How b8ta is reimagining the retail store model

In 2015, Phillip Raub and his business partners pitched investors on a retail store concept that would carry tech products created by other brands. “Doors got slammed in our face,” Raub says, because online direct-to-consumer brands ruled the market at the time. “And here we are four years later.” Raub’s startup b8ta’s “retail-as-a-service” model brings new and innovative products to retail faster and elevates the discovery experience in the physical world. “You have to be able to survive,” Raub says. “You have to have different layers within your business [and understand] that physical retail still plays a major part in a retailer’s arsenal.”

b8ta's cofounder Phillip Raub at podcast recording
Phillip Raub (center) with co-hosts Bill Thorne (left) and Kristina Stewart (right).

Raub’s experience at retail and tech companies revealed to him an inefficient wholesale system that connected tech products with retail stores. “Brands were really struggling for their identity at retail,” he says. “If you were a small company, you didn’t necessarily have a lot of say in how your products were represented.” With b8ta, the team created a platform where new and known brands can quickly test the market, meet customers and collect performance data without the need for products to be marked up as a result of the wholesale process.

B8ta’s success now means that about a third of brands on display sought to have a presence in the stores, but the team actively searches for and vets potential products — 30-50 percent of the assortment on display are replaced with new products every month. B8ta’s own passionate and knowledgeable employees, called “b8ta testers,” help create the customer experience, which include in-store events and partnerships with other retailers like Macy’s. “We’ve invested a lot of money in training,” Raub says. “We’ve invested a lot of money in our people to ensure that we have the highest quality individuals.”

Listen to the episode to learn more about how Raub and his team plans to evolve the b8ta concept beyond consumer electronics. Listeners: What other topics would you like to hear about in future episodes of Retail Gets Real? Drop us a line at podcast@nrf.com to give us your thoughts!

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