You might be convinced that selling offline is too risky and expensive for your brand. You've heard the horror stories about retail and dealing with customers in person, and the terror might feel worse than the last scary movie you saw. But what if I told you that you were missing out on a major opportunity, one that comes with little to no commitments and minimal costs? But how major exactly? According to Storefront, temporary retail, more popularly known as pop-ups, are expected to generate $80 billion on an annual basis.
Luckily, not only is there an abundance in the type of locations you might try out when getting started, you can also accomplish and check off a number of goals, while still keeping in mind that you're in mighty good company in the process.
But even if you’re stubborn as a horse or just plain hesitant about jumping on the bandwagon, here are 8 (really good) reasons why you should do it anyway.
1. Test a New Revenue Stream
A pop-up store can be a bonafide way to explore adding an additional revenue stream to your existing ecommerce business. The reason being that it doesn’t cost nearly as much as going all in when you get started with temporary retail, and secondly if you happen to be in the right place at the right time, you could rake in significant profits for your business minus the traditional risk retailers incur.
For example, Indochino has been turning up the dial on its travelling tailor tour, allowing men to drop by, get measured, fitted, and styled, while making the final purchase online.
2. Engage Customers Offline
For many online shoppers, not being able to try on a product before purchasing it can be a very real pain point. There’s just something about being able to touch before you buy that makes it so much easier to buy something. In fact, a recent study by Accenture showed that 78% of shoppers are “webrooming” (browsing online, then purchasing in a store).
And if you’ve attempted to solve the dilemma by shipping products to customers before they’ve made a purchase – like Warby Parker's home try-on program – you’ll be quick to find that the cost of opening a pop-up store may be a cheaper way to do just that.
3. Tap Into “Massclusivity” and Create “Get It While It Lasts” Urgency
Here’s a fact for you: 59 million U.S. shoppers used their smartphones to “showroom” in 2013. Showrooming is when a consumer goes into a physical retail environment, window shops, and then goes online to compare prices and find the best purchase possible online.
However, there’s something about scarcity that causes humans to take action. In other words, when you walk into a pop-up store, the thought that items won’t be around for long causes consumers to be more willing to purchase something on the spot. This would work twice as well if what you’re selling in your pop-up store is nowhere else to be found and is an exclusive promotion for whatever time period you’ll be there.
4. Market Merchandise Around a Sale, Season, or Holiday
What if I were to tell you that U.S. shoppers spent 11 percent more this past holiday season than the year before it? In total, those shoppers are looking to spend as much as $646 in gifts according to a study. So why not get in on the action?
As consumers get ready to storm retailers, you could strategically choose select holidays to make the most out any given consumer craze with as little as a pop-up shop. Whether you're thinking of selling party wear on New Years, chocolates on Valentines, costumes on Halloween, kitchenware on Thanksgiving, or electronics on Christmas, it's all up for grabs.
5. Educate New Customers
Maybe you’ve got a crazy new invention that hasn’t made it over into the mass consumer subconscious like a hypothetical vacuum cleaner that also doubles as a mop. Well guess what, even if you’re just looking to drive pre-orders, giving your potential customers a live demo or walking them through how your product works is a great way to get through to those early adopters.
Or maybe you've got a product that makes people scratch their heads, like beard oil for urban beardsmen, or plastic wrap alternatives made out of beeswax, pop-ups are a great way to demonstrate the value of your product and get people hooked right from the get-go.
One of the biggest examples of this is Microsoft, which looked to pop-ups to help customers better understand their new surface tablets.
6. Go to Where Your Customers Are
The other benefit of a pop-up store versus investing in a long-term physical retail space is that you’re free to go where the wind takes you, I mean, where your customers happen to be perusing. The benefit of being able to select a certain side street, kiosk, or vacant gallery space is that you can match your wares with the personality of a given demographic and go to where they go.
Want to learn more about what you need to take your business on the road? Check out this guide
7. Generate Brand Awareness
With so many online retailers competing for attention, sometimes it can be challenging to stand out from the crowd, whether it's getting your site to rank in search engines or generating engagement on social media. But what better way to create a buzz than by soliciting customers who never would have found your brand had it not been for a pop-up store.
One of the best examples of this is the recent pop-up done by Marc Jacobs promoting its Daisy fragrance line, where they accepted "social currency" in exchange for its products. That included tweeting or posting on Instagram with the hashtag #MJDaisyChain.
8. Unload Old Inventory
Lastly, a pop-up store can be a great way to shed old inventory that you've been trying to get rid of. It might not be the most inspiring, but from a business perspective why take a loss when you could potentially have a hit on your hands selling something offline that you had trouble selling online.
So what do you say? Ready to give pop-ups a shot? Let us know in the comments below.
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About The Author
Humayun Khan is a Content Crafter at Shopify. He writes for the Shopify Blog covering social media, retail trends and ecommerce strategy. He is also the author of The Ultimate Guide to Business Plans. Connect with him on Twitter.