It’s safe to say the pandemic has forever changed the face of retail, but whilst we’ve seen a significant shift in favour of eCommerce, there’s still a lot to be said for the physical shopping experience. As restrictions gradually lift, pop-up stores give digital brands the opportunity to build on their success by strengthening connections with their target market. 
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We’ve all become accustomed to the convenience of online shopping, but most of us also crave those tangible interactions we’ve been without for the past year. Add to the fact that consumer behaviour is constantly evolving, and online retailers need to adapt their approach to the customer experience - a pop-up store being an ideal solution.

Why Run a Pop-Up Store?

Create a physical connection between brand and consumer

If there’s one thing eCommerce retailers struggle with, it’s how to replicate the in-store experience. Tools like augmented reality help bring products to life, but physical proximity is by far the best way to encourage brand relationships.

A pop-up gives consumers that hands on experience - something much needed in a post pandemic world. And once you’ve established that in person connection, they’ll feel more of an affinity with your online brand. 

1. Try Out the Market & Learn From Your Customers

Regardless of whether you’re a start-up or an established brand exploring new product lines, assessing consumer demand is critical. A pop-up store allows you to do just that - if it’s a success, it’s a good indication there’s an appetite for what you’re offering. 

They do however come at a cost, so you need to make sure you maximise the opportunity. For small brands it can be a large investment, and whilst you’ll likely recoup the costs in footfall sales, for the greatest return you should use your pop-up to generate content, collect reviews, and talk to customers face to face. This will give you a better understanding of who they are, and what they’re looking for from your brand and products. 

As a case in point, take VAAY Care. A brand producing CBD cosmetics, they’ve seen great success from pop-ups, using them to connect with consumers on a personal level and learn how they can better their products. This connection also gave them a near 100% conversion rate on review requests - using our in-store app they were able to ask for feedback on every completed transaction. Unfortunately, they had to close their pop-up during lockdown, subsequently missing out on valuable opportunities.   

Before lockdown the pop up store allowed customers to test and see the products, Customers would leave reviews in-store helping online customers who are unable to see or test the products.

- Kevin, Head of Tech


2. Build Brand Awareness

Pop-ups are a great sales technique since they create a sense of urgency. That ‘fear of missing out’ psychology drives consumers to visit the store, since they know they only have a limited amount of time to do so. What this brings you is increased brand awareness that can be costly and time consuming to achieve through online marketing. 

You can also drive brand awareness through educating the customer. Pop-up stores allow for live demonstrations and talks around your product lines, helping you share key messages that might be tricky to communicate digitally. This approach works well for brands like Vaay who face serious limitations on what they can say about their products online.

3. Explore Expansion Plans

If you’re an online store that’s considering expansion into bricks and mortar, a pop-up is an ideal stepping stone. It gives you an idea of how well your brand works as a physical entity, and by comparing sales figures against online performance, you’ll get deeper insight into consumer behaviour. 

Knowing how people prefer to purchase certain products helps you plan inventory for both the online and offline arms of your business, as well as strategizing your marketing efforts for each accordingly. 

How to Make the Most of Your Pop-Up

  • Know your goals - are you looking to attract new customers, connect with existing ones, or both? Is the purpose of your pop-up to launch a new product line, or drive brand awareness in general? Your objectives will determine many aspects of your pop-up, like location, duration and marketing strategy.
  • Invite your biggest brand advocates - pop-ups are a great opportunity to get influencers involved, especially if they’re already invested in your brand. If you’re a customer, you can use our influencer tool to identify and connect with your most powerful brand advocates and get them involved with your pop-up.
  • Encourage user generated content - as a digital brand, having customers in a physical environment gives you a unique opportunity to build engagement through user generated content. Make your pop-up an experience worthy of sharing and encourage customers to do so through their social platforms. This kind of marketing is far more relatable than anything you could produce as a brand yourself.
  • Implement a review strategy - use your pop-up as an opportunity to drive both product and company review collection. Whether you use an in-store QR code or post purchase emails, prompt customers to leave feedback to help grow your brands online reputation. 

It’d be easy for online retailers to take growth for granted in light of the past 12 months, but in reality, brands need to continually evolve to ensure success in a competitive sector. By using pop-ups to bridge the gap between convenience and tangible experience, digital businesses can drive awareness, gain a loyal customer base and boost their reputation. 

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