5 Questions with Agnes & Lola – Pop Up Shop Interview

 

What is your pop-up history to date? Ex. Where have you been and how long have you been in operation?

This is our first physical pop-up event. Prior to this, we have been exclusively online.

Why pop up?

It is an opportunity to meet our customers in person and also to introduce our unique collection to a new audience. Face-to-face interaction generates a different closeness with the customer that is not always possible online.

Why did you decide to enter the Collective Competition?

Firstly, the area was perfect as we love Camden. I remember going to Camden when I was younger, and getting some vibrant t-shirts and vintage garb. It is one of those areas that encourages individual, off-beat design and has never lost its unique atmosphere, be it the vintage stores or the art print stores. We felt that it would be ideal for our first pop-up store as our styles are unique and fit into the overall vibe of the area.

What can people expect to find in the Collective shop during your spot?

They can expect a variety of fashion options that they will not be able to get elsewhere…for the men, we have print shirts with tapestry dog motifs and the most awesome print swimming trunks. Whilst for the women, we have hand-painted patch bra-tops and skirts which were inspired by the graffiti artist Mr Brainwash and hand-beaded 20’s style Ankara dresses with a leather flared hem, to name a few!

How would you incorporate 300 bananas, 5 tons of golden syrup, and 2 peacocks into a future pop up?

It would have to be used in an outdoor pop-up event inspired by the fashion of Josephine Baker and Carmen Miranda. The bananas will help recreate the famous banana skirt worn by Josephine Baker and some of Carmen Miranda’s hats which can be worn by hosts and gifted to guests. Of course, I’ll need more ingredients to make them but the bananas are a good start. For the syrup, I think it would come in useful for making some experimental cocktails and ice-cream dessert sauces to serve around! As we’re outdoors, the peacocks will be free to do what they do best and roam about, proudly displaying their feathers. Maybe we could have a photo booth so guests can take photos with the peacock…that would be quite tricky to manage though.

Pop Up Shop Interview: 5 Questions with Pop Up Ping Pong

What is your pop-up history to date?

Pop Up Ping Pong has been in operation since the beginning of this year plotting our first pop up. Our launch event had such a great turnout with a classic American frat party vibe, people just turned out in their masses and made the most of what we had – Ping Pong tables, cheap booze, awesome street food burgers by #BRGR (www.hashtagbrgr.com) and shaped the party as much as we did to make it happen. So at one point we had people asking if they could put together some tables so they can set up a Beer Pong match, without knowing too much about the rules or the consequences we rustled up whatever we had in storage and put out a make shift table and watched the ants take over the ant hill! We’ve incorporated Beer Pong ever since as testament to our first customers and you can come to any of our pop ups now and see hulking crowds teeming over our dedicated tables complete with regulation markings. So that’s how the story goes, and we’ve been popping up and at ‘em ever since!

Why pop up?

*Rolls sleeves up* Pop Up is the way of the future. As I heard Daniel Young (www.youngandfoodish.com) pop up entrepreneur once say, and I quote, ‘pop up restaurants are restaurants with no walls’. This applies to any pop up business or art. We are obliged never to settle and always aspire to create a new experience for our customers. This agenda is simply dictated by the economics of having ‘no walls’. As a pop up you’re not burdened with the overheads of rents, gas, electricity, wages, but for the period in which you use your space. You are only committed to use your space as long as you wish and this gives us the freedom to create. It almost forces you to be artistic and ‘things to do’ in London are better for it!

Why did you decide to enter the Collective Competition?

This may sound a little evangelical but we thought with a high street location we could really do something special for that part of Camden High Street. We’ve spoken a little about this at Pop Up Ping Pong and we’ve always loved the idea of Camden. It’s a hotchpotch of what’s trendy and cool and there’s always something a little bit romantic about that. Problem is it’s not always been that accessible for the rest of us! Koko has been a shining beacon on one end of the high street in that respect. They always have something good on that you can see with friends or on a date but somewhere along the middle of the high street the buzz dwindles and we think we can add to it with a bit of sparkle. People often meet for the first time over a game of ping pong at our events and that’s quirky but we like it!

What can people expect to find in the Collective shop during your spot?

The PUPP Shack is a boutique-style ping-pong pop-up parlour featuring one Olympic-sized table combined with a street food diner offering dainty and delicious sliders by mini burger purveyors #BRGR. They use the finest ingredients, with their golden brioche buns sourced from Miller’s of Wimbledon and their grass-fed beef from The Ginger Pig butchers. A drinks bar will also be featured, with the legendary PUPP beer pong table (complete with regulation size and cup markings) making a stalwart appearance alongside it. Throughout the course of the four-day pop-up, expect events ranging from sporting competitions with prizes to ping-pong masterclasses and more.

How would you incorporate 300 bananas, 5 tons of golden syrup and 2 peacocks into a future pop up?

It would be a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory/Great Gatsby themed extravaganza no doubt!

Pop Up Shop Stories: Pop Up Ping Pong

Pop Up Shop Story #1 – Pop Up Ping Pong – Humble beginnings…

Nesma and Amin love ping pong.  They started sharing that passion with their local neighbourhood in London.  Other enthusiasts responded, and there’s now a series of Pop Up Ping Pong parties – complete with their own soundtrack.  They collaborate with London favourites #BRGR for epic burger pong nights…

 (This is being written to epic background music: Bloc Party – The Pioneers (M83 Remix))

Once upon a time, Nesma and Amin were super-competitive about Ping Pong.

Bats were thrown, tears were shed, but the love for the game grew stronger. As with any passion you want to share it and so we set about doing just that. Without any resources being obviously available to us we began to beg, borrow, wheel and deal!

And thus, we became Pop Up Ping Pong.

Pop Up Ping Pong Paddles

What we didn’t realise was that our humble beginnings were also our greatest strengths. Our local neighbourhood rallied around to lend us their unloved tables, a local landlord of a certain disused venue got in touch, and even our online followers contributed to our Collaborative Playlist on Spotify. We had ourselves a party!

Our passion has since turned into a business and our bricks and mortar competitors don’t let us forget it! They can take our Red Solo Cups, Beer Pong and Unlimited playtime – but they can never take away our freedom!

We are a party with no walls – no rents or wages. We are free to be original and create.

So we only have one thing to say to everyone: “POP UP!”

An Epic Burger Ping Pong Paddle

Pop Up Ping Pong is looking for a pop-up space in London.  [ Full details ]

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We Are Pop Up’s pop up shop stories tells stories from the community about popups, supperclubs, exibitions, and events.  Share yours…

Pop up shop interview: 5 Questions with Atomica Gallery

Atomica Gallery is the first of four pop-up experiences coming to Camden High Street for the month of June. Winners of the Camden Collective Pop Up Shop competition, Atomica Gallery owners Holly Lander and Orla Bennett have shared their ideas about Pop-ups, Camden High Street and life as a pop-up with us!

What is your pop-up history to date? Ex. Where have you been and how long have you been in operation?

From the get-go Atomica was always planning to be a permanent gallery and shop, but as the idea started to take shape it made sense to do some sort of test trading to see if people would like the concept and the artists we planned on showing, so we launched Atomica as a three week pop-up in December 2012. The pop-up was alot of fun and gave us the confidence and collateral to open up our new permanent space which is located Hackney. Atomica pop-ups are still on the horizon though – we are very excited about our week in Camden at The Camden Collective and we would like to do more around London this year and possibly in other parts of the UK. Maybe even one in America in the next few years!

Why pop up?

Its a great way to expose what you are doing and get a feel for different audiences.

Why did you decide to enter the Collective Competition?

We love Camden, we grew up going to gigs and and spent alot of our teenage years hanging out there. When we heard about the competition we jumped at the opportunity to do our second Atomica pop-up there. It is great opportunity to be part of one of our favorite parts of town and having the chance at a rent free space for a week on a busy high street is something we didn’t want to miss.

What can people expect to find in the Collective shop during your spot?

People can expect to see under-exposed contemporary artists, illustrators and lowbrow weirdness from around the world. We specialise in beautifully framed affordable art, as well as books, magazines and collectable, artist made objects.

How would you incorporate 300 bananas, 5 tons of golden syrup, and 2 peacocks into a future pop up?

We would ask an artist to do a massive artwork on the floor with all the items, make a time lapse and show the video in the pop up “Art Attack” style.


And here’s a bit more information directly from Atomica Gallery about their launch.

The facebook event is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/378051902300970/?fref=t

Music: DJ Paskal from Rough & Tough crew will be spinning classic ska and reggae vinyl

Drinks: Sailor Jerry are sponsoring the event and will be providing rum cocktails

Atomica’s launch will also feature the debut of Honest Brew’s “We Are Pop Up x Camden Collective” brew!

Atomica Gallery @ Camden Collective

Follow Atomica Gallery on Twitter

Follow Camden Collective on Twitter

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Pop Up Shop Interview: Teastained Lil’s Alexandra Heywood on Pop-Up Life

As part of our on-going Hot Pop Ups series, we’ve decided to expand the lens and provide our community with insights into the thinking, development and foundations that underpin exciting shop concepts.

This week we interviewed Alexandra Heywood, owner and operator of teastained Lil. Alexandra was a short-lister for the most recent Boxpark competition, winning a runner-up prize of a free week-long pop up in Shoreditch. She has recently set up her own pop-up shop with a couple friends in Camden. We got in touch to hear more about how teastained Lil came about, and what Alexandra has planned for the future of her brand!

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We Are Pop Up (WAPU): Describe your current pop up in 3 words.

Alexandra Heywood (AH): Stylish fashion boutique.

WAPU: What is the concept or aim behind it?

AH: Committed to selling style with style – teastained Lil prides itself on selling unique, stylish and chic day-to-evening wear and jewellery, with value-added style advice, inspiration and events.

We are of the firm belief that people need the right environment within which to shop and that they deserve to feel special and inspired. teastained Lil is putting shopping back in fashion.

WAPU: Has this changed as you build up your pop up experience?

Lil: Our pop-up shop experience and unique shopping events have only strengthened our belief – and company manifesto – that shopping should be personal, experiential and it should go beyond the till transaction. teastained Lil is intent on making every ‘pop-up’ opportunity different and inspired so the ‘pop-up’ model works perfectly for us, allowing us to be versatile and adds an air of exclusivity and mystique.

On setting up the business, we were told continually how important our online presence should be and that’s how people prefer to shop so we’re buoyed by the fact that this is not always the case and people do want to get out there and experience different things.

WAPU: What can visitors expect when coming to your pop up?

AH: Every pop-up event we run is themed so that customers experience something different. Our last pop-up event was called, teastained Lil’s Frockology, and customers were invited to a shopping event based on our Law of Frockology. It offered style advice, inspired looks, and customers could experience style advisory services such as ‘Frockin Hell’ alongside to bespoke cocktails, cupcakes and live music.

Our more long-term pop-up boutiques are always appropriately styled and offer customers a first look at our new fashion and jewellery ranges. We run various promotions in store and try to make the shopping experience as comfortable and fun as possible.

Currently, residing in Camden Lock Market, we’ve teamed our vintage-inspired clothes with pop-up pals Ma Maison and The Style Standard to create a one-off boutique.

WAPU: How did you get into this pop up venture?

AH: Pop-up opportunities, in every sense of the word, do, and quite quickly, ‘pop up’ and you have to be hot on the heels of the people offering the opportunities and supporting the brands as they are the gatekeepers. We worked hard to identify the best organisations to work with and do our best to be tapped into the network and put ourselves out there as much as possible.  Pop-ups are a great means of getting your business known – so to identify those opportunities you have to do exactly that yourself – pop up and get noticed!

Our pop-up CV is a steadily growing document and we’re very proud of who we’re affiliated with and what we’ve done.  We shout about it at every opportunity!

WAPU: How does the pop up idea work for your company? (E.g. does it enable you to trial new products, new spaces before committing.)

AH: The pop-up model is perfect for teastained Lil as we’re able to penetrate new areas and expand our customer reach without committing to one location.  It also gives us the opportunity to lift the cyber veil and speak to our customers, hear their wardrobe woes, listen to their views and learn what makes them tick.

WAPU: How has We Are Pop Up helped you find space for your pop up?

AH: We were very lucky to have been selected as a finalist in the We Are Pop Up Boxpark competition and have since received generous words of wisdom, support and access to a great online tool to profile our pop-up credentials.

WAPU: What has been the biggest challenge in creating your pop up, and making it a success?

AH: As a pop-up, you have to work hard to gain customer’s trust and very quickly establish a customer base – pop-ups, by their very nature, can be perceived as short-lived and don’t carry the same brand recognition as high street beasts.  As you’re only given the space for a short term, it’s important to work as hard as possible on a fast set-up and a creative and effective use of space – often there’s no time or acceptance of significant shop design or fitting, so it’s good to have a plethora of ideas on how to put together a great looking shop in a short space of time.

WAPU: What has been a personal highlight when putting together your pop up?

AH: teastained Lil is at its best when it’s seen, heard and experienced. Nothing gives greater pleasure than meeting customers, solving style woes and presenting them with a personal, fun and inspired shopping experience; the antithesis of generic, high street shopping.

WAPU: Last question – what advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting a pop up project?

AH: To get a pop-up, you need to ‘pop up’ as much as possible – talk to people, put yourself out there, get as networked as possible and be sure to scream about every pop-up feat – big or small.  The more experience you gain and support you garner, the more attractive you will be to landlords.

Keep it fresh and fun.  Pop-ups have the power to change the way we shop and should, therefore, be providing inspired and interesting alternatives to the failing high street.

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Go visit teastained Lil in Camden!

Many thanks to Alexandra Heywood for answering our questions, and to Lucy Neech for curating the interview

4 Trends That Are Going To Shape Retail Real Estate In 2013 And Beyond

What is the future for retail real estate in 2013 and beyond? MAPIC Vision #9 look at four trends from 2012 that have the potential to strengthen bricks and mortar shopping, but only if retailers and shopping centres are prepared to look at their business model.

Just when you were beginning to think that online retailing would take over the world here we discuss a range of new digital initiatives that keep retail estate fresh and up-to-date:

– How customer service has reached new levels of sophistication

– How pop-up retail has developed from old fashioned market stalls to truly surprising and profitable elements of the retail spectrum

– How mixed use can take on a new meaning with the addition of culture to our shopping habits

– How bricks and mortar retailers are bringing the digital revolution into their stores; innovating and developing ways of enhancing the retail experience to offer more than online or traditional retail alone

Peter Clucastalks popups with WAPU’s own Dr Alastair Moore with other great insight and contributions from APSYS, EKKi, CLEAR CHANNEL – and our  favorite pop up specialists Pop-It-Up.eu

The full article can be found here.

Why Your Mobile & Retail Strategy Should Emulate Samsung’s

Samsung is a master at consumers choice. Samsung offers a mobile phone to suit every customer’s requirements, at all price points, on a variety of different operating systems, while its rivals offer a restricted or – in the case of Apple – no choice.

Analyzing the products available from the top five handset and smartphone manufacturers tells a very interesting story. In the US alone, Samsung offers 153 different cell phones! Samsung also knocked Apple off its perch to become the best-loved smartphone vendor in the US-based Brand Keys 2013 Customer Loyalty Index.

Will we see this sort of thing soon in the m-payments/pos/retail space? What if you could plug any merchant account or and banking facility into a set of tools to help you run your business rather than sitting in one particular silo? What about customer service – click & collect, browse online, buy offline, vise vera.. As in mobile, retailers that offer their customers a widest variety of options possible, for them to pick which ever is most convenient, will provide the best retail experience.

If you like stats, you’ll love: The big compendium of global mobile stats. Read more here.

Pop Up Shop Story : Atomica Gallery looks forward

In a previous post, we shared the story of Finchittida Finch’sdf pop-up: a shop developed from scratch by a previously online-only business. This week we’re happy to introduce Atomica Gallery (@atomicagallery), one of the few truly pop-up art galleries which ran from December 4th – 24th this past holiday season. They’ve recently secured a long-term space in Hackney and we were eager to know what the journey has been like to go from pop-up to full shop.

We met up with Atomica Gallery founders Orla and Holly over coffee and brownies to hear more about what it is like to be a start-up gallery, and how the pop-up model has helped facilitate their goals and opened new doors. Holly is an experienced gallerist, working in both Sydney and Los Angeles with a number of the artists they currently show. And Orla’s background in promotion and events ensures that their openings generate a healthy buzz. Their penchant for the strange, retro, punk and pop combined in curious and lovely ways at their December pop-up. The relentless attention to detail both within the works themselves as well as their weird and simple curation proved that big explosions can be contained in small packages.

Orla and Holly came to their selected artists in an unconventional way, “Some of the artists we show have been close to us for a very long time. But we also love showcasing previously un-seen artists or those that may never have been shown in London before.” It was clear that a real challenge of curating a show with so many great artists to choose from – especially in a concise space – is the selection. For their pop-up, Holly and Orla printed out copies of all of their favorite artists’ work (hundreds!) and went through the process of whittling down to just a select few. But they are constantly on the hunt for yet-to-be-discovered artists in the UK and beyond, “We have a huge list of artists that we want to work with. We stumble across a lot of amazing artists through blogs and circumstance. So it’s not like we only want to work with established names, and we are always open to chance.”

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The Inside of Atomica Gallery’s Pop-up in Shoreditch

An Advisor at Hackney Business Enterprise encouraged Atomica to do pop-ups as a way to ‘test-trade.’ By launching a new project this way, fresh businesses are able to develop a strong sense of themselves and learn through experience without the risks and investment required for longer-term rentals. But sourcing a great space, for the short or long-term, is always a challenge.

Holly explained the difficulties they had locating and accessing the right spot for their pop-up, “When we were looking for our December pop-up space, it was really stressful. We thought of many potential places around East London initially, but as it was our first big showcase we wanted an area with high traffic, and that was already warm to the idea of a pop-up. Getting exposure and building a following was one of the most important things we hoped to achieve with our pop-up. Shoreditch seemed like an ideal part of town to get the kinds of visibility and interest we needed.” And so they set about with an unconventional campaign: dropping 1-page offers reading “We Would Like To Rent Your Shop,” into the mail slots of every suitable shop.

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Atomica’s Elegant Solution To Driving Footfall

Orla explained, “We got quite a few calls back, but a lot of people didn’t even know what a pop-up was, or else they expected that we would want the space over many months, and expected us to provide full fit-outs. A few weeks with minimal developments to the space was a hard sell. But we found a great place eventually.” While their pop-up was a success in terms of sales and exposure, their extensive list of artists and a growing catalogue of work meant that a longer-term space was in order.

Their new shop is part of a series of newly converted shop-spaces managed by Hackney Downs Studios. These new locations are playing host to a series of new businesses, from bikes to a bakery and all within 5 minutes from Kingsland Road – one of the busiest streets in the area. Their full-time shop will launch soon (stay tuned on the Atomica Gallery website), but future pop-ups are still a part of Orla and Holly’s future plans, “Because we’re off the beaten track in Hackney, it will give us a great opportunity to connect with a local audience. But we also want to make sure Atomica Gallery can travel to other parts of London and beyond. Some in West and South London, and we’re also thinking about Brighton. We haven’t confirmed anything yet, but doing a kind of tour would be great – a few days or weekends in new locations. We really want to make sure we have a chance to showcase our artists in places that wouldn’t see their work otherwise.”

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Atomica Gallery’s Founders: Orla and Holly

We asked where Atomica Gallery saw itself a few years down the line. Holly shared, “we have done this all on our own. We’re slightly in debt but it’s working. Our new shop is quite a small one. Our dream is to have two, so that we could have simultaneous projects on. The initial plan was to have ‘art for sale’ in one location seven days a week, and then a second with rotating exhibitions. We’re learning as we go. Every week is a learning experience. Anything can happen, really.”

We’re eager for their new shop to launch, and we’ll see you at the opening!

Follow Atomica Gallery on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
And sign up to their Newsletter for updates on their next event!

Welcome To The Future Of Retail – Part 3

In previous posts we have highlighted some of the recent changes to bricks-and-mortar landscape: increasing vacancy rates, reduced consumer spending and lower footfall.These trends are contributing to the rise of short-term “pop-up” retail both in the UK and internationally. However, We Are Pop Up also think this is the beginning of a structural change in the way we use space, rather than just an economic cycle which will fade in time.

Some of the social and technological forces that are changing consumer activity will have profound consequences for both shop space and brands, and offer a great opportunity for those that can capture the imagination of a new audience. For facts and figures about the Rise Of The Mobile Audience, see our overview here.

MAKING YOUR STORE YOUR STAGE


There are an increasing number of retailers seeking to enhance engagement, from Levi’s Craft Of Music campaign, to Westfield’s Future Fashion events, exciting fashion start-ups like TheEdit @wearetheco and the Vogue-sponsored Fashion Night Out across London’s West End. Even pure-play online retailers like Capital One or eBay are increasingly experimenting with physical spaces and pop-ups to build engagement.

It may seem obvious, but physical engagement with a brand or community or product is the core advantage that a ‘shop’ – or increasingly ‘pop-up’ – enjoys over an online experience.  Mobile computing is an agent in this physical to digital (or vise versa) journey.

The number of ways in which we can participate in a shopping experience is multiplying. We can share our experiences with our social media audience and are provided with digitally enhanced forms of service in-store. Just see how John Lewis bridges this gap with digital kiosks and incentives that cross platforms. For a new generation of retail, these steps are the key to engagement and profitable loyalty.

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Hot Tub Cinema – a traveling theater and hot tub experience in London.

How To Engage In The Digital Age

It is estimated that the Vogue Fashion Night Out, for instance, increased footfall across Bond Street by a remarkable 92% – and a recent conversation with Caireen Wackett at Yellow Door reminded me what Mary Portas said back in September 2011:

“The only way for bricks and mortar retailers to compete with online is brilliant real life shopping experiences. Retail is no longer about number of units on the shop floor – it’s about offering a playground for your customers. Throwing big exciting events is one way to draw a crowd – but I believe the High Street should invest in better experiences for their customers every day.”

Big exciting events – the “theatre” of the retail world – don’t scale particularly well on the marketing and PR budget line. But mobile is a channel that can deliver personalized and exciting engagement everyday (remembering the late Steve Jobs’ caveat to “start with the experience, then work back to the technology”). A solution that can combine someone’s recent search history and preferences, the time of day, a particular location or even the last thing they bought, opens up the potential for far more nuanced and meaningful business-to-consumer journeys.

This more nuanced engagement delivers a more ‘authentic’ experience that all parts of the retail spectrum are currently seeking; from a start-up’s first steps into retail – like those working with Pop Up Britain – or an online retailer taking seasonal space, and even fully fledged independents and brands. A new generation of retailers is thinking not only about what they can provide to augment our lives, but also what kind of self-contained experience might captivate us most meaningfully. This indicates an exciting move away from old advertising models that told us what we wanted, and instead is built around what we actually do and care about.

Deloit predicts that over the long-term we will see a significant downsizing of store portfolios:
“This will vary markedly depending on the retailer’s category but reductions by as much as 30-40% are foreseeable over the next 3-5 years.” However some retailers, notably Apple and Nike, have led the way by showing that brand only stores can deliver great customer experience and provide a physical corner-stone to their consumer engagement. As vacant retail space grows more and more flexible, it is only a matter of time before the capacity and liquidity problems in the market are resolved. We can imagine a platform where all retailers have the opportunity to create active digital communities around the physical in-store experience, however short-term or permanent their presence.

This is where We Are Pop Up can play a vital role – enabling great physical experiences, reducing transaction costs and making the process of having a shop as easy as paying for a product online using PayPal.

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Kellogg’s Ran A ‘Pay With A Tweet’ Campaign at a Soho, London shop in 2013

The CBRE (the world’s largest commercial real estate firm) observed that in the 1970’s, a retailer needed approximately 200 stores to access 50% of the UK’s population. Today it only needs 90 – sometimes less (assuming, of course, they are optimally located). Let us stretch the theatre analogy further to that of a traveling troupe – how many stores are required globally, over what locations and which time periods, to make sure a significant percentage of the world’s population enjoys your show?

I was recently asked to attended a meeting of the Small Business Statistics group at No. 10, hosted and chaired by Lord Young. The group was discussing the fragmentation of parts of the economy as an increasing amount of trade is transacted by e-commerce platforms like Ebay – and what challenges that this poses for measuring activity and productivity – in the first recession in living memory where unemployment has gone down! The conversations in the room were enthusiastic, and focused on new ways to transact and how to make the most of current market shifts.

Capturing mobile audiences represents an unparalleled opportunity for brick-and-mortar retailers. From start-ups to independents to brands – those that embrace mobile platforms in an intelligent and timely manner have the chance to create and sustain real competitive advantage.

Perhaps with the rise of the mobile audience are we about to see the rise of mobile retail itself.


Further Reading

The Changing Face of Retail – Deloit

M-shopping: Final nail or final hope for the High Street? – Sponge

Other parts of our Future Of Retail installments


This post kicks off a weekly series where each of We Are Pop Up’s team members will take a turn applying their expertise to the concept of pop-up. This week features Alastair Moore – COO and Co-Founder of We Are Pop Up. You can ask him questions on Twitter @latticecut.

The Rise Of The Mobile Audience

Eric Schmidt of Google said, “If your company doesn’t have a mobile strategy, it doesn’t have a strategy.” This is a prescient observation but one that really rang true this year as London played host to the 2012 Olympic Games. Among the 430 million visits to Lonond2012.com, the 4.7 billion page views and 4.7 million social follows, the number that stands out is that 60% of this occurred from mobile devices. To visualise the growth rate of smart phone adoption and use, here’s a chart:

The Rise Of The Mobile Audience

Figure 1. Smartphone penetration per capita by country. Source: VisionMobile


If charts aren’t you’re thing, here’s a summary: The US and UK have the most engaged smart phone users, which comprise between 30% – 40% of people in either given country. In real numbers, over 150 million people in America and 24 million in the UK download roughly 20 apps-per-phone today. Some reports indicate that over half of UK residents now have smart-phones, which would make that 24 million closer to 35 million. The challenges of data accuracy aside, the point is that this rise in the mobile audience undoubtedly influences our retail spending behaviour. Online sales now represent around 12% of the UK’s annual retail spend. Research by Barclays Corporate in 2011 predicts that mobile will come to represent around 5% of retail spending in the UK by 2020. Between now and 2016, they predict compound annual growth of 55% for mobile-based commerce (mCommerce) vs 8% for eCommerce (shorthand for online sales) and just 1.6% for in-store sales. But the attention of new mobile audiences is still notoriously difficult to capture.

Around 80% of branded apps get less than 1,000 downloads – and its very far from the simple case of replacing the online desktop experience. To quote Matt Biddulph @mattb, co-founder of Doppler, “mobile gives everyone superpowers!” Its always with us, and there are signals, and more signals, AND MORE SIGNALS telling us about what’s happening in the world. We can see what’s around the corner in the same feed next to what’s happening in Mumbai. And with a couple clicks we can see both points on a map, and chart a journey via bus. Mobile allows us to see, find, explore, share and transact in ways that we simply couldn’t previously: faster, with better curation and with limitless connections to like-content.

More on this later, but anecdotally, this week heralded my first time paying at an US coffee shop where the only pos system was an iPad using Square! Mobile has arrived.

LIVING IN THE AGE OF ENGAGEMENT

In 2000, £50 out of every £100 we spent went to High Street retailers. Today, it’s just £42.50. But mobile isn’t about replacing a pound for a pound, and it is one of the “channels” by which customers and retailers engage. Deloitte estimate that for every £1 of purchases made via mobile, the channel will directly influence £23 of spend. The challenge is finding the best ways to influence a mobile audience.

I was inspired by a recent talk by Alex Meisl, co-founder of Sponge at the Mobile Academy about living in the “age of engagement”. I found the following statistics particularly engaging:

– 81% of smart-phone users search for local data

– 34% of US smart phone users have cancelled planned purchase in stores due to information they got from their mobile phone;

– 25% claim to intentionally carry a smart phone when shopping to compare prices and find information (an activity commonly referred to as “showrooming”);

– 46% say research conducted on their phone led them to make a specific purchase at specific store.

Where previously a retailer would have had us captive once we crossed the threshold of a shop, now they are in constant competition for our attention –  locally, nationally and globally – an observation that Simon Forster of Debenhams described in June 2012 as “effectively heralding the end of online versus in-store shopping”. It is not about which of those you are, but how soon you will be both – something that the UK’s 150k online-only retailers should take note of.

So what do people currently do on mobiles? Here is another chart. This one shows a recent breakdown of behaviours from Google:


Figure 2. User journeys from discovery to purchase. Source: thinkwithgoogle.com

Understanding this complicated journey of conversion is not only the key to understanding mobile – and channel conversion – its key to understanding the changing role of bricks-and-mortar.

Notice that 4 out of 6 journeys involve the physical store in relation to mobile. The temporal aspects of this engagement are also important, but not captured by the figure. For example, there is the immediacy of mobile, as Ashley Highfield @ashleyhi observers: “On average, the time difference between first search and purchase is one month on the web and one hour on mobile”.

However the main point is that the biggest opportunity lies in leveraging mobile AND the physical store AND online to shape the overall shopper journey.

The potential of journey and engagement was highlight at a presentation from Hellicar & Lewis  that I attended recently at WhiteLable’s Future Gallery. They gave some wonderful examples of how people are willing to interact with different digital installations to enhance the emotional and social aspects of engagement. And it is the role of social advocacy and endorsement that is critical to the journey of conversion.

Unsurprisingly, Amazon research shows that 83% of us won’t buy having been exposed to critical comments. But much more interestingly, their research also found that 75% of us are unlikely to buy if there are no reviews.

Only one journey in the figure above ends in an in-store sale – but bricks-and-mortar plays a critical role in creating a platform for engagement to support discovery.

This is part of an ongoing series on The Future Of Retail. You can read the continuation of this supporting data here.