Brickwork brings localized webpages to big-name retailers

Discussion
Dec 23, 2015
Matthew Stern

For big chains, the web presence of individual stores is often limited to an address on a "Store Locator" page or a handful of store-specific Yelp reviews. But as retailers look for greater interaction between physical stores and their digital presences, Brickwork is trying to change that.

Already partnering with almost 25 retailers, including Urban Outfitters and J. Crew, the just launched startup creates store-specific websites for individual stores in big chains.

According to the New York Business Journal, Brickword CEO and Founder David Muczinski pointed out in an interview that 90 percent of sales occur in physical stores, but 80 percent of customers start on the path to purchase by researching online.

The company’s most widely deployed software products include search-optimized store pages, an event and promotion management system, and an appointment and scheduling management solution for in-store services. Retail brands receive detailed analytics around the behavior of customers navigating from websites to stores. Conversion actions like "book a dressing room" and "RSVP for exclusive access to new product" also drive in-store visits.

Brickwork demo

Source: brickworksoftware.com

"By offering the online visitor the ability to make in-store appointments with personal shoppers, surface interesting store events and access contextually relevant store information, Brickwork enables retailers to address their very valuable physical store shopper whenever they start researching online," said Ken Seiff, founder and managing partner, Beanstalk Ventures, a backer, in a statement. "Since store conversion is 10x online conversion, moving online traffic into the stores could well be the lowest hanging fruit in retail."

The Barnes & Noble website, which does not use Brickwork, currently offers this type of localized content with its Event Locator. The information on the book store’s Event Locator, however, is limited only to store images and event blurbs.

The model that Brickwork enables could require chains to retool their local store strategies. Ceding greater control to local marketing teams could cause concerns about staying on-brand for big companies used to managing from the top down. Providing an accurate picture of product availability could also prove challenging.

What do you think of the opportunity for national chains to create store-specific websites for individual stores? Could decisions such as product assortment, promotion and marketing be more effectively managed on a local basis through a service like Brickwork?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"The opportunity to interact with local customers is good, but the chance that an individual store could deviate from a chain’s brand message is not. Do consumers really want another website for the same retailer?"
"If you have individuated sites then out-of-stocks go from a "them" problem — as in, "They never sent us enough inventory" — to an "us" problem — as in, "We don’t have it even though we advertised it.""

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12 Comments on "Brickwork brings localized webpages to big-name retailers"


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Max Goldberg
Guest
4 years 28 days ago

The opportunity to interact with local customers is good, but the chance that an individual store could deviate from a chain’s brand message is not. Do consumers really want another website for the same retailer? Couldn’t the information and services offered by Brickwork be incorporated into existing chain websites? Overall, I don’t see enough benefits to warrant ceding websites to local store managers.

Zel Bianco
Guest
4 years 28 days ago

This is a great opportunity, particularly for stores that have specific extremely busy hours (ex., lunch time in midtown Manhattan) and might have multiple nearby locations with differing selections and events.

Kim Garretson
Guest
Kim Garretson
4 years 28 days ago

Hard to comment on this question because I visited Urban Outfitters and J.Crew and if the localization was automatic and intuitive, I did not see it. Scrolling around I still did not see it executed for local stores.

We’ve been talking about this concept for many years. When I was in Strategy and Innovation at Best Buy we saw several venture-backed startups with the same concept. Where they fell short then, and likely now with many retailers, is the local staff is usually not resourced with the talent and time to really create unique experiences, and it’s a lot to ask headquarters to do it. I am sure Brickwork takes a lot of the friction out of the process, but I think it still relies on the local stores to have unique, local content, events and social buzz to really drive a great UX.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
4 years 28 days ago

Not sure of the cost/benefit ratio. There’s clearly potential for better-than-average success, but equally clearly, there is also potential for worse than average failure.

Localization is always good, but many surfers are looking for insights into a brand’s offering and are less concerned about a specific store’s profile.

Also, if you have individuated sites then out-of-stocks go from a “them” problem — as in, “They never sent us enough inventory” — to an “us” problem — as in, “We don’t have it even though we advertised it.”

Gordon Arnold
Guest
4 years 28 days ago

This concept of store-specific web pages is very exciting for a good number of retailers. Big box and franchise companies will be able to schedule special events on an item level where inventory is turning slower than planned. Companies will be able to celebrate local special events with direct-to-consumer comment and sale content. These and other imaginative efforts can drive consumer store visits even if only for a pickup experience. The use of third-party software and support will reduce overhead costs and cash flow bottlenecks. This is a good subject for many retailers to learn more about.

Shep Hyken
Guest
4 years 28 days ago

It is difficult for a national chain to localize their business. Some have been successful, but most are still seen as a chain. It helps to have local management (who actually grew up and live in the area) and community involvement. Add to that the work that Brickwork can do, and you have the potential to win over the hearts of the locals for reasons beyond being a good retail store that just happens to be in the local market.

Applebee’s is a national chain of restaurants that emphasizes their neighborhood presence. Franchised retailers, even though they are part of a national chain, tend to have more of a local feel than the typical corporate retail chain. The national chain that can create a connection with the community will have an advantage over other retailers who don’t — or can’t.

Karen McNeely
Guest
4 years 28 days ago

Anytime a national chain can be keyed into the idiosyncrasies of different markets it’s a win for them.

I think you can maintain a consistent corporate image and messaging by creating templates that have components that are editable for individual stores, enabling customization that is very much in line with the corporate branding.

Kris Kelvin
Guest
4 years 28 days ago

Trader Joe’s has its chalkboard, which offers a neat bit of local “color” to its physical stores. But can you imagine such a thing popping up in a store like Kohl’s or Macy’s?

By all means, make your store locators easier to find, and where appropriate, add a small and consistent “your store” panel announcing book signings (if you’re Barnes & Noble), workshops (if you’re Home Depot), etc. Those are already up and work quite well.

But store-specific websites? Frankly, that sounds like wishful thinking for an army of niche website designers.

Lee Kent
Guest
4 years 28 days ago

We always have to think marketing first. This, to me, is not all about marketing. It is about serving the customer first. Let them see what services may be available, like booking an appointment with a personal shopper. It is about letting the customer see curated merchandise just for their location. It may also be about letting the store show what they may be doing in the community.

Think like this, my friends, and you have a winner!

And that is my 2 cents.

Charles Whiteman
Guest
4 years 28 days ago
Relevance drives return! There should be no doubt that increasing relevance for the majority of store buyers whose journey begins online can yield large returns. The question is (as is frequently the case), “How to best operationalize this?” In our experience, retailers continue to struggle with omnichannel attribution which has perpetuated an unhelpful divide between the web and store. From a skills standpoint, we doubt that distributing specialized digital marketing work to the field en masse will yield reliably positive results. Not only will such an approach yield uneven results, it will also raise human capital costs (hiring, training, retaining, etc. specialized digital marketing skills at the store level). We approach local content as a website information architecture exercise — identifying those areas of the site we’d like to localize at the store (or region) level. Once identified, it’s relatively straightforward to deploy our technology (and many other personalization engines) to dynamically deliver local content designed to drive relevance with local events, promotions, assortments, etc. It’s worth noting that these sorts of “campaigns” really need… Read more »
Kenneth Leung
Guest
4 years 27 days ago

I can see store specific web pages being part of the product/store locator features. Not sure if a separate site/branding is needed unless there are store specific services that requires custom software interfaces.

Dan Frechtling
Guest
4 years 26 days ago

Store-specific websites can improve customer service. They may help with marketing. They have little to do with assortment.

Any solution, from tailored websites to simple widgets, benefits from starting with narrow goals in mind.

For example, basic appointment setting may be all you need to boost site-to-store conversion. Appointments range by category from fittings to events to tech support and more.

Alternatively, store-specific pages optimized for local SEO search terms can be A/B tested rather quickly to assess improvement in search engine ranking and traffic.

Focusing on narrow goals first will get retailers a lot further than handing over the keys to their local web presence.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"The opportunity to interact with local customers is good, but the chance that an individual store could deviate from a chain’s brand message is not. Do consumers really want another website for the same retailer?"
"If you have individuated sites then out-of-stocks go from a "them" problem — as in, "They never sent us enough inventory" — to an "us" problem — as in, "We don’t have it even though we advertised it.""

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