Storefront: Why We're Focused on Storytelling [Interview]
Co-Founder/COO Tristan Pollack explains the importance of visuals in retail, why storytelling is a priority and more in this Content Influencer Interview.
There's a reason why fashion magazines are filled with mesmerizing photographs -- visual content is one of the best compliments to the retail industry. And for Storefront, the purveyor of pop-up shops, visual content remains a priority in their content marketing strategy. However, it's not just to show off their customers' gorgeous spaces -- it's to tell the bigger story about how they're helping retailers' dreams come true.
Scripted: Can you tell us a little about you and your background?
Tristan: I've been involved with content for quite a while. Erik Eliason and I co-founded Storefront. Before that we started SocialEarth -- a "Huffington Post" for social entrepreneurs. We did that for a few years. Now we've been doing Storefront for over a year, so I brought a lot of our SocialEarth learnings into Storefront. A lot of that is educational, helpful content. With Storefront, we want people to fill retail spaces that haven't previously been accessible of the cost or because it wasn't attainable.
Scripted: What's the most important part of your content strategy at Storefront? How has that changed?
Tristan: That we're able to tell our own stories -- stories of our members and how they have evolved. When we launched the Storefront site in March of 2013, we had renters and space owners, but they were in a different place. Now we can share how our members have used Storefront to sell their products better, connect with their customers, and growth their business. Here are prime examples.
Scripted: What's trending in retail and real estate right now?
Tristan: Last year we dominated pop-up shops. This year is really growing the definition of what retail and what retail space is, giving our members more amazing retail space options in the best cities.
We already have Airbnb-like spaces (e.g. the treehouses or boats). We have a converted church in New York, a fashion truck in San Francisco. There's really interesting unique spaces that aren't just a cut-and-dry store that you can rent.
Scripted: What kind of content do you create around that then to raise awareness about those trends?
Tristan: First, our listings. We have thousands of listings on the site. Each one has a description talking about what what it offers to a renter. That ranges from what retailers are nearby to what types of amenities the space offers. We also offer free professional photography to our space owners. That really tells the story of the space and the neighborhood.
We also blog a lot and send out newsletters featuring our members, new spaces on the site, stores opening up, and inspirational retail ideas. We always support our members first and foremost with our content. Check out our blog to see how we do that.
Scripted: What type of content that best resonates with your audience and why?
Tristan: Our videos have become increasing popular. We just recreated a brand-new "How to Use Storefront" video. We wanted to put a face to it. In the video, we show screenshots of the actual site, and we show a story of three different brands that went through the process and then opened up shop.
Scripted: How do you make your content stand out from your competitor's?
Tristan: We keep it fun, personal and passionate, as well as helpful. We don't need to sell people, but simply provide the information that they're looking for. It's really like listening. We'll listen to what our users are asking about and we'll change that in the content and product to make it easier.
Scripted: How is your current content team structured?
Tristan: We are seven people. I lead our community and marketing efforts. We have a couple of interns that work with us on content. Everyone has expertise in different areas, so we'll have people write blog posts in different topics, too. We've done incredible things for the size of company we are and I love the amazing people I work with.
Scripted: What advice would you have for retail businesses that are beginning to launch their own content initiatives?
Tristan: First, for every retail business it's all about multi-channel now. You need to be where your customers are, whether that's physical retail, in an app, or online. You need to be using multiple avenues to reach customers, build relationships and sell products. From having beautiful photos of your products online, to making sure that you have the right messaging around your brand offline, it all matters.
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