by Stephen Garner
Tysons Corner Center

Retail property owner and developer Macerich will open BrandBox, a new turnkey approach for high-growth digitally native brands to open and operate stores, and scale physical retail as a complement to e-commerce.

With a complete package of flexible real estate and services including design, retail analytics, technology and marketing, brands can be up and running in front of hundreds of thousands of shoppers in a matter of weeks. Unlike a pop-up or department store format, BrandBox members configure a fully functioning retail store that is unique to their brand’s aesthetic and ethos.

The first BrandBox location will open this weekend at Tysons Corner Center in Tysons, VA, with Winky Lux, Naadam, Interior Define, Nectar Sleep, DKNY, and UrbanStems. Additional locations are expected to open in 2019 at select Macerich properties.

“Our extensive research and direct experience with top digitally native brands has helped us to understand how essential offline retail is to their future growth and success,” said Kevin McKenzie, EVP and chief digital officer, Macerich. “With BrandBox, we’re excited to formalize our commitment to these smart up-and-coming brands, and be a true partner, every step of the way, as they expand their footprint beyond the digital world.”

A BrandBox store ranges from 500 to 2,500 square feet and leases run six to 12 months. Spaces have modular walls and tracking systems to be easily re-oriented for a new store configuration, and lighting and fixtures are easily swapped out.

BrandBox offers high-touch support on design and buildout, staffing, and technology through partnerships with industry leaders including Bobby Redd, FITCH, Vitra, RetailNext and Boomtown. Each store comes prefabricated with plug-and-play technology and utility including WiFi, retail analytics (pre-wired to support all major POS systems), security tags and cameras, storage for inventory, and a breakroom.

BrandBox also works closely with each brand and design partners to help brands quickly and cost-effectively navigate the design process. The result is a storefront where consumers can experience a retail environment that mirrors a brand’s ethos.

Brands have access to a proprietary retail analytics dashboard to measure in-store sales and customer engagement as they would in the digital world by analyzing data including anonymized foot traffic, conversion, customer flows, and sales. They can measure a lift in local e-commerce traffic resulting from opening a store with BrandBox.

“While Naadam lived exclusively online for our first few years, we have seen firsthand the importance of physical retail with the opening of two stores this year,” said Matt Scanlan, CEO and co-founder of Naadam. “Opening and operating stores in multiple cities is challenging, particularly for young brands. Partnering with BrandBox to enter the DC market has really streamlined the laborious process of creating a storefront that truly encapsulates our brand ethos.”

BrandBox is also a platform for heritage brands to test a new market or concept within the Macerich portfolio, which is why DKNY has joined the first “class” of brands at Tysons. The footprint of the initial BrandBox location at Tysons Corner Center will double by summer 2019.