Pop-up stores are a decades-old concept. Previously confined to the role of a seasonal store, today’s new breed of pop-up retail opens a new channel for brand manufacturers and retailers to get creative, innovate, and define their customer relationships.
Just as the food truck craze has changed the way people experience new foods, pop-up stores — whether standalone, store-within-a-store or motorized (think fashion stores on wheels) — provide merchants an opportunity to impress consumers with a unique shopping experience differentiated from online or traditional retail environments. Pop-up stores can be a low risk, low cost entry into a market, or serve as a cost efficient testing ground or go to market strategy for new products.
In addition to fostering unique shopping experiences, pop-up stores can also be very profitable (worth an estimated $50 billion annually in the USA), making them an important part of a savvy retailer’s overall strategy. According to Storefront, pop-up stores can be 80 percent less expensive than opening a traditional storefront location.
Launching Your First Pop-Up Store:
There is no one-size-fits-all design when it comes to pop-ups because the key factor for success is the individual way you let your brand speak to consumers through your creativity. Your pop-up model will be driven by your brand, and a copycat model will be quickly noticed by consumers. While each pop-up model model is unique, when strategizing your first pop-up retail initiative, Kibo recommends you consider the suggestions in these four stages:
Stage 1: Planning
When planning your pop-up campaign, consider your customer base, your relationship with them, and the main goals of launching the store. If your aim is to promote a new product launch, nurture customer relationships, or simply sell product at an event, the pop-up model you choose must resonate with your customers and create an environment that encapsulates your core brand values.
Stage 2: Choose Your Location Wisely
Just as merchants are intimately knowledgeable of their customer demographic and how to best find them on the web, so too should your pop-up be placed where your prospective customers will likely visit. If you’re selling clothing to Millennials, you’re likely going to locate on or near the high street, and if you sell automotive or motorsports products, you will want to set up at a racetrack or car show.
Stage 3: Get the Word Out
Marketing your pop-up can be as innovative as the space itself. Social media can be a powerful driver for your temporary store, and the word of mouth environment adds to the urgency and exclusivity. If you can engage with influencers to promote the event or pop-up, this can help generate buzz. Additionally, cross promoting with other non-competing brands can be a clever strategy to facilitate communication about your temporary space.
Stage 4: Deliver on the Promise
Pop-up stores are like an open house for a brand. You should be welcoming customers with open arms in an effort to cultivate powerful brand loyalty. To create a successful pop-up experience, keep a focus on creating a connection with your customers. After all, they have made the decision to visit your store because they expect something unique – don’t disappoint them. Today’s shoppers are savvy to tired marketing efforts and want to feel a part of something special. Remember that expectations are high, so you must deliver on the promise, or risk losing your customers.
Some Questions to Ask When Starting Your First Pop-Up
- What time of the year is best suited for my pop-up? Do I offer seasonal products that might benefit from a pop-up experience?
- How long should my pop-up store last? Some stores are open for three days, others for three weeks or three months.
- What are my potential location options?
- What is my optimal store design layout?
- What merchandise and products should be featured in the pop-up? Exclusive offerings? New product launches?
- What technology will I need to operate my pop-up store? Do I need a checkout or will a mobile, tablet-based POS allow for a better experience? Does my technology offer endless aisle functionality, helping me maximize inventory space in the pop-up?
- How do pop-up stores fit into my overall omnichannel strategy?
- Pre-promotions: Can I leverage celebrities or other influencers on social media to drive traffic to the pop-up store? Do I have a marketing campaign in place to provide the initial traction needed?
- During event promotion: Am I encouraging customers to share the experience by providing social media campaigns/competitions and hashtags?
Once at the pop-up, it’s up to you to welcome your customer into your space and capitalize on the opportunity to impress and build loyalty. With the right technology in place, such as a Cloud-based mobile POS complete with endless aisle capabilities, merchants can maximize every square foot and provide a full product selection to shoppers, creating a memorable shopping experience.
Pop-up stores are a unique channel to improve your reach and differentiate your brand from the competition. With the right use of creativity and leveraging the latest technologies, pop-up stores can set your brand apart.