Pop-up shops are often thought of as a trendy way for Indie brands to get their name out there on a tight budget, but that isn’t always the case. More and more we are seeing big name brands using pop-up shops to their advantage. While lesser known brands may use pop-ups to sell inventory and increase awareness, bigger brands are using them to provide customers with a unique experience, educate, and possibly change perception of their brand. Household names like eBay, Kate Spade, and Adidas are using pop-up shops to entice millennials with experiential shopping and some companies are using pop-ups to change customer perception of their brand.
- Fruit of the Loom recently did an experiment with a faux pop-up shop to show how much consumer’s perceptions matter. The underwear retailer created a fake brand, “Früt”, and displayed the brand as an upscale lingerie company. Only at the checkout did the company reveal to customers that the underwear they were shopping for was the low-cost, packaged, Fruit of the Loom. The goal was to show consumers that it’s what’s inside the package that matters. Fruit of the Loom was able to show that regardless of the fact that their product comes in packs of five and can be found at discount retailers, the quality and look could be mistaken for an expensive, high quality department store brand.
- Chobani is another example of a brand that used a pop-up to change customer perception. They found that while Europeans consider yogurt an ingredient for any meal, Americans only use it for breakfast. In order to change that perception, Chobani opened a café as well as several pop-up shops, that featured sweet and savoury meal choices using yogurt to show that it can be an ingredient used for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Their website even has recipes presenting new ways to use yogurt in your meal plans. In changing the way Americans think about yogurt and its many uses, they not only change perception but increase sales within its current customer base. For the largest seller of Greek yogurt in the United States, it’s a clever way to increase sales.
- European grocery chain, Lidl, was having trouble convincing customers that although they were a discount retail chain, their products were high quality. Consumers usually believe that you get what you pay for, high quality equals high prices, and their opinions were reinforced by the bare bones customer experience Lidl provided. To change this, the grocery retailer launched a pop-up restaurant, Dill (an anagram of Lidl) , in Stockholm for three weeks. Michelin star Chef Michael Wignall was in charge and ingredients only found from a Lidl store were used. The mantra, “good food doesn’t have to cost more”, manifested and became the theme for the pop-up. The restaurant was a hit and fully booked from day one. Consumers started to speak positively about the restaurant and the company, resulting in a change of perception of the goods Lidl sold.
Because a pop-up shop can be used as an educational format, it is an ideal outlet for changing the way customers think about your company. Pop-ups use the five senses to engage customers and can change their opinion through unique experiences. A study found that 74% of consumers have a better opinion about a brand after an in-person event, such as a pop-up shop. When faced with a perception issue, try using the “show don’t tell” approach with a pop-up.