Top 10 tips for e-commerce and your pop-up – Alex O’Byrne, We Make Websites

We Make Websites co-founder Alex O’Byrne is an expert on e-commerce and speaks regularly on the topic of marketing and e-commerce for design-led retailers and organisations such as the London College of Fashion and Startup Weekend.

We Are Pop Up spoke to Alex about his top 10 things to think about across your website and your pop-up, from marketing to building your brand identity and making the most of feedback from your customers.

1. The analogy I like to use is a house party. No one is going to come to your party unless you build up an invite list and ‘market your party’ by creating awareness about it.

If your party does indeed rock and everybody has a great experience, they tell people about it. The same happens when you exceed expectations by offering a brilliant product combined with thoughtful customer service.

2. The most important things is to build an email mailing list by taking every opportunity to add emails to it.

This can start with friends and family, everyone off your LinkedIn, people you meet at events and parties, hell even your neighbours and ex-lovers.

3. In a pop-up environment you can actually talk to your customers and gather their praise, feedback and suggestions.

This will help you figure out what exactly it is that people like about your products which is essential information – this is what you build the brand around.


4. You should use your online channels to make sure your audience knows about your pop-up well in advance and also whilst it’s on.

This is a brilliant opportunity to meet your online following in person and find out who your customers are.

5. Use sales data from your online store to work out what your most popular items are and make sure these are stocked in your pop-up.

Similarly, think about what people tend to buy together so you can recommend this when they are in your pop-up.

6. Your branding should be consistent and uniquely you, everywhere.

Branding should be consistent at every point of the way – whether that’s your email campaigns, your website branding, how people dress in your shop, the merchandising in your shop, your order update notifications, your email addresses, where your shop is, your business card design, your social profiles, the style of your photography, your copy tone of voice etc.


7. In store, have a think about how you can merchandise your items to be more appealing.

How can you be innovative so that products are shown to their full potential? We’re working with Mo:vel who just opened a store in Brighton and were able to do some interesting things with their store design such as making sure that every size of trainer is available from the shelf, without the need for someone to go off into the storeroom and take ages checking and finding the right sizes. Innovative young brands are naturals at this type of fresh thinking, so make the most of it!

Handy hint: We Are Pop Up spoke to Daniel Peters, Creative Director of BBS Clothing, about how to build your brand story in your pop-up.

8. The brand story should be honest, interesting and refreshing.

Some that comes to mind are Hiut Denim, who brought back jean manufacture to a small town in Wales, NastyGal who are now massive but started off with a fresh attitude selling vintage clothes that appealed to young smart women, and Warby Parker, who have made designer glasses more affordable and have a socially conscious vibe built in to their brand.

9. In Google Analytics you can see the location of your customers, it might be interesting to see how many are in your local area.

In Shopify and most other ecommerce platforms you can download your customer list – you could then also segment based on which are local and offer them some sort of treat for dropping in.

10. Email mailing lists are gold.

Use yours when you need to generate interest such as during sale or when you have a new collection. Email re-marketing is getting cheaper and easier to implement every year and has huge conversion rates. We’ve been looking at Emma and Soundest recently, both integrate tightly with Shopify and allow you to send targeted emails to your customers, sometimes automatically.

With companies like We Are Pop Up and Shopify helping startups and growing retailers, there’s never been a better time to start and grow a retail business so let’s get to it!


We Make Websites build beautiful and effective online stores for creative retail companies. You can view recent case studies here. Follow them on Twitter for daily e-commerce advice.

Ready to launch your own pop-up with this advice? Check out hundreds of spaces available for your project on the website here.

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