That is the background for founding Spotly. We believe there is immense value when space and opportunity meets. There is not enough accessible space in most urban areas. Have you ever wondered, if all the best ideas in life gets a chance to prosper?
Well, we thought about both those things. We’re here to create connections, spark some interaction and provide everyone with an easy meaningful systemized way to let space be the frame for more people and products to meet in real life.
On our daily routes around the streets of Copenhagen we too often spot retail spaces, bars, cafes, and restaurants that are either already out of business or soon flipping their open sign for good. Commercial real estate prices remain high in prime locations while a growing number of sales are made online. In Denmark alone, the number of online sales increased 9% from ‘16 to ‘17 and sales of physical products accounts for a stunishing 77% of total sales .
Giving in to the trends? Closed store at a prime location in Copenhagen
The increase in online sales matters for space holders in the retail segment as it undoubtedly already is cannibalizing sales in physical stores. The Danish department of centerplanning (ICP) recent projections predicts massive retails deaths in nearly half of the Danish trading cities in years to come making online sales the scapegoat. The trend seems difficult to bend according to the department director .
Opening up your own space is a huge investment not to mention the commitment that comes with a lease contract and making sure that your place is staffed at all hours. Even before you opened your doors you have made a serious most likely irrevocable deposit. Getting established with a good customer stream also takes time and location still matters. Novelty? Shelving those new showpieces also has a price putting a strain on your liquidity.
Lifeless vs. lively. Contrasting views in Stræderne, usually known for pleasent cafés, design boutiques and retail shops
Actively opening up your space is definitely a mean of getting more of that buzz and at the same time bringing down your costs. For a period of time or recurrently. But how can you generate novelty whilst bringing down costs and remaining in control of your space?
They generate income, buzz and more life. The advantage is also that they are temporary, meaning if they are not supporting your business the way you hoped for expectations are already managed upfront- it was never supposed to be a lasting rendezvous.
On the other side of the equation, digitally native companies, creatives and organisations primary meeting their audience online not only have good odds coming their way, but a big cost advantage from inception. Theoretically they do not need any physical presence, and many have weeded out expensive intermediaries. Great flexibility is achieved as there is no long term commitment on leases. It has also become so much easier to establish your own independent sales channel online in the recent years.
The downside of mainly being online is that some of your audience still want to see color, quality and feel the product fit. Unless you are Zalando, it's tough times providing favorable return policies to supporting that. If you want to have shelf space in a physical store you either need to do it on a comission base, or give away your margin to the shop holder.
So how do you stay in control of your margins, meet your audience in real life while staying flexible (no long term lease commitments) and on budget?
Another advantage of popping up is that it also provide an opportunity for you to test things out in the market and get direct feedback from your audience. Furthermore, it gives you physical presence without requiring to put costs in a space during quiet months like January, or when you do not need it.
Experiences from webshops that have testet out the pop up concept is that the temporary physical presence supports and strengthen sales generally. It gives more stories to tell, and it is enriching the total customer experience. Many companies actually also launch their business through a pop up.
Webshop Pop up in a shared space in Copenhagen
Sharing a spot is already happening in many constellations. In Spotly, we believe we need to do it in a more systemized way to reap the true potential of it. Another obvious opportunity we see a lot of potential in is focusing on smaller spots in already established spaces. Shelves, windows, a wall spot or half of your space could prove to be of good value for someone else.
Spot sharing is an opportunity to increase value for everyone.
 FDIH, Foreningen for Dansk Internet Handel, Årsrapport 2017
 “Dyster fremskrivning forudser voldsom butiksdød i op mod halvdelen af de danske handelsbyer”, Politikken, online article, 09.02.18