Brickwork is trying to take retailers’ online traffic and turn it into dollars at the brick-and-mortar level.
Whether this means dedicating space on a brand’s site to point consumers to an in-store concert or allowing them to make shopping appointments, connecting the digital and physical is key. Brickworks’ software platform already works with Urban Outfitters, J. Crew and Bonobos.
“The store today, in 2015, needs a digital front door,” David Munczinski, founder and chief executive officer of Brickwork, told WWD.
Previously, the sole connection between a retailer’s site and the store was a “store locator” portion of the Web site, and Munczinski wants to build upon this. “If the customer starts here,” he said, holding up his smartphone, “and you want to get them in, you have to do more on the phone to entice them.”
The marketing platform launches today and has already attracted investors, including Beanstalk Ventures and Novel TMT Ventures, Silas Chou’s family’s technology-investment arm. Cowboy ventures led the seed round, which totaled more than $3 million. Forerunner Ventures and Advancit Capital also participated in the round.
Aileen Lee, founder of Cowboy Ventures, said there is a “big opportunity” for retailers every decade, and the clamoring to find omnichannel solutions will continue to be top-of-mind for the next several years.
“In the 2000s it was, ‘Let us put you online and help digitize your supply chain,’” said Lee, who has invested in NuOrder, Rent the Runway and One King’s Lane, Dollar Shave Club and StyleSeat. “Brickwork is positioned to help retailers address the opportunity of this decade: the shoppers they care about all have a mobile phones and will often start the shopping experience with a mobile phone or will have a phone with them in-store.”
Urban Outfitters, for instance, used Brickwork to create an event page for a Lana del Rey appearance at the Herald Square store in New York City in September.
“Previously, [events like this were] marketed through social channels or e-mail. Now they have a branded destination page that allows for RSVPing [and the] customer has a richer digital experience ahead of going to that event,” Munczinski said, explaining that it’s a marketing platform to “get people in” and activates the consumer with name and e-mail input.
“The customer is committing, and the brand has an indication that thousands of people are going to attend,” he said.
Ken Seiff, founder and managing partner of Beanstalk Ventures, noted that Apple is one of a handful of retailers that uses their Web site to do things in-store, like book an appointment for the Genius Bar.
“Almost every other retailer, including most of the largest brands in the world, still don’t make it easy to book revenue-generating experiences on their Web sites such as personal shopping appointments or allowing customers to RSVP for in-store events,” Seiff said.
The company’s team of just under 25 employees works out of a SoHo, New York City headquarters. Brickwork provides its services on a per-store basis and Munczinski said it’s an investment that can run into the “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”