Staples is the latest brand to make an effort to generate more traffic into its stores, Engadget reports. The office supply retailer is partnering with podcast company Spreaker and are collaborating to bring recording spaces to six Staples locations in the Boston area. The podcast booths are part of the new Staples Connect model, where retail stores offer co-working and community event spaces.
“We’re so happy to play a role in making podcasting even more attainable to creatives in the Boston area,” Spreaker said on its company blog. “With access to quality recording facilities and the addition of a tool like Spreaker on-hand – for everything from editing to distributing – we really think the Staples Connect Podcast Studios will make a big impact in their communities!”
The Staples Connect Podcast Studios will be soundproof and include professional equipment. The equipment includes a RODECaster Pro control board, RODE microphones and SHURE headphones. Each studio holds up to four people. An hour session will cost $60 and includes a “dedicated in-store specialist” who will be on site to address any recording issues. Customers will receive discounted hosting and distribution courtesy of Speaker and reduced pricing for editing with We Edit Podcasts.
The effort to revive brick-and-mortar retail locations
Whether or not Staples’ podcast venture will bring more people in to their physical locations remain to be seen. The retailer is not the only one trying to get more brick-and-mortar stores back in the mainstream however. Fifth Wall, a proptech-focused venture capital firm, recently closed on its $100 million Retail Fund. The fund will invest in emerging brands and retail concepts to accelerate their physical store expansion through retail partnerships and Fifth Wall’s strategic consortium of more than 50 corporate strategic investors from 11 countries.
Fifth Wall started this fund because it believed a lot of venture capital investors in e-commerce are unaware with the challenges of brick-and-mortar retail growth. The firm also acknowledged many CRE owners are not fully aware of the new potential tenants in their space. Part of the Retail Fund’s mission is to help its CRE owners create relationships with digital brands at an earlier stage.
“New e-commerce brands know the importance of being wherever their customers want them to be at all times – they simply cannot reach their full potential if they remain solely online,” Fifth Wall Partner Kevin Campos said in a statement.
What Staples’ podcast studio launch means for CRE
Staples likely will not be the last major retailer that tries to get more customers to come to its physical locations. Other retailers might not open podcast studios, but it’s safe to assume that technology will be part of whatever strategy they use to entice customers. That tech will likely rely on wireless connectivity, and that is when CRE owners have to prepared. If a retailer wants to institute an app that lets customers apply coupons, generate shopping lists or make in-store purchases through their phone, their first question to a CRE owner will be if the building’s wireless network can handle it. If CRE owners want to retain that tenant, the answer has to be a resounding, “Yes.”