It goes without saying that eCommerce has changed the nature of shopping, as many retailers did away with the brick-and-mortar model (or at least shifted focus) in favor of shopping online. Now it seems there’s been a bit of role reversal, as online retailers return to their shopping roots, albeit in a temporary, 21st century fashion.
Companies from Refinery29 to Warby Parker and even eBay have jumped on the retail and pop-up store bandwagon, realizing the value in taking their customers from the virtual to the actual. While not every online brand is perfectly suited for brick and mortar retail space, those that are have used it to their advantage in many ways.
Pop-up stores can do several things for an online brand. They can generate sales, bring brand recognition, create buzz and give retailers the opportunity to meet their customers face to face. However, the choice to go old-school shouldn’t be arbitrary. Rather, there should be a purpose, a reason behind the real-world retailing.
Are you considering the pop-up retail route? These are some of the ways you can gauge whether a pop up brick and mortar store is right for you:
1) Pre-launching a product: You have a new product that you’re excited about, and you want to know how it will fare once you introduce it on your website. A pop-up store in a major metropolitan area will help you gauge consumer response, provide you with feedback, and allow you to generate buzz, getting people excited and spreading the word, without the commitment of signing a lease at a commercial retail space.
2) You have products aimed at traditionally retail-only consumers: Perhaps a select portion of your online merchandise is geared toward a crowd who doesn’t typically shop online. A pop-up store will bring those consumers in, get them hooked, and then carry them over into your online marketplace.
3) Holiday time: Your products are particularly good for Christmas (or Mother’s Day or Easter or Secretary’s Day…). Open a pop-up store at just the right time, getting your holiday-centric goods out into the public eye.
4) Your products are expensive: If what you sell is more costly than what the typical online shopper usually spends, a brick-and-mortar shop can give them the chance to see it, feel it, and try it, relieving the apprehension of blindly buying a pricey item online.
5) You have a truly unique product: Do you offer something that no other online retailer has? By showcasing your unique product to an in-person, captive audience, you can attract consumers that might not have otherwise found you online. Invite press and PR, prove how special you are. Sure, a bigger undertaking than we’re stating here – but any of you large retailers out there know the value of bringing press to a special event – and this just might be it.