Pop-up shops are not only breathing life into the high street, they are excelling. During the recession, many cities saw rows of empty shops as retail units were abandoned. The barren streets caused a lot of concern from many professionals, but this increase in empty units wasn’t bad news for everyone. Pop-up stores began to quite literally pop up and take advantage of the void in experiential retail marketing.
Let’s take a look at six reasons why pop-up stores are now flourishing in the modern market. Retailers: take note.
1. They’re Creating an Experience
Pop-up stores harness the power of experiential marketing and create a retail environment with a twist. In recent years, shoppers have begun to spend less on products and instead have been spending their money on experiences, such as going to the cinema or eating out at a restaurant. While this has been bad for some retailers, it has left a gap in the market for the likes of pop-up shops.
A pop-up shop intrinsically has the power of novelty to contribute to the experience that it creates. In addition, pop-ups are usually run by a very small number of staff who all care about the store’s success. This ensures a real interest in customer feedback and an increased desire to interact with customers in a genuine way. It also adds to the experience of a pop-up store and helps to really engage customers on a personal level.
2. They’re Nailing Events
Events are a great way to ensure a store is creating an experience. Pop-up stores are excellent at this. This is partially down to their agility and enthusiasm to make the most of their limited time on the high street. By running events, such as a demonstration or a talk by a well-known local expert, pop-ups draw customers into their store and create a memorable experience. It is these types of memorable experiences that help to create brand loyalty and excitement. These events help create retail experiences that encourage customers to become brand loyal and spend their money.
3. They’re Quirky
Pop-up stores tend to benefit from their independence. Unlike many of the retail giants, pop-ups do not have to worry about their brand looking the same across all of their stores. This allows them a degree of freedom with their retail display equipment that the majority of retailers do not enjoy. For the limited time that the pop-up is on the main street, it can move its displays around as frequently as it likes. In addition, staff can ask their customers for feedback that can be actioned in a matter of hours, rather than waiting weeks for the changes to filter through the hierarchy of merchandisers and managers above them.
Quirky styling can do wonders for the experience a customer has. In an era where clothes are mass produced, many of us love to say that we got our new favorite jumper from a boutique or a quirky little shop that was only there for a month. There is something exciting about being unique, temporary and exclusive. What’s more, customers love to have discovered someone new. They will love that a pop-up is trialing something and wants their opinion. They will root for a pop-up as though they were an underdog, and enjoy supporting and watching their discovery grow.
4. They’re Agile
Pop-up shops benefit from being run by entrepreneurs who seek to drive their business forward. These stores are agile and innovative; this shines throughout their attitudes, styling, and often their products. This can also mean that many mistakes are made, as there is no gargantuan team of market researchers stood behind the manager, influencing their every move. However, for the same reason, pop-ups innovate at a rate that many retail giants cannot. It isn’t four months until a new line can be rolled out. A pop-up has an idea on Monday, asks customers about it Tuesday, buys it on Wednesday and rolls it out Thursday, ready to experiment with the retail displays in preparation for Saturday.
In addition, pop-ups are agile physically. They only let the units for a limited amount of time, so if one location isn’t working, they simply choose a new one to move to for their next shot. This serves as an excellent way to prepare a business owner for choosing either a permanent location, or for informing an owner on which elements of their product need to be made clearer for online retailing in the future.
5. They Have Urgency
“Here today, gone tomorrow” is a real thing with pop-ups. You can guarantee that they won’t mind letting you know about it either. Many of the owners or sales assistants will inform you that they are just trying it out for a couple of weeks. “Quickly! Buy those jeans now; you may never see them again!”
This is an age old tactic loved by many retailers and salespeople. If you have ever purchased a car from a large garage, I’m sure they will have told you that you need to put down a deposit today, because there is someone else interested in exactly the same car that has been sat on the forecourt for two weeks until today. Today of all days, someone else wants the same car!
Only with a pop-up, it’s not just a tactic; they really will be gone tomorrow. Even the most skeptical shopper will understand that the pop-up will truly not be there next week. Unlike the majority of stable shops, discounts do not have to be used to generate urgency.
6. Riding The Social Wave
A pop-up store is in charge of its own social media account and is not tied down to the brand’s main accounts. This allows a pop-up the freedom to use its social media on a local level. With the right hashtags and some great events, pop-ups can draw customers into their store. They can also push the other way more effectively than a larger, less agile store. Sales attendants can easily inform customers that the shop will only be there another week, but if they want to keep in touch with the brand, they can follow them on their chosen social weapon. And that’s it: they’ve harnessed them.
About the writer: Ali Newton is the Marketing Executive for The Display Centre, where the team of creative experts provide shop fittings and display equipment, including bespoke items. Ali combines her fine art and fashion qualifications with her market research experience and psychology degree to help retailers drive their sales.
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