While online shopping is gaining ground on traditional bricks and mortar retailing, physical pop-up shops are actually experiencing a major boost in numbers.
According to business and communications expert, Mike Irving, it’s all about the human factor when it comes to the success of pop-up shops.
“It seems everyone is racing towards selling online and thinking online sales is the answer,” he explains. “From what I’ve observed though, it’s only part of the answer. Online shops typically are missing one essential factor—human interaction and engagement.”
He says to be successful you need to be involved in both.
A Superdry pop-up in a converted shipping container.
“The solution is a model where we can sell goods online but also engage personally. Some brands have found ways to establish connections via online engagement, which is great for them. Another way of going about it is through a pop-up shop.
“Pop up shops allow retailers to engage with customers at a fraction of the cost of leasing retail premises.
“A great example of this in action right now is the sales of fidget spinners, which is a global phenomenon. These are being sold online and at pop-up shops in shopping malls and at outdoor events.
“Kids watch videos of fidget spinners and then they see them at a stall where they can touch, feel and try—before you know it, parents are buying them and it’s a multi-million dollar global industry,” he adds.
While online might be the way of the future, Irving says that customer engagement isn’t just about being able to feel and touch an item but trust also plays a big part.
“It’s not just that people want to physically see the product, understand how it works and check the quality before buying, either.
“In general, we like to buy from people we know and trust. If you’re able to really brand yourself and find a way to connect with your audience online, that’s great.
“Pop-up shops are just a way to further that connection and allow your customers the chance to meet you and see what you’re all about.
“If you’ve already got a good following, then the novelty of a temporary pop-up shop where there’s a limited window of time to come check out your products will also create more of a sense of urgency with your audience and increase the chances of a great turnout.”
Twenty per cent of retail space in the CBDs of Sydney and Melbourne is now made up of pop-up shops according to Colliers International retail leasing.
“There’s no doubt that retailers are struggling; commercial leasing is expensive which means product prices are higher.
“While online stores can offer items cheaper, they’re missing out on customer interaction. That’s why pop-ups are a great solution to reaffirm your brand and build engagement.”
If you’re an online retailer considering a pop-up shop, remember these tips:
1 Promote it. Especially if you already have a great Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram following, let everyone know where you will be and when. Let them know you want to meet your customers.
2 You want to connect with people as quickly as possible. A great way of achieving that is by asking questions. Instead of showing customers what you have, ask them what they are looking for, what they want, and then pay thoughtful attention to their answers. Take a genuine interest in your target audience and the connections will become effortless.
3 Be authentic. This one may seem obvious, but it’s still worth stating. Your customers are there to meet and engage with you, to find out what you’re really about, so let them.
This story originally appeared on Giftguide.
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