Customers have a growing desire to shop closer to home, supporting local brands and businesses that operate in the communities they live in. 52% of UK customers state they’re shopping more locally compared to 2020 (Westfield, 2021). This has had a knock-on effect, with customers expecting big retailers who operate in the community to offer greater access to local products and services.
Retailers are moving beyond just selling local products, to supporting local brands by investing in their business growth. They are opening new creative spaces and are offering mentorships and incubator programmes for local brands and entrepreneurs to grow and learn. Local brands can gain expertise, advice and test and trial new products at dedicated retail zones, whilst big ‘host’ brands can establish personal connections within the local community.
E-commerce platform Shopify has opened a two-storey space called Shopify New York. Entrepreneurs can attend workshops and events, receive one-to-one support at the Growth Lab, and book photography and podcasting space. Members of Shopify New York can sell their products at Shopify’s pop-up shop located within the building, which is accessible to visitors.
The Mills Fabrica, an innovation platform for the circular economy, has opened a multi-functional space in Kings Cross, London. The space features a café, co-working space, tech lab and experiential concept store, which will showcase the latest sustainable innovations from fashion and food brands. The Mills Fabrica is hosting an incubator programme with over 25 start-ups who specialise in sustainable innovation.
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The Mills Fabrica, an innovation platform for the circular economy, has opened a multi-functional space in Kings Cross
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Image courtesy of The Mills Fabrica