PROFILE

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: www.whereabout.studio/resources
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  • Posted on: 06/18/2020

    The pandemic has changed retailing, maybe forever

    If retailers shift their customers to their online channels, they are slowly making their retail footprint obsolete. Within the retail experience specifically, I'd love to see a focus on improving contactless service and maximizing convenience. Touch screen education will no longer exist in a post-Covid world and robotic store associates lacks a personal touch. Instead, retailers should be thinking about in store companion apps, motion sensor technology and appointment based concierge services.
  • Posted on: 06/11/2020

    Can experiential retail go live and online?

    We can't forget about fulfillment. While I'm sad to see Amazon duplicate the QVC model in live shopping, it makes sense for a marketplace that is product (over brand) first.
  • Posted on: 06/11/2020

    Can experiential retail go live and online?

    Right place. Right time. While live shopping has been around for years, it still has only solely focused on the "hard sell" with product. I'd love to see what we learned in experiential pop-ups and apply that to sell a lifestyle above anything else. Where's the theatre?
  • Posted on: 06/11/2020

    Can experiential retail go live and online?

    I also love the ACCESS that these technologies bring to their consumers who may have never had the chance to step foot in their stores. Brands who can pair this with faster fulfillment will thrive.
  • Posted on: 06/11/2020

    Can experiential retail go live and online?

    I completely agree Phil. The trap here for retailers is to make sure that there is a clear purpose for the technology. Virtual reality becomes a novelty if it is being used for solely marketing. Virtual stores paired with live streaming events can be a huge win for winning the heart's of minds of customers who are skeptical to step foot in a store.
  • 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.

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