SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Outdoor furniture brand Outer recently unveiled its 1,000th neighborhood showroom, a peer-to-peer program that allows consumers to visit a home nearby to experience the products before buying.
“The way people shop is evolving. We saw an overlooked opportunity in outdoor furniture, not only in the way it was designed but the way people shop for it,” said Jiake Liu, Outer CEO and co-founder. “Our Neighborhood Showroom program is not only the next generation of retail but also a way for people to re-engage with their communities and neighbors. After a long year of isolation, we are thrilled to celebrate this milestone and give people an opportunity to connect and enjoy the outdoors together.”
Liu said consumers are able to browse an array of local showrooms online and then make an appointment with a local host to see, sit on and feel the Outer products in person.
The company’s Neighborhood Showroom hosts are available to answer questions honestly and are not salespeople, according to Liu. There are no scripts, and the showroom hosts are compensated whether or not the visitor ends up purchasing.
After launching in 2017, the company now has neighborhood showroom locations in 49 states.
Outer said its backyard showroom program has allowed them to scale rapidly with minimal environmental impact. Rather than waste resources by building and maintaining traditional brick-and-mortar showrooms, the startup has unlocked the power of backyard enthusiasts across the country, according to Liu.
After recently surveying the current 1,000 showroom hosts, Outer found that more than 80% of hosts reported spending more time outside; 89% of hosts feel more connected to their neighbors and community; and 98% of hosts would recommend becoming a host to a friend or family member.
“We design our products to be lifeproof,” said Terry Lin, Outer co-founder and chief design officer. “Every region has different weather conditions for outdoor products to contend with. Our Neighborhood Showrooms allow shoppers to see firsthand how our innovative products hold up to extreme heat, rain, wind and snow.”
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