Prospering with pop-up stores

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During fashion week in London’s Soho district this past February, Lego opened a pop-up store with nothing in it. Well, nothing except for a pedestal displaying a QR code. When visitors scanned the “Snapcode,” linked to Snapchat, their phones displayed an augmented reality-enabled fashion boutique where they could interact with arcade games, a DJ and a bouncer. They also could view an exclusive limited-edition apparel collection, available for purchase through the social media site’s “Shop Now” feature.

Pop-up concepts like this are becoming essential in retail, where consumers’ insatiable desire for the new and different requires constant testing and experimentation. Pop-ups lend an air of exclusivity, an of-the-moment excitement and Instagram worthiness that generates top-of-mind brand buzz in crowded markets. Their success has driven the pop-up industry to approximately $10 billion in sales, according to PopUp Republic.

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Retailers create pop-ups for a variety of reasons, and their run times vary from just a few days to months or more. Common purposes include the desire to:

  • Explore potential new markets; Goop recently opened a London pop-up for this purpose.
  • Test new products/concepts/services and experiment, such as Wrangler trying out a new global high-end line in London.
  • Try out brick-and-mortar, for e-Commerce-only retailers.
  • Attract a new customer base, such as House of Fraser’s recent pop-up.
  • Promote the brand.
  • Engage directly with customers, especially for brands that sell primarily through retailers. Superdruginvited social media influencers to select the products for its ethical makeup-only pop-up.
  • Study and learn from customers.
  • Tie in to holidays or events, such as Waterstones’ International Woman’s Day pop-up featuring only female authors.
  • Take advantage of an opportunistic lease in a prime location.
  • Serve as a click-and-collect/BOPIS location, as Zara did at Westfield Stratford in east London.

Some pop-ups run their course and close down, but retailers have also adopted pop-up only business models — generating excitement by temporarily setting up shop at locations suggested by their social media following, for example — or moved on from the pop-up concept to full brick-and-mortar sites, as Amazon is now doing in the U.S.

Cloud-based platforms are well-suited for retailers operating pop-ups because they give the new location instant access to the software needed to run the store without anyone needing to install and configure devices on site.

“Pop-ups are a physical media channel much like the Internet, TV and radio, and can be used as a tool to tell a brand’s story,” said Leon Goldwater, Chief Executive Officer of We Are Pop Up, a firm that helps businesses book pop-up spaces and ShopShares in Europe.

“Many brands and retailers have realised the impact of using physical locations as experiential concepts and that they are essential to activate and keep customers engaged. The pop-up needs to be seen as part of the brand’s marketing strategy and as a great way to test out new concepts, ideas and formats.”

Written by: Andrew Gaffney

One fifth of Brits would use a robot gift generator to choose the right Valentine’s gift

It’s Valentine’s Day, and if you’ve been stressing about what to buy your other half, the results of the latest survey from the folks at InternetRetailing EXPO, Europe’s leading event for digital and multichannel retail (21st-22rd March 2018, NEC), may be of interest to you.

To help celebrate, it’s pre-released a couple of statistics from its upcoming Future of Shopping survey, which asked 2000 UK consumers a range of questions about their experience of and attitudes towards online v in-store shopping habits. One of the areas studied was artificial intelligence and its potential future role in easing the stress of gift selection.

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The results showed that overall 37% of people found it stressful choosing gifts online for loved ones. More women (43%) found it stressful than men (34%). Overall 31% were baffled by the amount of choice online, 21% put off by the hassle of delivery and 14% by having to buy in advance.

In fact, it appears choosing the right gift is so stressful that 13% of men would use an artificial intelligence–powered gift generator, which analysed the online profile of the person they were buying for, if it were available. Only 8% of women would consider this…

When asked about specific occasions that they would use an AI automatic gift generator 19% would consider using it for Valentine’s gifts!

For further information and to register free for InternetRetailing EXPO and eDelivery EXPO, please visit internetretailingexpo.com. Get involved on Twitter by following @etailexpo and with the hashtags #IRX18 #EDX18.

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We are thrilled to be involved too, and would love to see you on the day. To attend or find out more, all the details are here.