As an E-commerce business, you probably prefer online retail because you don't need to pay rent, premises and utilities, you don’t require a shop front and don’t carry all those hefty bricks and mortar inventory costs. But physical stores have something important that you don’t: In person contact with their customers. When you skip out on personally engaging with your customers you have to work harder in lots of other ways. One interesting way to give yourself this worthwhile opportunity is through pop-up shops.

What is a pop-up shop?

A Pop-Up shop, otherwise known as ‘flash retailing’, is a temporary retail space that takes up short-term occupancy in order to market brands and sell products in an innovative way. Introduced in the early 90’s, pop-ups have grown steadily in popularity over the years and generate $80 billion in annual sales.   

What are the benefits of a pop-up store for E-commerce retailers?

While online shopping is incredibly liberating, there are aspects missing from the experience. Like There is no friendly “hello”, and you can’t pick up, sample, touch or try on the product. Pop-ups are ideal for E-commerce stores because they provide temporary experiences with many benefits:

Pop-ups are cost efficient: They require low commitment as you’re not bound to a lease and cost 80% less than setting up a permanent retail store. 

Pop-ups increase visibility: Pop-ups provide instant visibility and will gather new customers instantly. 

Pop-ups help you connect with your customers: Here you can build better relationships with your customers. And you will be able to put a face to a name instead of being all the way on the other end of a screen. 

Pop-ups bring your brand to life: When done well, pop-ups offer an in-person experience through customer-service, shop fittings, merchandising and engagement. 

Pop-ups let you try before you buy: This is a brilliant way to test locations for future bricks and mortar stores and helps you get a feel for new markets before making large investments. 

Marketing opportunities

The best aspect of pop-up retail is that it can be used to raise brand awareness. E-commerce offers so many great opportunities to enable direct-to-customer sales. But this also means that the space is highly competitive and it can be hard to get noticed. When people unexpectedly come across your online store in their immediate surroundings, your brand starts to filter in on a subconscious level, which consolidates familiarity and will bring your brand to mind when the customer requires something that you offer. In this way, pop-up stores can help E-commerce retailers to build brand awareness in the real world and grow their chances of long term engagement. 

Who has done pop-ups well?

A great example of this is The Bell, which was an immersive  pop-up hotel powered by Taco Bell. The brand managed to build up a whole lot of buzz around the pop-up and reservations were sold out in just 2 minutes of going live! This generated huge brand buzz both in person and online and helped them with loads of marketing collateral to be used in the future. 

What are tech-powered pop-ups?

Some brands are also taking pop-ups to the next level with tech-powered pop-ups. Here they leverage off the power of the smartphone. For example, Nike  launched products at concerts taking place in parks and other public spaces. Here customers were invited to scan menus, or take photos to unlock deals. This was an exciting engagement and something their customers really wanted to be a part of.. 

Even Havaianas jumped on tech trend with an AI-powered shoppable mural on Venice Beach in California. Here customers could scan a Havaianas mural on the boardwalk, and were then directed to their online store where they found a pair of slip slops in the colour matching that section of the wall. This was such a clever immersive pop up that communicated a cool factor, encouraged brand engagement and called on new customers, all in one clever pop-up. 

The bottom line

When used cleverly, pop-ups are a great way for E-commerce stores to connect with customers and strengthen their brands. The investment is relatively low when compared with full retail stores and it boasts many worthwhile benefits. So to fund your online store’s pop-up in the next 48 hours, contact Merchant Capital today. 

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