Pop-Up Pros: Brands Creating Buzz With Retail Pop-Up Shops
(Reading time: approximately 5 minutes)
Speed-walking through your neighborhood, head down trying to clean the stain off your shirt from breakfast, you turn the corner towards your office. Instead of seeing the usual flock of pigeons gathered on the brick courtyard, you see a giant shoebox. Giant. Big enough to fit, oh, say, two hundred pairs of shoes and a DJ. The famed three-pronged logo in all it’s glory atop the lid of the box.
Experiential marketing has gained a lot of steam lately, ranging from companies like Adidas, who relaunched a shoe with their London box; Red Bull who throws extreme sporting events and have people freefall from space; and Ikea, who’s hosting sleepovers in their warehouse display rooms.
Thinking outside the box – or in the box, if you’re Adidas – is crucial to keeping up with the best in the marketing game. With the landscape of how people consume constantly shifting, marketers are always trying to find new ways to peek their target’s attention.
But no other tactic is as hot as the retail pop-up shop is right now. A pop-up is a temporary storefront created to attract attention outside of your regular retail space. And in case you haven’t googled it yet, people get weird with it.
Pop-ups can do a lot to boost your brand’s presence no matter where you find yourself on the commerce spectrum.
Retail pop-ups can kick up the dust for established brands
Even if you’re a well-established brand killing it in your industry, retail pop-ups can be a really successful way to test out a new product or approach before putting it in all of your stores. If you’re thinking of taking a big risk, grab a few of your best associates and give it a shot for a few days and see how people react.
Olivia Kim has taken the pop-up game to a new level for Nordstrom. Curator of beautiful spaces (or Director of Creative Projects, if you want to get technical), Kim works to create themed pop-ups to launch partnerships with growing brands.
Naming their series ‘Pop Ins’ (because they’re nested inside select Nordstrom locations), the inaugural show was about all things Parisian. They laid black and white tile, created a faux hedge made of greenery to create the pop-in’s boundaries, and served macaroons to shoppers perusing French brands.
Nordstrom aims to break boundaries, and their pop-up shops are undoubtedly some of the most effective, but it doesn’t take an industry giant with millions of overhead to pull it off.
Getting your feet wet with retail-pop ups as a new brand
If you’re in marketing, you’ve surely heard about blunders that some companies have made. Logo design with accidental sexual innuendos, introducing a product in new countries and translating their slogan into hilarious misnomers.
A pop-up shop can be non-committal and relatively inexpensive. They are ideal for new businesses to test their product in various markets. If you’re an athletic apparel company just getting started, you could set up shop in a park so that people finishing up their yoga routine or taking a breather on a run can check out your garments.
Sugo Sauce owner Maya Sclaretta wanted to explore the idea of opening an Italian café, so she recruited retail pop-up experts Chinatown Experiment (now thisopenspace) to do a weeklong pop-up in the area she was considering. It was a blazing success and she’s now renting a more permanent space to house Pazzo Chow.
Showcasing your products to a select target market, and seeing how your brand fares in short-term, is a great way to figure out where you would be most successful in the long run. Short term gain for… long term gain. No pain necessary! Just a lot of fun and a great opportunity to have some face time on your client’s home field.
If you’re solely eCommerce, retail pop-ups can help you appeal to the senses
If you’re an eCommerce company, you know that the biggest challenge is helping the customer get a feel for the product they’re considering. It’s difficult to appeal to the senses. Setting up a pop-up is a great way to reinforce your buyers’ confidence in the product.
“We have had clients that have seen their cart size grow two times when their online customer walks into a space where they can touch and feel the brand,” says pop-up architect Melissa Gonzalez, founder of The Lion’esque Group.
Gonzalez recently worked with apparel brand Elsa and Me to create a pop-up dream: Specializing in dresses, owner Maja Svensson and LG hosted consultations for clients to customize their own piece. A “Build Your Own Dress” boutique sort of feel. Clients walked into a cozy shop with different dress designs, dressers filled with beautifully presented fabric swatches. Svensson then brought them through fabric and color choices, neckline, skirt silhouettes. After the pop-up, the brand saw a 50% increase in sales and 60% bump in brand awareness.
Pop-up shops allow you to get the best of both worlds. They can take the product for a test-drive at your temporary space and then head online to purchase it.
Regardless of where you find yourself in the lifespan of your company, a little experimentation is always a good thing. Whether it’s testing new products, markets or your presentation, pop-ups are a fun and affordable way to shake it up and make some noise around your brand!
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