retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Good story in the Boston Globe about Flexetail, am area company that has created three retail-friendly trailers that the company rents out to local companies, allowing them to bring their businesses to where customers are without having to invest in their own vehicles.

Recently, the story says, the trailers have been “selling Bruins gear outside TD Garden, canned iced coffee outside Copley Place Mall, and Gillette’s new heated razor on the Greenway.”

The Globe writes that “Boston has seen mobile retail trucks before, but often they’ve been built by individual businesses selling products like sneakers or vintage clothing. The idea behind Flexetail is that its 142-square-foot mobile store can be rented by the day, week, or month by a company that wants to try selling or demonstrating a product in a specific location.”

The story says that “Bill Aulet of MIT’s entrepreneurship center was one of the first to see the prototype Flexetail trailer last year … Aulet considers it part of the trend of ‘moving away from more rigid long-term commitments and to a more agile business structure. Remember the old days, when you had to sign up for a five-year lease for a fixed amount of real estate?’ In that sense, Flexetail is similar to the kind of office space offered by WeWork, CIC, and other operators of co-working spaces, Aulet says.”
KC's View:
This makes an enormous amount of sense, as consumers increasingly are going to expect retailers to bring their value propositions to them. I’ve long thought that equipment manufacturers ought to get into the mobility business … building mobile stores and food trucks that can serve this need and allow traditional retailers to go outside their traditional lanes. And I know there are other options out there for how to approach this segment, and I’ve written about one of them here.