Appear Here, the website that connects retailers with spaces they can use for temporary pop-up shops, has expanded its offering with the addition of a ‘Destinations’ feature and the ability to book spaces directly through its website.
While it’s a little unfair to think of it as a bit like Airbnb for retailers, Ross Bailey, founder and CEO of the company doesn’t outright balk at the suggestion. Nonetheless, he’s also keen to point out the differences between the services.
“Our aim is to be the defacto site for people to rent space for their idea. Retail to me is any space where you can go, show, tell or transact with your audience, so that might be a shop, or at the moment we even have a stately home where someone like Burberry can turn it into a summer home,” Bailey told The Next Web.
The idea is simple: connect empty properties with people that want to rent them for a short period of time (betweeon one week and six months) as a pop-up shop or show space.
However, rather than simply become another listings repository, Bailey said he wanted to create a service that went the extra mile, which is the thinking behind Destinations.
Starting in London, Appear Here’s Destination feature (which Bailey hopes to roll out more widely to other major retail cities such as Paris and New York in the future) takes an in-depth look at six regions of the city in a bid to give prospective pop-up retailers a far better idea of the area, trends and overall feeling of a specific area.
In order to achieve the ‘magazine-like’ feeling he was aiming for with Destinations, Bailey sent a team curators, editors and photographers out onto the streets of London in Camden, Shoreditch, Bloomsbury and Fitzrovia, Soho, Covent Garden and Chelsea and Fulham. The result is more detailed local knowledge, with more ‘color’ and an idea of the kinds of people, fashions and trends you’re likely to find in these places.
Since launching Appear Here at the beginning of February this year, Bailey said the popularity of the site had skyrocketed and the company now had more than 250 years worth of projects waiting to go live.
But the biggest challenge so far for Appear Here isn’t tech or tenants, it’s the content – and by exension the landlords.
“The [thing that has been really challenging] has been convincing the landlords to put their spaces online, that’s why we have to make sure we presented them in the best light – this isn’t about empty shops, it’s about being able to appear in the best destinations. From a product point of view, it took quite a long time to get all the content right,” Bailey said.
“We’ve been building a lot more stuff before we’ve been able to push this live because you forget how long it takes to coordinate ten different photographers and five copywriters and whoever else. From a technology point of view we’re not reinventing the wheel. There’ll be some great technology in the site, [in creating] the software for the landlords to make it completely hassle free,” he added.
Indeed, alongside Destinations, Appear Here has also revamped its site to make it easy for retailers to book spaces – and landlords to accept the applications – within the website. And what does this all cost?
Well, to list a space is free and to search for a space is free, but once you’ve found one Appear Here will take a one-off transaction fee of between 12 and 15 percent of the landlord’s listing price, Bailey said.
“You literally put in your dates and send a request, that goes straight to the landlord and it will be accepted or declined within 48 hours, and then you pay us an inclusive price – much like booking a hotel room. There’s no negotiation on legal, it’s simple, standardised and the price you pay is just a one-off fee up-front,” Bailey said.
The new on-site booking method should be up and running before the end of the week.