Lime will open brick-and-mortar scooter ‘lifestyle stores’

How can lime differentiate your scooters and bicycles from the piles of birds and laps that fill the sidewalks of Los Angeles? Apparently, with a physical store where you can convince customers of the wonders of mobility on demand. According to a work by Lime that is looking for a "Retail Store Manager", the startup plans to open a "lifestyle brand store in Santa Monica".

[Update: Following the publication of this article, Lime responded to our inquiry, telling TechCrunch “In the coming year, Lime will be opening brick & mortar storefronts in major US and international markets, starting with Santa Monica, California. Locations will place heavy importance on community engagement, rider education, and brand experience.”]

Lime will rent vehicles directly from the store and charge them, with the total. The role of the time manager includes the "monitoring of inventory levels", as well as daily operations and employee recruitment. They will also launch live events to build Lime's hype. Since the company is calling this a lifestyle store, the focus will probably be to show how Lime scooters and bicycles can become part of people's lives and increase their happiness, instead of maximizing the volume of rental.

A representation of the new office of Lime is Building in San Francisco. The design could allude to what Lime wants to do with the brand of its retail store.

TechCrunch has confirmed Lime's plans for the store, and that the agreement to build it was made through Lime's investor, Fifth Wall Ventures, which organizes partnerships between technology companies and real companies. real estate developers. As for what will happen in the store, Adam Demuyakor of Fifth Wall tells me: "There will be scooter display, load of scooters and some sales of clothing and related accessories. There will be demonstrations, tutorials and presentations on how to be safe. " Lime's growing traction is critical to Fifth Wall, which led the $ 70 million B-series extension in February and joined the $ 335 million Series C in July.

The big reason here is that Lime repairs the relations with the local community. Demuyakor tells me "when electronic mobility companies appeared, some people loved it, but some people said" you dropped a lot of scooters on my sidewalk "in what he called a" really irresponsible way. "But with a physical store at In front, Lime will have human faces to push her side of the story. "Lime would have the opportunity to control the narrative, engage with the local community and invest in Santa Monica, they can make it clear that they care about the electoral district there … Educate them about the benefits, educate them about safety and provide helmets. "That could counteract the idea that scooters just get in the way and are an urban eye ulcer." The narrative took its own legs, "explains Demuyakor.

Fifth Wall worked on the agreement of the Lime retail store with one of its main LPs, Macerich, the third owner of shopping centers in the United States. will become the exclusive scooter dealer at the outdoor mall in Macerich, Santa Monica. The idea is that by joining with Macerich, Lime will be able to roll out and load scooters "where people come and go from the mall," Fifth Wall co-founder and managing partner Brendan Wallace tells TechCrunch. He explains that the scooter companies have thought of expanding too purely from the point of view of achieving market saturation. "You have to partner with local organizations, both public and private, and real estate organizations because real estate developers are typically the most politically influential."]

The list was first discovered by ] Nathan Pope a transport researcher for the consultant Steer, and later by Alex Heath of Cheddar . We communicate with Lime and update it if we receive a response from the company. Glassdoor shows that the position of store manager was published more than 30 days ago, and the site estimates the potential salary of $ 41,000 to $ 74,000.

The total number of Lime scooters in Santa Monica, where the store will emerge, is already amazing. The offer does not seem to be a strangulation like in other cities. Instead, it is the fierce competition of local startups as the local favorite Bird that Lime wants to overcome through brick and mortar marketing. Often, you'll see Lime and Bird scooters lined up side by side. And with similarly low prices, the decision of which to use is reduced to the affinity of the brand. According to Apptopia, Bird's monthly downloads in the United States exceeded those of Lime in July for the first time, despite the fact that Lime offers bicycles and scooters.

There are many people who have not yet tried an electric scooter to order and continue the process of renting them, unlocking them and assembling them can be daunting for some. If the employees of a physical store can teach people that it is not too difficult to jump on board, Lime could become your default scooter. This, of course, also carries risks, since electric scooters can be dangerous for the beginner or not coordinated. The most aggressive in-person marketing could attract users who were worried about kicking for the right reason: security concerns. And there is also the issue of overhead. Beyond the loading and repair facilities near its main markets, physical stores could increase the rate of burning with the $ 467 million in financing from Lime.

As cities discover the best way to regulate scooters, I hope we focus on uptime, also known as the frequency with which scooters work correctly. It is common in Los Angeles to rent a scooter, then discover that the handlebar is loose or that the acceleration is slow, finish the trip and rent another scooter of the same brand or a competitor hoping to get one that works properly. I left several Lime scooters this way while I was in Los Angeles last week.

Regulators should ask what percentage of the company's fleet of scooters is broken and what percentage of trips end within 90 seconds of starting, which is usually due to vehicle malfunction. Then, cities could grant permits to companies that keep their fleets up and running, instead of dirtying the streets with massive paper weights, or worse, vehicles that could crash and harm people. Scooters are fun, cheap and, therefore, accessible to more people than Ubers, and reduce traffic. But unless new companies like Lime focus more on helmets and prudent driving behavior, we could change congestion on the roads by congestion in the emergency room. We hope that the retail store will establish closer links between Lime and the municipal governments to prioritize security.

This article has been updated to include the Lime statement, as well as the comments of Fifth Wall Ventures.