Boxpark is adopting a more flexible leasing model to woo more brands into the east London pop-up mall.
Founder Roger Wade told Drapers he had “listened to the customer” and was looking to fill units vacated by some of the original tenants with a broader spectrum of brands including emerging womenswear designers and lifestyle businesses.
As a result, Boxpark has reduced its minimum lease period from one year to three, six or 12-month periods, although it has housed pop-up shops for as little as one week. The mall is also offering businesses rental rates based on takings in the shop as an alternative to the £20,000 annual flat fee.
Some new tenants, such as womenswear brands Melabelle and Wandering Minds and streetwear brand Sin Star, have won free units for a set period through entering a competition.
Lacoste, Dockers and Gola Classics are among the brands to have left after their leases came up for renewal.
“The reality is that in our first year, the majority of tenants signed up to one-year leases, and for some brands it’s not worked out at Boxpark, because the market in Shoreditch dictates what it likes,” Wade said. “We’ve learned that customers want more independent discovery brands you can’t get anywhere else – it’s less about the bigger brands.
“The other thing we’ve learned is that we were too urban in our offering, which is why we’ve brought more womenswear and lifestyle on board. We are actively changing it up – change is good.”
Noting that “footfall is king”, Wade has also introduced a programme of events to attract more shoppers, and restaurants are now able to stay open until 11pm.
Boxpark is also developing an EPoS system and ecommerce site for launch later this year, which will enable all the pop-up tenants to transact online and offer click-and-collect. A beta version is expected to be rolled out by the end of this year, with Wade saying it would “hopefully” be ready by Christmas.
The mall already has a nontransactional mobile app, featuring discounts and loyalty offers.
“The days of pure-play bricks-and-mortar retailing are over – brands need to embrace digital,” Wade said. “It’s hard for these smaller brands to compete with the budgets of the bigger guys, but by joining together under one roof they can be strong.”