Fourpost offers both emerging and established brands barrier-free, turnkey access to physical retail and consumers through storefronts in a shared retail space. By offering short-term subscriptions instead of long-term leases, which are out of reach and unnecessarily restrictive for young or dynamic brands, Fourpost democratizes access to growth through physical retail. Through careful selection of member companies, Fourpost provides consumers with unique experiences to discover exciting new products, and builds community among entrepreneurs. We could not be more excited to partner with Mark Ghermezian and his team on this journey.

It’s no secret that we’ve been interested in finding ways to invest in the future of retail as the landscape changes. With digital tools like Shopify and Instagram, it’s never been easier to kickstart a D2C brand; however, attracting and retaining customers’ attention is more and more expensive given paid marketing’s reliance on exceedingly saturated acquisition channels. A 2017 study by Adobe found that digital advertising costs are rising +71% vs. TV and +500% vs. inflation, with advertisers increasing spend on search by +42% over the past two years alone. Competition for consumer eyeballs from both incumbents desperate to keep customers interested and the swelling ranks of digitally native brands is driving rising costs of advertising with no signs of slowing down. To make things worse, these pricey ads are losing effect as more than half of people find it easy to ignore online ads, even when they believe its content is relevant to their interests.

In a search for growth, many digital DTC companies have diversified away from paid social media marketing to meet customers where they are. HIMS has become one of the fasting growing men’s health and wellness brands by using an extensive playbook of offline marketing channels utilizing unmonetized physical space and surroundings - think gym locker rooms and the waiting rooms at doctors’ offices. This approach can yield a lower customer acquisition cost than digital channels.

New businesses are also coming back to brick and mortar to provide high quality customer experiences and reach new customers in a cost effective way. Going forward, we believe brick and mortar retail will be reorganized into stores that either provide inspirational and personalized experiences, like Fourpost, or convenience (see our thesis on that here Foxtrot :-)).

Some experiments are geared towards surprising and delighting customers, take Casper’s Dreamery, where, for $25, customers can reserve a 45 minute nap experience on a Casper mattress complete with complimentary pj’s, refreshments, and Headspace “sleepcasts.” For customer convenience, the Casper sleep store is located right next door. Others, like Dirty Lemon’s new “Drug Store”, prioritize convenience by offering the same text message purchasing system as they do when you order online. Without a checkout counter or cashier, customers are free to grab a drink, leave, and pay via phone at a convenient time, and Dirty Lemon avoids labor costs.

Both companies have recognized that retail presence is critical to grow efficiently and have leveraged local stores to provide high quality experiences, thereby increasing conversion and customer loyalty. But most new brands and local retail businesses do not have the capital to achieve this themselves. Enter Fourpost, where established brands, as well as, emerging and local companies can easily test out the brick and mortar channel in a cost effective way that scales. If you know of any brands who would like to try it out, please don’t hesitate to encourage them to reach out here.