E-commerce is growing rapidly, accounting for 14% of global retail sales in 2019 and expected to reach 22% by 2022. While it may seem intuitive for online businesses to focus their marketing efforts on digital platforms, physical experiences are still a valuable and potent marketing tool.
Pop-up shops, in particular, are a versatile experiential marketing channel that can help an online brand grow a large and sustainable user base. In this article, we will explore four different benefits of this marketing channel to online businesses.
What Makes Pop-Up Shops Unique?
Pop-up stores, as the name suggests, are small-scale retail experiences that are set up quickly and exist for a brief period. They offer three distinct advantages that online marketing channels do not: novelty, intimacy and sensory immersion. The combination of these three advantages with the temporary nature of pop-up shops The value of pop-up shops lies in their ability to drive brand awareness through word-of-mouth marketing and increase sales both on-site and on the online store.
1. Increase Brand Awareness
Pop-up shops are an excellent way for online brands to build offline awareness and establish relationships with new customers. The sudden appearance of a store where one did not exist will draw attention and invoke curiosity from people who may not ordinarily know your brand exists.
A pop-up shop gives online stores a physical brand touchpoint, which changes how the consumer interacts with the brand and their overall retail experience. Tapping an icon to make a purchase may be simple but being able to walk into a brightly lit space, breathe in the various product scents and feel the product before purchasing it activates multiple parts of the brain and results in a more memorable experience.
If the pop-up shop is backed by a proper strategy and has effective branding, it also becomes a shareable experience. Shoppers will want to invite their friends and take pictures at the location, much like a tourist destination. This will exponentially increase organic foot traffic.
Most importantly, pop-up shops have the potential to generate a lot of positive word-of-mouth marketing.
Consumers who have purchased products on-site or simply visited for the experience will talk about your brand, which provides valuable social proof and significantly increases brand awareness.
2. Drive Sales
Your business can experience a significant uptick in sales, both on-site and online because of a pop-up shop. Pop-up shops create a sense of urgency because of a psychological phenomenon known as loss aversion, which describes the idea that people would rather avoid losses than potentially gain something instead.
Internet culture colloquially refers to loss aversion as FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). The desire to belong to the in-group that has visited and purchased goods from the pop-up store amplifies the need to avoid losing the opportunity to do so, creating a form of offline virality. Shoppers visit the store, share their experience with their friends, family and online followers, who then experience FOMO and perpetuate the cycle. The increased foot traffic to the pop-up store will increase the number of conversions.
Some brands may create limited edition products that are exclusively available on-site. Shoppers who generally purchase from the online store may not want to be left out and will visit the pop-up shop to buy the limited-edition product. Their presence in the physical location will then lead to them spontaneously purchasing other products.
3. Discover and Test New Markets
Pop-up stores are cost-effective ways to expand your business’ reach. The short-term leases for temporary stores are significantly cheaper, and the location benefits from having a tenant and increasing foot-traffic. With a physical location, consumers who may not have previously known your brand exists or had no interest may be curious and walk into the store to learn more.
The new customers walking into the store may also be an interesting source of insight. These shoppers may ask questions or offer suggestions that can help you identify gaps in the market that you are not fulfilling or confirm hypotheses you had about the products you wanted to launch.
In addition, pop-up shops create a low-risk environment in which to test market response to new products before a full launch. The intimate nature of interactions in a physical location enables you to gather data about how the consumer reacts to the new product.
4. Create New Revenue Channel
For businesses that are exclusively online, pop-up shops serve the dual purpose of being an experiential marketing channel and also giving the company a physical location for consumers to visit. Short-term leases are often significantly cheaper than regular long-term leases, which makes pop-up shops potentially very lucrative.
Brands can capture the substantial audience segment that prefers not to shop online while avoiding the commitment of a long-term physical location. The store can offer unique experiences and product showcases that would otherwise be impossible online, encouraging consumers to make a spontaneous purchase or making an impression significant enough that the consumer will purchase from the online store at a later date.
Pop-up shops can create lucrative yet cost-effective growth opportunities for online stores’. Brands derive value from pop-up shops as both an experiential marketing channel and a sales channel. They are valuable tools for increasing brand awareness, driving sales, creating new revenue channels and identifying new markets.
If you need to grow your business with a high-impact experiential marketing campaign, please feel free to contact us. We would love to work with you to help your brand stand out as the market leader.