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Showfields, Eyeing Global Expansion, Gears Up for Holiday With Instagram Checkout

Curated retail pop-up platform Showfields is slated to join Instagram Checkout, with some of the digitally native brands currently on display at its downtown New York City store also partaking in the social site’s inaugural Holiday Campaign.

According to a Showfields spokeswoman, the Showfields Instagram holiday checkout feature begins Friday and will run through December.

Instagram is expecting its holiday campaign to have an estimated reach of 31 million users. A total of 56 ads will drive consumers to 42 unique collections targeting nine retail categories that include men’s and women’s fashion and accessories, footwear, fitness and lifestyle, travel, home decor, and kids.

Products by brands that have partnered with Showfields will be showcased across all categories as props in stylized theme collections, and consumers will be able to click into individual products to check out. Though there’s no word yet on how many ads will highlight Showfields’ curated brands, holiday ads will live in Instagram Stories for a six-week campaign beginning on Nov. 11. However, products that can be purchased through Instagram’s new, in-app checkout are available beginning on Friday.

Joining Instagram Checkout is a milestone for a retail concept that is only now curating its second crop of emerging brands, which is technically Showfields’ third, as it did include a brief stint in beta testing.

The company has plans to grow its footprint worldwide, with co-founder Tal Zvi Nathanel co-founder telling Sourcing Journal, “Beyond the one location in New York, we are planning to open a few more next year.”

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The initial phase of the expansion will focus more on major cities within the U.S. before the concept heads overseas. Nathanel declined to disclose which city will play host to the next opening, but said his team has scouted locations with an abundance of compelling local brands.

According to the co-founder, the idea behind Showfields centers on helping digitally native brands easily get in front of the real-world customer. “Think of us as the platform that takes a digital idea to the physical realm, from two-dimensional to three-dimensional. What is the sound, how does it feel, what is the texture, what do you feel in your gut when you walk into the space…. Most don’t know how to translate their brands into 3-D. We take the journey with them through a trial and error process,” Nathanel explained.

Retail, he said, is both hard and expensive. Any brand that wants to open a retail store has to build out the space and staff it, all tasks that the co-founder said are undertaken by Showfields.

Showfields’ turnkey approach helps newcomers to retail establish temporary shops within its four-floor building at 11 Bond Street in Manhattan. In turn, Showfields collects a membership fee that allows a brand to “pop-up” in the space for a six-month period. All sales belong to the individual brands in the curated group of about 35 young companies.

“We can measure how people engage in the space. We know how many people walk into the space, how long they stay and what they buy. We can analyze the data, and then share it with the brands,” the co-founder said. While the curated mix isn’t set in stone, Nathanel said, “My gut feeling is that each location should be 50 percent local and 50 percent global.”

Eyeing Expansion Beyond NYC, Showfields Isn't Just For DTC Brands
A look at one recent installation at Showfields, 11 Bond Street. Eitan Gamlieli

Because Showfields is about curated discovery, operating additional locations would allow brands at one site to relocate to another site that proves to be a better fit. “The idea is to push power back to the customer and see how they react to the brands. Getting the data allows us to understand what we need to do to change the curation to fit their needs,” Nathanel said.

He’s currently got a large team working around the world on the hunt for new brands and trends that could be part of either a local curation or a curation outside of its home city. “We get a lot of brands approaching us. We are investing time in also mapping the brands and putting them into groups to better understand trends and to see where the market is going,” Nathanel said.

The brands that have performed well have a strong brand identity, and a clear value proposition and point of view. They also know what key performance indicators they are trying to meet. For some, the KPI revolves around building sales, fostering a community, hosting focus groups or learning to talk to customers. Brands zero in on one KPI, get the data and then switch gears to focus on a new metric, Nathanel said.

Following a beta test, the first curated rotation ran from mid-March to mid-September, while the current group—reusable water bottle brand S’well, premium CBD line Feals’, toothbrush brand Quip and plant-based skincare line Nuria—began their residency mid-September and will continue until mid-March next year.

One brand in its second tour of duty at 11 Bond Street is beauty label Priori. While not a true digitally native brand, the company has repositioned and wanted to better understand its new targeted demographic. Priori’s Recovery Kit–travel-sized versions of its cleanser, recovery serum and moisturizer–is one of the items that will be highlighted in Instagram’s Holiday Campaign.

“We’ve generated both sales and awareness of the brand,” Regis Haberkorn, Priori’s CEO, said. “And we’ve acquired some new followers on our website. We were attracted to the concept and getting that combination of experience and sales. Given our background, we really wanted to see how we needed to improve how we sell to the consumer.”

The brand largely retails online and at premium salons and resorts, in addition to a number of international accounts, thought it hasn’t yet established a presence in the department store channel. “To do that, we’d need to be able to show some metrics and what we can do in the retail environment,” Haberkorn said.

Because a scientist formulated the skincare line, much of the marketing materials used technical language to describe the products. When the Priori rebranded, the company had to learn how to communicate with customers from a consumer-facing point of view.

“We needed to learn about messaging to consumers in a retail environment,” Haberkorn said. “The brand was relaunched as a line for adaptive skincare and the experience at Showfields is telling us we need to streamline our message. There’s no gimmick, no app. We are trying to make sure our message resonates with the consumer.”

From that point of view, the Showfield learnings have been extremely helpful, Haberkorn said.