Since they popped up in 2009, pop-up shops have gotten quite the buzz in retail. Retailers such as Birchbox, Amazon, Warby Parker, and Bonobos have found success in pop-ups. According to Specialty Retail Report, the pop-up industry has grown 16 percent annually to become an industry worth about $8 billion. Bridging the gap between eCommerce and brick-and-mortar stores, pop-up shops have become a major tool for smaller retailers to compete with large brands in omnichannel.
Benefits of Having Your Own Pop-Up
What’s so popping about pop-ups? Due to their hybrid nature, pop-up shops are able to bring benefits to your business in a number of ways.
Test the Waters
Pop-up shops have evolved into effective tools for retailers to generate awareness and excitement. Leverage pop-up shops to advertise new brands or products. With pop-ups, you can get feedback from customers before the actual product launch. For example, Sarah Jessica Parker’s shoe brand succeeded in promoting her new product when she launched a pop-up shop in Las Vegas. This was because pop-up shops are able to evoke a sense of urgency due to their “limited time” offers. Also, opening pop-up shops are less costly. Vend found that retailers can save up to 80% by opening pop-up shops compared to traditional brick-and-mortars. Pop-up shops are a great tool to use to test the waters.
Brand Awareness Boost
Retailers are finding that pop-up shops are great for building brand awareness. By leveraging social media, retailers can create a lot of buzz around pop-up shops. The Lionesque Group found that 50 percent of pop-ups that they worked with saw an average increase of 35 percent on social media engagement while they were open. This gives retailers the opportunity to analyze what shoppers are saying about their business online and use it for future campaigns. Pop-up shops are also a great way for you to meet your potential customers and create awareness for your online store. Melissa Gonzalez, CEO of the Lionesque Group explained, “A sense of discovery will deepen a customer’s connection of the brand as they embrace the ‘wow’ factor.”
Pop-up shops open many opportunities that online stores cannot replicate. Many shoppers like to try on a product before purchasing it. Accenture’s recent research shows that 78% of shoppers are “webrooming”, meaning they browse online before purchasing in a store. By leveraging pop-up shops, you can extend your scope to these webrooming shoppers. This presents a great opportunity to educate your shoppers by giving a live demo or walking them through how your product works, which could be a great way to get through to those early adopters. Microsoft is a great example of a retailer that was able to accomplish this. To promote their new product Surface RT Tablet, Microsoft opened several pop-up shops to capture shoppers’ attention and introduce the product to the general public. Pop-up shops are a great way for retailers to get more personal with shoppers.
3 Factors to Focus on For Pop-Up Shop Success
The success of pop-up shops is dependent on a number of factors. To ensure that your pop-up is top-notch, here are 3 aspects that we think you should focus on to make your pop-up poppin’.
Location is an essential factor for a pop-up’s success. Gonzalez emphasizes that to pick the right location, you need to focus on factors such as its foot traffic, internet connection, visibility, and potential for interior designing. These factors are really important in a location because they correlate to the shoppers’ reception of your pop-up. For example, internet connection is essential due to webrooming, while visibility and foot traffic correspond to your pop-ups’ popularity. One way to find pop-up options in big cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco is through apps such as Storefront and PopUp Republic, that showcase pop-up store locations to rent.
As your website is the face of your online store, the interior design of your pop-up shop is the mirror of your brand. One of your primary goals for your store’s design should be to bring people in and keep them there. Gonzalez explains that to achieve that you should figure out what your shoppers like about your brand and focus on that. Retailers recognize that the interior design is essential for success. Uniqlo, a Japanese clothing brand, created a lot of buzz with its cube-shaped pop-up shop. Be creative with your interior design to capture your shoppers’ attention.
Good inventory management is key for success in your overall retail business. Now that you are on multiple channels, managing your inventory can get a little more confusing which means it could lead to more error and unnecessary costs. Counselor to America’s Small Business found that 45 percent to 90 percent of expenses come from inventory costs. Use inventory management software to manage inventory on multiple channels.
Editor’s Note: Contributing writer is Don Dao. This post was originally published in August 2015 and has since been updated and refreshed for readability and accuracy.