Storefront is renting out space in Bespoke, an unprecedented venue for pioneering retail tech start-ups and pop-up stores in San Francisco
San Francisco is beginning to take on legendary stereotypes around the globe. For those who watch TV shows like Silicon Valley, “San Fran” conjures up images of billionaires in sneakers and homes run by Siri. As the undisputed epicenter of startups and tech, San Francisco seems at first glance a challenging place for traditional physical retail. Turning tech lemons to retail lemonade, Bespoke at Westfield San Francisco is a community based on those exploring how shopping evolves at the hands of technology. The Bespoke Center is a trifecta of co-working space for retail tech start-ups, event space for numerous partners to use, and demo space to make testing of retail formats and new tech all the more possible with real world consumers.
Bespoke Co-working is a 14,000 square-foot collection of offices, desks and conference rooms for use by retail-tech companies. The spot in the mall allows the brands and entrepreneurs to access Westfield customers. Bespoke Events can accommodate anywhere from 30 to 1,200 people for conferences, workshops, hackathons, runway shows, trade shows or other events. Bespoke Demo is a place where retailers and tech companies can debut products and do market research. Mall-facing conference rooms can turn into pop-up stores for brands to test their concepts with Westfield’s 20 million yearly visitors. Bespoke Demo curator and experiential design leader Joy Fan is even leading a monthly “How to Pop-Up Series“.
“If you’re an entrepreneur or a maker, you have a ton of channels (to test) online, but there aren’t many places you can do that easily offline,” said Kevin McKenzie, Westfield Corp.’s global chief digital office
The demo space is at the heart of linking ideas with customers and the mall. Forbes, in conversation with Lindsey Thomas, VP of marketing and communications at Westfield Labs, the group’s digital lab under which Bespoke falls, outlines why the Bespoke Center is a gamechanger. It’s difficult to test physical retail and Bespoke allows companies to quickly test and iterate products – putting them seamlessly in front of and next to the customer. There is noticeable investment of e-commerce companies in physical retail, but a strong e-commerce program does not necessitate a thorough understanding of POS systems or visual merchandising. It is taken for granted that experienced retailers, like those in Westfield and commercial centers, already have this expertise. Bespoke allows companies to test and try these systems, these strategies, and provides a much needed space for failure, which is the grace of all entrepreneurship.
“The demo space is what we really wanted Bespoke to be. While the co-working and event parts of what we offer have lots of behind-the-scenes private space, we wanted something to bleed out into the mall, to reach customers. This is probably the most unique part of the setup. Westfield already feels like the town hall or meeting place of [San Francisco] and technology really fits with what we do. So we’ve had things like Angry Birds and Samsung offering virtual reality experiences – there was nowhere in the city you could get your hands on this new tech then.” – Lindsey Thomas, VP marketing and communications at Westfield Labs.
The perfect spot to pop-up. Take advantage of the credibility of an iconic shopping center and the flexibility of a beta-environment:
SELL MORE. Westfield is the epicenter of tech and retail; home to not only innovative startups, but the best retail brands. Take advantage of the retail channel within a mall; connecting with both tourists and local mall-goers.
IT’S CHEAPER. Interact and iterate valuable product knowledge without the permanent buildout of a store.
TEST AND CONNECT WITH NEW MARKETS. Brands easily enter a new market and launch new products by getting real time feedback from consumers. Consumers get to interact with new products.
DIGITAL FACADE. Take the quality and style of an art museum. Blend that with the digital magnetism of Times Square and add in a dash of interactive pizzaz. Bespoke’s Digital Facade is composed of three 12’x7’ LED screens that can be programmed with static or interactive content which always provide traffic analytics!
- 1,000 – 3,000sq. ft. pop-up activation space
- Awareness – Digital façade with gestural capability
- Activation—High-traffic demo zone
- Sales—White-boxed retail pop-up shops
- Wall-mounted and mobile touch screens
- Beta test
- Product launch
- Showcase the new & next technology
This unique meeting space in the heart of Union Square, directly over the BART line is an ideal destination for launch parties, demo nights, panels and makers workshops.
DISCOVERY. A place where people come to discover something new about their company, and mostly about themselves.
CONNECTION. People are not looking to just go out to bars or clubs, they want to make a connection and get inspired. Meetups allow for interesting subject matter with a built-in audience of entrepreneurs, thought leaders, consumers, market sharing enthusiasts and individualists
- One-of-a-kind astro-turf bocce ball court
- Stadium seating
- Access to kitchen, cafe area and bar
- Mingling capacity: 300
- And lots more!