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Pop-up retail drives engagement and sales

Key takeaways:

  • Pop-up retail is far from trendy. It is a key consumer engagement strategy that can have multi-faceted benefits for a brands.
  • During a brand activation or in a brick and mortar environment, merging digital and physical engagement allows for the best user experience.
  • While Millennials love travel, experiences, and authenticity, for many in this group, finances are a major driver in what they buy. Those brands that offer unique financial options and solutions will benefit.


Leveraging the physical and digital to improve UX

Even though 79% of Americans shop online in some capacity, many online brands are investing in physical space to enhance and further the user experience (UX). Whether it’s OverstockAmazon, or Walmart, retailers of all types are looking to increase and cement their status with consumers by creating physical experiences that let people interact with the brand. For companies that are more accustomed to managing a digital UX, crafting an effective physical presence can be a challenge. It is for this reason that brand activation agencies are so critical in crafting the experience. 

Recently Nike excelled in merging the physical and digital when the brand opened a concept store that incorporated human connection with mobile convenience. Here, consumers had choices; they could try out kicks on the treadmill or in consult with an athlete, or, if they already knew what they wanted, they could skip the store, order products on their phones, and pickup curbside. “By harnessing the power of digital, we’re able to make customers’ shopping experiences easier and better,” Nike explained.


A pop-up retail strategy helps brands stay relevant.

Pop-up retail helps brands grow & create a sense of urgency

Pop-up shops are “popping up” everywhere, but they are not just a cool trend to gain a few likes on Instagram. Pop-up shops have real value for retailers. This can be for digital brands looking to make an impact in new markets, or retail brands looking to combat seasonality. Pop-up shops offer low-overhead ways to engage offline and give consumers a chance to experience a brand in ways that will resonate. They also create the kind of urgency that leads to word-of-mouth advertising, increased sales, and brand awareness.

From beauty brands to candy companies, pop-up retail is creating opportunities. This article in AdWeek explores some of the most interactive and Instragram-able pop-ups out there, and details what brands can learn from them. As a Museum of Ice Cream co-founder notes, “You are seeing a lot of smart online brands that started with temporary locations.”


The beauty industry is seeing hyper-growth with innovative marketing

The cosmetic industry is booming. This surge in growth is in part due to millennials’ obsession with beauty products. According to a rep from Estee Lauder, part of makeup’s appeal is that “it looks great in a selfie.” Retailers such as Ulta are growing rapidly; so much so that they’re opening 100 stores a year. And these massive annual sales, which have reached $6 billion, don’t even account for purchases from online stores like Amazon. With young consumers spending hours watching beauty tutorials on YouTube and taking tips from influencers across social media, the world of marketing beauty has taken on a life of its own. And it’s doing exceptionally well.

Among the digital trends and celebrities releasing makeup lines are the pop-up retail stores that have been the rage in large cities such as LA and New York. Recently, Amorepacific, a leading brand in South Korea, launched its first global pop-up shop in NYC. The shop featured fragrance, skincare and other beauty products and allowed consumers to experience the brand for the first time, all in one place. Pop-up shops give beauty seekers the ability to experience a brand, which, for pop-ups and other experiential tactics alike, translates new interest into real sales.


Pop-up retail for Millennials

Appealing to millennials begins with understanding their wallet

By 2025, it’s projected that Millennials will earn half of all income in the U.S., making them a group that most brands have on their target list. The sheer size of this demographic gets marketers’ attention, but brands need to understand millennial behavior and viewpoints to market to them effectively. Consider that more than 90% are Internet users, their attention spans are shorter than previous generations, and engagement and authenticity is a high value for them.

This highly-educated demographic is also experiencing high educational debt, which has shifted their priorities. Millennials want to feel good about their purchases, but they don’t want to go into debt over them. This is why companies that allow consumers to split their purchasing options or accept alternative forms of payment will attract this age-group. Understanding the Millennials via their wallets means brands will “understand what drives decision-making,” which is a crucial aspect of a successful marketing campaign.


The story of how Casper disrupted the mattress industry

Today’s economy is filled with emerging companies looking to “disrupt” an industry. These innovators are looking for a way to change the game completely and draft new rules of competition. For disruptor brands, everything begins with a new method or perspective on the business, with designing effective marketing strategies following closely behind. It’s what Uber did for transportation and GrubHub for restaurants. Companies like this change business models and function, dramatically impacting how the public views simple things like ordering food or getting around town.

In the case of Casper, the mattress company made waves by introducing their high-quality “bed-in-a-box” sales model. As a result, the company is steadily shifting the quality standard and once-stagnant nature of the mattress industry. Professor Hart Posen recently told Marketing Dive that “when the technology was invented to put foam mattresses in a box, so that one little UPS guy in little brown shorts could carry it to your door and you could carry it upstairs to your bedroom yourself, then you no longer needed brick-and-mortar in every city.” This doesn’t mean that brands like Sleep Number or Mattress Firm aren’t growing, but through an innovative business model and marketing strategy, Casper has led with a revolutionary idea.


Birkenstocks proves that some trends have a mind of their own

When a product sells particularly well, marketers declare it the “new trend” and adjust their campaigns to evangelize its popularity. The truth is that trends are created by people; more specifically, people who influence society when their behavior or preferences strike a chord politically, socially or economically. Often, marketers try to guide audiences toward certain trends, whether it’s CPG, fashion, or lifestyle. Yet, despite these efforts, we have seen time again that trends often cannot be guided or manufactured.

A perfect example is the rise of Germany’s Birkenstock sandal, which descended upon the fashion world after Kate Moss posed topless in a pair of them on the cover of The Face. Although few commend the shoe on its looks (it’s been called everything from “Jesus sandals” to “Geekenstocks”), the sandals are some of the most comfortable in the market today. And once “counter culture” Americans tried the unique footwear, they were sold, due to their perfect “mix of weirdo and luxe.” This post explores the history of the enduring Birkenstock brand, and why it is a trend with a mind of its own.


Comic-con delivers big on brand activation

Every year celebrities, entertainment lovers, and the media descend on Comic-Con, a multi-genre convention where comic books, fantasy and pop culture convenes in celebration of films, books, television and more. The event attracts fans and cosplayers from around the world, making it the perfect place for brand activation. With exhibits and roleplay in high numbers, the high level of engagement among audiences makes Comic-Con a great place for brands to create interactive experiences.

With over 100,000 fans convening at the event, many brands take advantage of the exposure by executing over-the-top events that draw large crowds. These ideas range from immersive Cosmos experiences to Walking Dead-themed slides and giant Hulk installations. Whether attendees were joining CIA-agent training sessions or checking out a South Parkescape room, this year’s Comic Con was a sight to behold when it came to interactive brand experiences.


Pop-up retail for CPG

Young CPG brands benefit from online experimentation

Retail companies are continuing to clamor to survive in an ever-changing industry landscape. While some have tried their hands at pop-up retail, social media and digital have become a marketing driving force. In fact, many CPG brands are finding an effective solution to a changing retail world through the use of influencers. These online celebrities can connect with target audiences on a personal level and create traction with shoppers across the world.

These partnerships can boost the visibility of a CPG or any other retail brand in a short period of time. Many startups are fluent in this kind of modern marketing approach and grow quickly with strategies that incorporate tactics like influencers and pop-up shops. With a focus on experience-building and a willingness to experiment with various platforms in mobile, digital and physical spaces, new CPG brands can reach more consumers by “testing new ways to have (the) brand show up where consumers are.”


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