features adopted, these still leave customers on their own. Where are the assisted selling tools that up H&M's service game while removing excess inventory on the floor? If there was less STUFF, perhaps people would actually be able to find what they need.
  • Posted on: 07/11/2018

    Is your culture your brand?

    Super interesting topic today. I definitely feel strongly that an internal culture has to stem from a strong sense of brand/self. If a brand doesn't know who it is or what it stands for, they are not going to attract employees who are passionate about their mission. This directly correlates to employee dissatisfaction which leads to temporary solutions of distraction that are out of touch. Rather than trying to only implement solutions that give employees a "break from work," brands should come up with ways to reinvigorate their minds through "work that doesn't feel like work." These tactics should always make employees feel closer to the product or service that the brand provides. A few examples that come to mind are Patagonia, Airbnb and Uber. Patagonia allows their employees to take one service-based trip a year that protects the environment. Airbnb gives their employees $1000+ travel credit a year to travel the world. Uber allows their employees to suggest real projects they want to solve and if their project is chosen, they provide them with a team and plane ticket to solve it for 10 days over holiday break.
  • Posted on: 06/26/2018

    Ralph Lauren’s Club Monaco takes pop-up strategy beyond its flagship

    I own an experiential retail studio that helps brands pop-up around the world. When sourcing locations, we often come across store-within-a-store concepts that can work for clients with a lower budget. While these can be great for niche brands to capitalize on foot traffic and audience fit, it can have its drawbacks for retailers if it lacks focus. As Club Monaco expands this concept, I'd love to see them brand the space and inject more storytelling. Showing off products and offering workshops across beauty, travel and home is a first step, but how can this feel even more integrated in the future? Perhaps they position it as not just a new destination in store but a "Clubhouse" for customers to try out new products that embody the Club Monaco lifestyle. For the travel category specifically, they can invite their customers into the Clubhouse to discover exotic destinations that inspire their collections. By featuring a rotating line of international products and fare, customers build a deeper connection to not just the pop-up brands, but also Club Monaco.
  • Posted on: 06/15/2018

    Sam’s to open small concept focused on tech, fresh and grab-and-go foods

    Perhaps they pivot from "club memberships" to a loyalty-based subscription model? This way they can downsize their inventory in-store while reordering people to reorder replenishable items online.
  • Posted on: 05/31/2018

    New Whole Foods’ store-within-a-store concept is ‘rooted in nature’

    The one thing that Whole Foods has on Kroger is a smaller store footprint and merchandising strategy with a carefully curated product mix. The plant and flower section in the front of grocery stores has been around for years, so I do see Whole Foods continuing to test this as a discovery zone. With Amazon's customer data and Whole Foods' retail expertise, I imagine we'll see a lot more store-within-a-store "tests" that appeal to the impulse buyer.

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