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Anchor Shops aims to help digitally native watch brands step into physical stores

Anchor Shops concept

WatchPro receives news of about a dozen new watch brands every month. Many have paid for their first collections using crowd funding platforms like Kickstarter, which pre-sells enough watches to get them made. They then launch to the wider public via their own websites and promote them through social media.

The concept is so common it has a buzzy name: digitally native brands.

The problem is that most of them fail to get beyond this startup phase. For every success story like Olivia Burton and MVMT — now both owned by Movado Group — there are hundreds of brands that flop.

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Digitally native companies produce everything: shoes, furniture, fashion, jewelry, cosmetics, watches … you name it, they make it.

The low cost of getting started means there are hundreds of thousands of new brands fighting over the same digital landscape. Getting into physical stores would give many of them a much-needed boost, but their business models make it almost impossible.

Enter Anchor Shops and ShopFulfill, described as the first vertically integrated retail storefront and distribution network to help digitally native brands thrive offline.

The concept combines physical stores offering a smorgasbord of products; the first is in Downtown Philadelphia’s Fashion District, with warehousing, nationwide distribution and logistical support from a hub in Moorestown, New Jersey.

“The retail paradigm has shifted to require a brick and click approach. It has been much easier for legacy retailers to build out their online infrastructures, but digitally native brands have found it difficult and cost prohibitive to develop physical footprints,” said Shlomo Chopp, Founder and CEO of ShopFulfill. “We are offering online-first brands something that is entirely unique and practical – the only all-in-one solution that empowers them to achieve profitability, establish a physical retail presence and build stronger customer connections.”

The one-stop-shop solution gets products physically in front of customers without the creative minds behind digitally native brands needing to worry about drudgery like store replenishment, ecommerce fulfillment, and buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) services.

Costs are minimized because Anchor Shops aggregates its work across so many brands. They can get started for as little as $800 per month, the company says.

“Anchor Shops is the logical next step in the evolution of retail,” said Chris Walton, CEO of Omni Talk and Third Haus as well as a leading expert on omni-channel retail and an advisor to Anchor Shops. “It is easy to start a shop online nowadays, but the infrastructure and knowledge it takes to expand a brand’s presence into the physical world is complicated and expensive. Anchor Shops offers the best of the best digital brands a smarter way to enter physical retail for the first time.”

Fashion District Philadelphia was chosen for the first retail store because of its high footfall location. It plans to present products from 40 complementary brands.

The plan is to open Anchor Shops across the country in the coming years while helping its brands reach all parts of the USA through wholesale distribution.

“Throughout my 25 years of experience across retail and digital commerce, the fundamental value of connectivity across all touch points of the consumer experience has been paramount,” said Ryan Wolfe, Co-Founder and COO of ShopFulfill. “Anchor Shops powered by ShopFulfill uniquely connects turnkey retail with regional logistics to provide a platform for emerging brands to connect with customers, profitably scale and enhance life-time-value.”

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Tags : Anchor Shopscrowd fundingkickstarterMVMTolivia burton
Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder