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  • Writer's pictureKate Talbot

Betabrand's Podcast Theatre: How The Audio Revolution Is Influencing Retail

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

Podcasts are having their moment. This is no surprise as increased smartphone usage, longer commutes, intellectual curiosity towards niche topics, and the democratization of audio production are driving this trend.

The data proves this as there are over 700,000 podcasts globally, and tools like Anchor and Adobe Audition help creators host and execute content. Podcasts have become such a part of our daily lives that it’s often commonplace for listeners to visit Reddit threads or attend in-person meetups to discuss more after episodes.

As a CEO of a digital-first brand and one with a physical retail location, Lindland is always examining the cultural zeitgeist and thinking of ways to drive customers to Betabrand’s storefront in the Mission District of San Francisco, “Retailers have changed stores to interact with the eyeballs of Instagram. It’s fun to be the first to try to connect with the ears of the podcast world.”

This is where Podcast Theatre comes to life as Betabrand hosts weekly live podcasts from the store with a captivating audience.

As retail stores are now integrating immersive experiences to galvanize customers, Podcast Theatre is reinventing the retail space as a stage for social behavior. Here are three benefits of leveraging physical spaces to compliment online behavior.

Digitizing brick and mortar retail

Retail is at an inflection point at the moment; where traditional retailers like Sears and Payless have filed bankruptcy and direct-to-consumer brands like Away and Glossier are becoming billion-dollar unicorn companies. To thrive in 2019, you need to have a holistic approach to retail.

Betabrand has always had a robust online presence utilizing crowdfunding fashion and digital advertising as drivers of growth, Podcast Theatre illustrates how you can leverage digital components into a physical space. Lindland expands, “When creating a store, folks should think about how that location can uniquely connect to online audiences with a firm idea of how a physical space can support online behavior, a store can generate traffic 24/7.”

Additionally, when people listen to the podcast and it’s mentioned that it’s hosted from Betabrand this allows for an expanded digital audience, “The podcasts and related social posts introduce Betabrand to an audience 100 times the number of shoppers who’d visit the store on any given evening.”

Retailers have to adapt to this changing landscape as consumers -- especially those in the millennial and Gen Z generations -- still love a physical retail store but need a social sharing component to the shopping experience.

Connecting with community

The act of listening to a podcast is usually a solo activity; however, with Podcast Theatre there is now a community built around this experience. Weekly, people of all ages, genders, races, come to Betabrand to enjoy this entertainment and make new connections.

Podcast Theatre presents #TotalSF - A San Francisco Chronicle Production JONATHAN CASANOVA

For podcast hosts, this is a remarkable opportunity to meet their fans in person as digital relationships become real-life connections. Rachel Dodes of ‘This Week in Nope" flew out from New York City to San Francisco for Podcast Theatre, “As New Yorkers, we can think of no better way to connect with our West Coast audience. In 2019, there is literally nothing more of the moment than a popup podcast theater hosted by an online retailer in the Bay Area.”

Betabrand can go beyond being just a sponsor of podcasts by bringing together community around a unifying content medium.

Empowering employees

Crafting immersive spaces in a retail environment brings together employees to create. Employees are empowered to be part of new and innovative social entertainment with the hopes of bringing in customers to the store. In the case of Podcast Theatre, it wasn’t just the marketing team that was involved; it was a group effort of engineers, designers, sales associates, etc. that made Podcast Theatre come to life.

Betabrand engineer, Russell Preston expands on this, “It is a privilege to see the place you come to work every day transform into a bustling event space. Hosting guest speakers and their fans from all across the country, as well as building a much stronger connection to our local community and neighbors, is a unique opportunity to tie with our brand.”

Retail's next episode

With retail in a precarious environment, those that are going to win will merge both the online and offline worlds to create strong communities and spaces for shareable user-generated content. With digital storytelling being a central focal point, retailers have to think beyond Instagram selfies and utilize other content mediums like podcasts to create memorable experiences.

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