Five Reasons Pop-Up Shops Are an Essential Ecommerce Tool

There are several advantages that ecommerce has over brick-and-mortar retail.

To start with, there is low overhead. Most ecommerce retail shops only have to pay the costs for the ecommerce platform and maybe some inventory and employees, all of which is significantly less than a brick-and-mortar retail store. Also, an online store never needs to close, so you can cater to your customers throughout the day (and night). This even makes it easy to do business internationally, if you wish.  Another benefit is that ecommerce retailers have access to a great deal of data on their customers, which makes is easy to drill down and really discover who their clients are, where they live, and the best ways to serve them.

But, that’s not to say that ecommerce retailers entirely have the upper hand. There are areas where a physical shop is preferable over ecommerce. Interestingly, ecommerce retailers can often solve for these issues with a single solution: a pop-up shop.

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A pop-up shop enables you to bring together your ecommerce platform and a “brick and mortar” concept to create an experience that bridges your online and offline channels. You can connect to your customer in a new, innovative, and cohesive manner.

Pop-up stores are unique and exciting – and their temporary nature is exactly what drives sales because consumers are not given the luxury of hesitation. If they see something they want, they better buy it. It’s not just that the product might not be there when they go back – the entire shop could be gone forever.

Let’s take a look at some of the areas of ecommerce where a pop-up could be a sales booster.

Allow Face-to-Face Interaction with Customers

Chats and instant messages are great, and you can get a lot of your and your store’s character across to your guests – but you cannot engage with them on a personal level.

A pop-up shop lets you take the store to them. You are already knowledgeable about your customers habits and locations – you have all that valuable data – use it to your advantage when you hit the road and go where they are.

You have the ability to select a specific street or open space and then match your products to that area’s exact shopping habits. Not only will you be meeting loyal and new customers alike, you’ll be providing exactly what they are looking for.

It’s also a great way to thank loyal customers in person. Consider offering a giveaway or limited-time promotional gift that you can promote on your ecommerce platform. This will serve as both a “thank you” to repeat visitors and an encouragement for folks to visit your pop-up’s location.

Also, online customers tend to be impatient. If they have a question or concern, they want an answer immediately – or, at the most, within an hour. A pop-up shop allows you to address any customer concerns in person and immediately.  

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Enable the Ability to Try Before They Buy

No matter how many tools and the extensive amount of functionality an ecommerce site offers visitors – those shoppers cannot try out the merchandise then and there. And for many online shoppers this is the exact pain point that’s still driving them to brick and mortar outlets.

You can try to solve this by offering a home try-on program, like Zappos or Warby Parker, but that can be extremely costly for you.

Opening a pop-up shop is the ideal solution to this issue. Your customers can test the fit, feel the weight of your products, and see how they look when using them. Also, any concerns or questions they may have about the merchandise can be addressed straightaway and in person.

This is especially true if the product you are selling is technical or takes some explanation to understand. A pop-up is an excellent platform to use for educating your customer base. Not only can you and your staff walk people step by step through the use of your product, consumers will further gain understanding by using the product themselves.

Avoid Shipping Hassles by Just Handing a Product Directly to Them

Shipping is a necessary part of ecommerce. For some customers, it’s the best part. No muss, no fuss; you find what you want, click buy, and in a couple of days (or sooner) it arrives at your door without you ever needing to leave your couch.

However, you’re likely not Amazon. So, offering low-cost same-day shipping is probably outside of your budget. Which means that “couple of days” is more likely a week, maybe more, and your customers need to be patient for their goods to arrive.

There will always be consumers who view either the process of having an item shipped or the wait for it to arrive as a negative. Opening a pop-up gives you several opportunities to win over this specific type of customer, primarily by giving them the ability to interact with your products, buy them then and there, and judge for themselves if they are worth the shipping delay in the future.

Build Brand Awareness

Competition in ecommerce is intense. Getting people to notice your brand can be challenging amid the noise of the opposition. With so many online retailers competing for attention, getting your brand to stand out may be difficult.

Whatever your goal – building buzz on social media channels, improving your search engine ranking – you can boost interest in your brand through a pop-up. Consumers who may not have had the wherewithal or awareness to find your brand online, can first discover it in person when it suddenly appears in their favorite shopping destination.

There is a trend that has picked up steam over the past few years, consumers are spending less on things and more on experiences, such as going to an exciting dinner or a night out at the theater. Retailers have felt this impact, and many have turned to experiential marketing to entice shoppers to return. A pop-up shop is an ecommerce retailer’s chance for experiential marketing.

Additionally, just the very nature of a pop-up builds buzz. Pop-ups are small, and they are built not to last. The very temporariness of the store is enough to generate excitement, especially when the products or concept is captivating as well. Plus, people feel compelled to buy because the product they are considering will literally be off the shelf very soon. In fact, the shelf will also be gone along with the rest of the store. Most stores have to use discounts to create “buy it now” urgency. That’s not the case with a pop-up.

Have Some Fun Experimenting

Has there ever been a concept you wanted to try out or a product you were interested in selling but you didn’t because you weren’t certain it fit with your brand? Launching a new product or concept can be chancy – and costly.

A pop-up solves this problem. It is a cost-effective method of playing around. Within the confines of a pop-up you can test and tweak a new concept or offer outside-the-box merchandise and discover how your customers react.

Feedback with a pop-up is immediate and direct. You can see what’s working with customers and engage with them on a conversational, intimate level. Compare that with trying to get opinions by encouraging online shoppers to take a survey.

Experimenting in a pop-up store cannot fail for several reasons. If your new concept is a hit – great, you can incorporate it into your ecommerce platform. If you miss – it doesn’t matter, the shop was designed not to last. Also, success is measured in several different ways. You might not make your sales goal, but you likely generated enough valuable data to compensate.

For help brainstorming some creative pop-up ideas or to learn more about Event Architecture and how it makes popping-up a snap, give one of our Event Architecture experts a call at 972-323-9433.

sofia krsmanovic