I was writing a blog post for StartUp Fashion on “How to Launch an E-commerce Shop Selling Your Own Brand and Others” (will update with link when its live), and I had an idea that I never saw in practice, the CO-OP website. We’ve all heard of CO-OPs, like the Park Slope CO-OP where you donate time and get a discount on food, or CO-OP apartments, where everyone in the building owns the building together. And in the last 5 years CO-OP fashion retail stores have become more popular. But, what about the idea of a CO-OP fashion retail e-commerce site? A place where each brand owned a part of the site and contributed to its growth.
The Retail CO-OP Concept
Imagine selling your brand with 4-5 other curated brands on a site that really catered to the consumer. The group of you would take your dollars and invest in marketing together. $100/day can stretch a lot further than $20/day. You would invest together in a copywriter to write about your products, and be under a “retail” umbrella that was equally owned by each of you.
I imagine this CO-OP site to have microsites for your brands with an about page and contact info, but together you wouldn’t have to manage 5 separate sites. As a collective you could collaborate on pop-up shops, newsletters and catalogue mailers (yes, those are making a comeback).
You would want some things to be kept separate. Separate wholesale pitching, social media accounts, and press outreach. This way you could continue to grow your brand on different retail channels.
In an age where the internet graveyard grows, maybe we can make a bigger impact in smaller targeted groups- just a thought.
Planning Your CO-OP Website
There are of course a whole host of things one would have to consider.
- Finding the right brands to coordinate with.
- Establishing the guidelines of financial contribution and other work needed to grow the brand and drive online sales.
- Deciding the term length for the CO-OP members.
Despite the logistics involved – nothing a good lawyer couldn’t sort out for you – what a CO-OP website could give you would be extremely valuable… attention. These days grabbing the customer’s attention is so important, and you need to be where they are. Consolidating marketing efforts is a great way to make more noise.
If you are interested in giving this new idea a shot, shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Syama is the CEO of global retail strategy firm Scaling Retail. She works with startup, growth stage and enterprise businesses on retail innovation across sales, marketing and operations. Learn more about Syama at www.ScalingRetail.com.