Article | August 26, 2019

4 Ways To Use Pop-Ups' Popularity To Boost Your Brick & Mortar Strategy

By Kerry Lemos, Retail Pro International

U.S. Retail Benchmarks Show Decline In Store Traffic

Pop-up stores are a popular way to freshen brick and mortar presence as well as to physically connect e-commerce retailers to their customers.

They have been around for a few years, but they have steadily become increasingly popular.

In fact, the recently defunct Toys R Us chain had reportedly exploring popups as a possible comeback before deciding finally to reimagine their in-store experience.

The strategy is a cost-effective way for many types of retailers to experiment in physical retail, from e-commerce giant Alibaba to brick and mortar veteran Macy's.

Here are some reasons why pop-up shops are trending and how to use their popularity to boost your profits.

Collect Data

Pop-up stores that are spawned from brick and mortars tend to be much smaller and more focused than their parents.

New brands or trendy items can easily be curated and then tested in a pop-up shop.

Once inside, shoppers’ movements can be tracked with video cameras, allowing retailers to learn what items piqued shoppers' interests, and what didn't.

Promote Your Cause

Popups are a great way to illustrate the power of cause marketing. Retailers often have "pet" charities, and popups let retailers focus on that cause. Specific merchandise is showcased and a portion of the profits are directed to the charity. Press coverage is often also a welcome by-product of this strategy.

Customers expect their favor stores to align with charitable causes: 86 percent of consumers believe that companies should take a stand for social issues.

64 percent of those who said it’s ‘extremely important’ for a company to take a stand on a social issue said they were ‘very likely’ to purchase a product based on that commitment, according to the 2018 Shelton Group’s ‘Brands & Stands: Social Purpose is the New Black.

Connect With The Neighborhood

E-commerce companies looking to form a local connection have found popups an ideal solution.

Alibaba, for example, opened 60 physical pop-up stores in 52 malls across 12 cities in China for Single's Day last year.

More than 100 brands participated, including L’Oréal, Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Lego.

Test New Technology

Due to their small size, popups are the equivalent of a test market.

New POS software, smart shelves, and virtual reality solutions such as the "magic mirror," which lets shoppers try on items such as sunglasses, cosmetics and apparel virtually.

Pop-up stores provide a bit of spark to brick and mortar retailers that may be unable or unwilling to shake things up inside their existing stores.

Popups' focus on trends or charitable causes is an effective method to encourage brand loyalty as well as bring in new clientele.

About The Author

Kerry Lemos sets the vision for technology leadership at Retail Pro International. Kerry daily applies insight from his deep experience in international business and technology in his work with major retail brands worldwide like Under Armour, L’Oreal, Pepe Jeans, and Puma, as they battle the ever-changing landscape of retail innovation and competition.