Is a pop-up shop right for your brand?

Is a pop-up shop right for your brand?

Is it just me or have pop-up shops enjoyed a renaissance in recent months? It seems barely a week goes by without some brand launching a pop-up store to engage consumers.

With so many stores launching left, right and centre you’d be forgiven for thinking they’re all successful. But not all pop-up stores are created equal.

While some pop-up shops capture the imagination of the public on scale and fast become a permanent fixture, others enjoy a spike of interest before they disappear, never to be seen again.

If you’re considering a pop-up store as part of your marketing strategy, you need to think about how you can make your pop-up stand-out from the crowd before you jump in.

Pop-up stores done right are a valuable asset brands can use to market themselves to new audiences. In many cases this means a store that’s visually striking, something that stops the public and encourages them to snap and share the store via their mobile device.

When Adidas opened a pop-up store in London a few years back it created a giant shoebox to house a retail space. The store was huge – and highly shareable.

It was also memorable, which is important given how many pop-up stores get launched these days. Even if you’re simply taking over an existing retail space, consider what you can do to make the space different to stand out and get people talking.

Earned media is a great way to drive people to visit a pop-up shop but if you want your pop- up featured in media you need a story to share. That story doesn’t need to be overly complicated but you do need a ‘hook’. Often this means having a reason behind why you’ve launched your shop.

Australian confectioner Allen’s did this with the recent launch of its first physical lolly store in Sydney. The store was launched to mark the company’s 125th year and was used to sell childhood favourites such as Spearmint Leaves and Green Frogs.

The store and the stories written about its opening are all about nostalgia, with Allen’s claiming it launched the store in response to customer demand for retro favourites to be brought back to the shelves.

What unique experience will you offer?

A shop that simply sells product customers can buy at another destination isn’t going to cut it. If you want people to visit your store you’ve got to offer something they can’t get elsewhere. This strategy can simply be giving customers the ability to customise your brand.

KitKat did this well with its studio pop-ups. The studios gave consumers the chance to customise their chocolate bar and take something home that’s genuinely unique. What KitKat did was open up its brand for tinkering and found a way to engage directly in what is a highly competitive sector.

The strategy clearly paid off given KitKat has recently launched its first permanent standalone store in Melbourne.

What’s surprising about your shop?

Pop-up shop land is competitive so if you want to create ‘talkability’ you’ve got to do something consumers wouldn’t expect. In some cases the element of surprise doesn’t just mean what a store looks like, or the experience the consumer will have once inside – it can also include location.

Subaru proved how successful this can be with its pop-up car dealerships in shopping centres in Melbourne. Here, the surprise is finding a car dealership in a busy metropolitan area compared to a far flung out of town destination.

It makes sense when you think about it – why wouldn’t a consumer consider buying a car when they’re out and about buying other items? It worked for Subaru, with the car manufacturer selling more than 500 cars in just a few months.

Whatever your view on pop-up stores as a tool for engagement, there’s clearly a business case to setting up-shop.

The challenge lies in creating a shop that’s more than a marketing gimmick. If you genuinely want to get people talking and engaging, you’ve got to think visual, create a story, offer an experience and be different.

Do that well and you may find yourself with a new revenue stream, not just a new marketing campaign.

Stu Wragg 

This article originally appeared in Mumbrella

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