Recently, the rise of e-commerce and mass-pivot to digital channels by traditional retailers has made people think that physical stores may no longer be necessary. However, as digital disruption presses forward, we can see that technology is not replacing – but rather augmenting – retail as we know it.
And a perfect illustration of this is the continued rise of pop-up shops. From avant-garde fashion to simple coffee stores, retailers see the value pop-ups bring as a chance to experiment and innovate.
But just because a pop-up only operates for an extremely limited timeframe, doesn’t mean that the customer journey can be left as an afterthought – in fact it’s more vital than ever.
A great pop-up will engage guests on each step of their customer journey, from the weeks leading up to the grand-opening, through to in-store experience and the all-important follow-up.
Before your pop-up opens, it’s crucial you give customers compelling reasons to get excited about what’s coming and start planning their visit.
One tried-and-true tactic to develop a strong interest in your store is through good old-fashioned guerrilla marketing. Evelyn & Bobbie used a mural to help build a buzz –
painting the outside of the building being used for its pop-up with an eye-catching, branded design to help it stand out against the surrounding businesses.
And modern technology can take this concept a step further. Nike’s ‘Makers of the Game’ Pop-Up Store during the 2018 Basketball All-Star Weekend used a mobile app to tease the Air Jordan “Tinker” exclusive trainers and dropped them at a specified time and location. Upon finding the shoes, customers used the app to complete the purchase, and share their score with legions of other Nike fans.
These are just a couple of examples, from lo-fi to hi-tech, of how you can generate excitement for your pop-up’s opening.
Once your pop-up is filled with a wide variety of engaged visitors – thanks to the innovative marketing campaigns you implemented pre-launch – we’ve found customers demand two types of technology in particular: personalised digital experiences and software/hardware for frictionless purchasing.
Giving customers the ability to describe a challenge they’re experiencing, and using that information to customise a product that will solve the problem before they arrive at the store – creates an unforgettably connected experience.
Purchasing things quickly and fuss-free is also crucial while in the shop, and technology can play a key role in helping your employees in this arena. Many companies have legacy POS or e-commerce engines that don’t work effectively pop-up environments. And a pop-up should be a place for retailers to experiment and play with new ideas.
That’s why we recommend using off-the-shelf solutions like Square or Masterpass to enable fast transactions, rather than trying to shoehorn in a traditional system that’s not fit for purpose.
So, you’ve shut up shop and your pop-up store has been a roaring success – but you haven’t finished the job yet.
Having an established return policy is key. Customers worry that pop-up shops will disappear, and they’ll be stuck with undesired items – this can lead them to avoid purchasing entirely. Giving consumers the option to return products easily and free of charge will give them the confidence that you’re not a fly-by-night operation.
Additionally, inviting customers to share their experiences on social channels means the positive glow of your pop-up can live on – getting people excited for whatever you’re about to do next.
Moving forward, there’s no doubt that pop-ups will continue to form a large part of the retail landscape, from SME’s to global giants alike. By catering for the entirety of your customer’s journey, you can ensure you make a lasting impression and maximise your pop-up’s potential.
Jeremy Duimstra, SVP of Connected Experiences at Valtech