The walls between online and physical retail are eroding. In the US, e-commerce giant Amazon has brick-and-mortar bookstores, while Alibaba has its Hema grocery stores in China. Now, a group of Singaporean entrepreneurs is opening stores where consumers can touch, feel and buy products funded via Kickstarter, the US-based crowdfunding site.
The store, called We the People, does not have a formal relationship with Kickstarter and instead works directly with product brands.
“For a lot of the creators, this is their first time in Asia,” said Ryan Sim, who started We the People with three friends. “We don’t just sell for the sake of selling, we prescribe products and try to help build brands.”
Sim, 28, used Kickstarter in 2013 to crowdfund a slim wallet under the brand Kisetsu. At craft markets, he noticed that when he added a sign saying the product was funded with Kickstarter, sales doubled. He also noticed that Singapore often ranks top among Asian countries for the number of Kickstarter backers, along with Hong Kong.