US retail-as-a-service startup B8ta to launch in The Dubai Mall
Priya Wadhwa
10X Technology

US retail-as-a-service startup B8ta to launch in The Dubai Mall

“We think brick and mortar should be as easy, smart, and open as online.” — B8ta

The next time you visit a mall, have a look at the Apple store.

With an open and bright plan, the store design welcomes people inside, most of whom are simply playing with products; testing the speed of the Apple pencil on the drawing app on iPads, typing on laptops to feel how far the keys travel and if they stick, or simply checking out how things look in the latest iPhone camera.

And it is this experience that reinforces their belief in Apple’s products, convincing them to want or buy them. My point is, that the physical touch and experience of products is still very important. It is the reason why malls still exist.

But there is a gap between stores at malls and the online e-commerce world. While one is sometimes too large and crowded to walk through, the other does not give the same experience or incite trust in products, especially when it comes to tech gadgets.

There are a number of brilliant products being developed and showcased online, but entrepreneurs do have not an easy way to showcase their products in the offline world. B8ta, a US startup founded by ex-Google employees, has been plugging this gap in the US, and now it is coming to The Dubai Mall.

“This is designed for direct-to-consumer brands who have no store space but believe it’s important or they’ve done one or two stores and are having a hard time scaling that up to 10, 20 or 30.”
Norby said in an interview with TechCrunch

Their retail-as-a-service model allows them to build stores and then lease out space to entrepreneurs to showcase their products — all for a flat monthly fee. This takes the hassle out of extended contracts with malls of department store chains, while providing an openly designed store plan.

Moreover, B8ta offers entrepreneurs the choice of having their products only for experience, or couple it with point-of-sale, checkout and inventory management. Staff at B8ta’s stores are trained for all products that are displayed in stores, bridging the gap between the online and offline world. Regarding how their staff handles customers in The Dubai Mall, is something that we still have to experience.

While this may seem like what many of the technology reseller brands do, B8ta’s offer is a lot more flexible for its clients, democratising the landscape to offer an opportunity to young startups providing Internet of Things (IoT) products without incurring hefty costs. Furthermore, it gives them the power to have their products showcased in a store, than having to rely on the decisions of “experience store” managers.

The Shopify-for-the-offline-world firm’s debut in Dubai is a great opportunity for tech entrepreneurs in the region, who have the ability to manage their products in stores and the content playing on them in real time through B8ta’s software from wherever they are. A great work of bringing the online and offline retail benefits together.