The concept of a pop up shop, while isn’t new, can yield good results for advertisers who have online stores to branch out and test the market.
What is a popup shop?
A popup shop is where an online store goes offline, and runs an in-store shopping event for a limited amount of time. While the idea of a popup shop isn’t new, when it’s done right, it’s a great and unique way to reach a new audience for your online shop.
Alibaba did this recently in Australia, where they featured different technologies that they think will change the face of online shopping across the world, and included in-store and online rolled into one, including shelves with product QR codes that could be scanned on a mobile phone and that directed you to the product online at their subsidiary Taobao.
What are the benefits of doing an in-store popup shop?
1. To create brand awareness: When you have a brand that people aren’t hugely familiar with, it can be useful to run a popup in a shop that does have an engaged audience, or in a location where there is a high volume of people that will see your store and come in for a look around. In this way you can create more brand awareness, and direct people to shop in your online shop in the future.
2. Testing a new revenue stream in a low risk environment: If you’re thinking about opening a physical store, a great way to test this out is by running a popup to see whether you have enough of an audience to open your own shop. Because you’re not paying as much rent as you would if you had your own physical store, if it doesn’t work out as well as you had hoped, you haven’t invested a huge amount of money into the project.
3. Customer engagement: Because people can touch, feel and try on your products, customers are more likely to buy from you at your popup, and because they have a positive experience. are more likely to be engaged with you in the future because they know your goods are of a high quality.
4. A sense of urgency: Because popup shops are only short events, it gives customers a sense of urgency - they should buy from you now, because it might be gone when they come back, or your popup might be over. This can also help you to increase your sales as well. You can also use holidays that are likely to generate sales - valentine’s day, or Christmas for example to increase the sense of urgency a customer feels when they are in your popup.
5. Find new customers: For a brand who doesn’t have a huge following yet, the potential to reach new customers is high.
6. Go to where your customers are located: If you have had an online shop for a while, you’ll have some demographics on their location and lifestyle, which means you can go to where they are. You can scout out good locations and market your popup on your website. This means you’ll already have customers who want to buy from you.
7. Get rid of stock you’re struggling to sell online: A popup can be a great way to get rid of stock that you are struggling to sell online. Because people can try things on, they are more likely to buy from you, and you can reduce your losses this way.
Setting goals for your popup
Setting goals for your popup is important, as it allows you to define whether or not it has been successful, and whether or not you should do it again in the future. It’s a good idea to select one main goal that you’re aiming for, though there’s nothing stopping you from having more than one goal for your popup. Some popular goals include brand awareness, an increase in revenue, and customer engagement. How you measure these is purely up to you, but your main goal should help you to organise the layout of your popup shop, and what promotions or offers you run.
When you’re choosing your goal, there are some questions you need to ask yourself before you start:
- Are you a well established brand, or are you just starting out?
- Are you trying to get rid of stock, or introducing new lines?
- Are you testing the market for a new physical store of your own?
For example, if you’re just starting out then setting a goal for brand awareness rather than increasing revenue would be a better goal for you. You just need to think about what it is that you’re trying to do, and be realistic about it, and think about how you will measure your success. Will it be the number of sales you make during the event, an increase in traffic on your website, or people signing up for your newsletter in store that you measure?
Top tips for your popup
1. Create a budget: If you’re planning on doing a popup, make sure that you have a budget in mind before you start. Otherwise, your costs could get out of hand when you’re scouting for your ideal location. Think about the rent, insurance, POS, and inventory as just a few of the things to factor in.
2. Think about the location of your popup: There are so many different options for a popup shop - you could do it in a well established shop, in a gallery, in a shopping centre or retail space. There are some great websites out there that can help you to find somewhere. Check Smarter Spaces, GoSpaceBook, or Popupshop.com.au - these are just a few examples of websites that you can find a space.
3. Think about the space: When you’re looking for a location consider how much space you’ll need, whether there’s a storage area for excess stock, how busy your location gets (is it somewhere there are a lot of people, or is it a bit out of the way?), how easy is it to get to, is there parking nearby? In order to make your event a success, you want as many people as possible to come to your event, and for it to be enjoyable.
4. Make sure you have all of the legal stuff sorted: Legal stuff is important. Make sure that you’ve got insurance, check if you need a permit to sell at your popup location, make sure that you’ve got a signed lease. Basically cross the t’s and dot the i’s to avoid any complications further down the line.
5. Be creative: The more creative you are the better so that you stand out from your competition. Brands can really use a popup to attract new people, and if the idea isn’t creative then you might lose out on potential customers. A great example of this was in the US - a company called Bark & Co set up their popup in Manhattan and invited dogs and their owners to come and play with the toys. The dogs were fitted with RFID vests which tracked which of the toys was their dogs favourite and then the owners could buy them from the event’s mobile app.
6. Make sure you advertise: Advertise your popup on your website, on social media, and in your e-mail marketing so that people know it’s happening and they show up on the day. You could think about offering a free sample to the first 30 people who arrive in your store.
7. Test all of your hardware before the event: Make sure that everything is working in advance. This way you’ll know in advance if the WiFi signal is weak, or if you need to have a contingency plan. Then people won’t come away disappointed.
8. Don’t forget to market on the day: Print off flyers and have people handing them out in areas where there’s high footfall, because for most people their decision to visit your popup isn’t planned in advance, it’s on the day.
9. Go from offline to online: A great way to get people to come back to your shop is to offer people a coupon code in-store that they can redeem online if they sign up to your newsletter. This way you can use your web shop to monitor the code usage, and to capture e-mail addresses and start your e-mail marketing.
10. Don’t forget to share pics from the event on social media to create a lasting buzz: Make sure that you take plenty of pictures on the day, and encourage other people to do the same. Create a hashtag for the event, and share on social media, including SnapChat videos, Facebook lives, Instagram videos, and whatever else.
A popup is a great way for your brand to generate brand awareness, extra revenue and customer engagement. Setting a goal for your popup is the most important factor as it will determine the layout of your store and what promotions you’ll run. Make sure you set yourself a budget before you start, so that the costs don’t get out of hand and check the location to see if it fits your needs. Be creative with your popup and don’t forget marketing. This should ensure the success of your event, and help you to establish whether or not your brand could have it’s own brick and mortar store.