Taking Baby Steps With Pop-Up Shops
Pop-up shops across the country are seeing an impressive rise in popularity. The increasing shift toward e-commerce has created an abundance of store vacancies, leading to short-term leasing options for eager boutique, startup and online retailers looking to provide an up-close, interactive experience for potential customers. The result is a low-risk, yet high-impact way to dip a toe into the traditional retail experience without having to commit to a full plunge.
Pop-up shops allow retailers to cover a larger geographic footprint for marketing and client growth with a reduced cost per store. While they afford landlords the opportunity to reduce their center vacancies and limit the amount of unleased square footage, pop-up shops also drive a positive impact in their overall center experience for their end-user clients and tenants, overhead maintenance expense, and reduces the risk for vandalism.
These unique pop-up emporiums, which are literally springing up around the country, are known for offering shoppers the incredible ability to examine and demo almost every item on display — e.g., electronics, toys, appliances, sports equipment, etc. — in various functional and casual interior settings. In fact, in some cases pop-up customers can simply select their purchases through the touch of a button, and leave with nothing but the hassle-free promise of convenient delivery, all thanks to the latest advances in digital software.
However, aside from short-term leasing options, and the potential for minimal inventory, one of the main benefits to this fairly revolutionary retail strategy is the opportunity to quickly get to know the consumer on a very intimate level, and use the resulting data to grow the brand accordingly.
For example, most pop-up shops provide spaces that shoppers can truly immerse themselves in, or get lost in. Yet while visitors to the store are relaxing on couches, playing on ping pong tables, or putting on shoes, the brand is watching over its experimental "retail laboratory" in order to better determine how the average consumer thinks and buys. Through motion detection, product sensors, and direct, verbal feedback, e-commerce brands can gain valuable IoT-based data and, more importantly, a serious edge over the competition (in record time) without ever having to pony up for a true brick-and-mortar store.
With this new pop-up shop trend that's sending online retailers into the physical world, brands now have the chance to better grow their enterprises by meeting the expectations of consumers — who demand the best of both worlds — without overextending or risking too much.
Todd Bernstein is the vice president of business development at CS Hudson, a project and program management firm specializing in turnkey services and purpose-built facility solutions.
Related story: A Retailer’s Guide to Creating a Hit Pop-Up Shop in 2018