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How To Turn Your Retail Space Into A Coworking Space


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A retail owner’s step-by-step guide on how you can further monetize your underutilized space by offering professionals a new way they can work and interact with your space. In this article, we will show you how to turn your vacant retail space into a super-profitable, vibrant coworking community.

The Rise Of Coworking In Retail

Background: So what is a coworking space? A coworking space is a flexible alternative to a traditional office. In most cases, coworking spaces operate on a month-to-month term and offer amenities such as private offices, meeting rooms, open lounges, and cafes; allowing users to get work efficiently. It’s a great alternative over working from home, with the benefit of community and connections that help your business progress. Users of these flex spaces enjoy the amenities of an office without having to lock themselves into a long-term lease. There is a growing demand for people looking to work from local, flexible workspaces and, hypothetically, you already own one.

Companies like Amazon have completely disrupted the retail vertical by offering consumers new ways of purchasing goods. The result? Many retail businesses have gone bankrupt or have scaled back the need to lease storefronts in highly trafficked areas. The financials just seem to not make sense anymore. Due to the impact of large e-commerce brands and increasing retail vacancy rates, there needs to be a “new use” for these retail locations. Many believe that coworking will become the department store of the future.

If you are a real-estate developer, retail owner or investor, there are innovative ways you can fill your vacancies with new shared economy models. Let’s get started!

The Benefits of Turning Your Storefront Into A Coworking Space

If you already own or have invested in retail, by creating a coworking model that is complementary to your operating hours or full-time, you can turn your slow hours or closed hours into a source of revenue.

  • Do you have a vacant retail space? Only operate a storefront a few days per week? Monetize unused space and create new lines of revenue when business is slow or during your closed hours.
  • You already operate a space that serves as a beautiful showroom for your products and accept off-the-street walk-ins to your space. By leveraging your current investment and open space design, you can maximize your opportunities by making money from workspace memberships and customer experiences.
  • Creating a popup workspace during your closed or preferred hours, will allow you to build a loyal community by creating unique experiences around your space.
  • Give your business a new competitive edge – provide a service that is rapidly growing in demand.
  • Market your space to enterprises in order to create pop up retail and brand experiences.

How To Get Started

Step 1. Join The Shared Economy

The first step to turning your retail space into a coworking space is to determine whether you have the right amenities and operations. As a general rule of thumb, you should ask yourself the following questions:

Do you have:

  • On-staff available to greet members and ensure they are comfortable?
  • High-speed internet?
  • Natural lighting and inspiring ambiance?
  • Enough power outlets?

Next, you need to support the basic needs of a coworking environment. Make sure you have tables, counters or comfortable lounges for users to work from. You can easily manage this by working with an interior design company, furniture provider; or if you have an eye for design, you can fit the space out yourself.

Once you have the plan of your workspace layout, ensure that you are providing amenities like coffee, tea, snacks, and unique amenities to incentivize users to work and feel comfortable at your space.

Step 2. Convert Your Retail Showroom Into Coworking Space

  • Take professional photos of your location (interior and exterior).
  • Stage your new “coworking product” on your novel or existing website.
  • Determine a sustainable operating schedule and membership options that do not impact your primary business (if you operate it from the same space).
  • Add exterior signage to let the community know. For example, an “A-frame sidewalk sign”.
  • List your services on local directories and create a content marketing strategy.
  • Create a Search Engine Optimization Strategy.
  • Implement a Paid (Search Engine Marketing Strategy).
  • Partner with a booking platform to accommodate your memberships and passes to your space.
  • Train staff on how to welcome, support, fill inventory, and ensure customers have a good experience.

Don’t Have Time Or Need Help? Partner With DropDesk

DropDesk creates unique workspaces & experiences by converting unused retail, office space and restaurants into vibrant, coworking spaces. DropDesk offers a turn-key solution, allowing you to automate your coworking space.

  1. DropDesk will create a landing page for your retail location to actively market your space.
  2. Implement unique descriptions allowing us to help you rank on Google.
  3. Submit your venue to local directories and create a content marketing strategy.
  4. Allow access to our coworking management solution, allowing you to seamlessly manage billing, bookings and more.
  5. Integrate a managed wifi solution (optional)
  6. DropDesk will work with venue operators to create events to draw customers to your space.
  7. Re-target, send deals to customers and members to use your space.
  8. Work with enterprises to create brand experiences at your space.

Click Here To Learn More About How We Can Help.

Step 3. Launch Your Popup Workspace

Whether you are looking for innovative ideas on how you can market your retail space or fill your vacant space, coworking can be a profitable venture when operated correctly.

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