The idea behind ecommerce is as simple as business ideas get – you sell things online and save money on various overheads that are associated with running a traditional brick and mortar store. It also makes your products available to a wider audience and it enables shoppers to have a more convenient shopping experience.
Currently, we are living in the age of a veritable ecommerce explosion with more and more stores popping up online and taking advantage of the advancing technologies that have truly revolutionized the industry.
That being said, more and more ecommerce stores are also finding out that their customers still enjoy a face-to-face experience and many of them decide to provide this experience by setting up a pop-up store.
A Super-Brief History of Pop-Up Stores
Originally, pop-up stores were mostly a marketing gimmick where certain brands would sell their products in venues that were not meant to be commercial spaces. They combined stores with DJs and other concepts of cool, urban lifestyle.
Major brands soon adopted the concept, coming up with pop-up stores that attract the media and perhaps provide them with a chance to reach a new market.
Over the years, we have seen quite a few pop-up stores that truly pushed the envelope. Over the last couple of years, we are witnessing something of a pop-up store revival where ecommerce stores take advantage of this affordable way of entering the world of traditional retail, in a way.
But, why exactly are ecommerce store owners so in love with pop-up stores?
Perhaps the greatest allure of pop-up store lies in the ability for ecommerce store owners to learn more about their customers. Namely, even though ecommerce solutions from Shopify and other platforms are fantastically good at providing store owners with data on their customers, there is something you can get from talking to a person face-to-face that you just cannot do online.
Until we reach some Sci-Fi levels of virtual reality (not the lame attempts we are witnessing these days), interacting with your customer in person will always trump everything else. By doing this, you are able to read their body language and hear the pitch of their voice. These are all tiny details that can tell a salesperson so much more than any kind of online interaction.
Besides these sales tricks, pop-up stores are a great source of customer insight when it comes to how customers pick the products, what products they are likely to purchase together, etc. A pop-up store is also the perfect place to see how people react to your prices and what they think of your brand.
Testing a New Idea
Most ecommerce stores roll out new products every now and then. Sometimes these are entire lines of products and they entail major changes to how the ecommerce companies operate. Unfortunately, sometimes these novelties do not get the positive response everyone hoped for and it creates a specific type of a situation where the company pushes new products at the expense of old ones for weeks on end before they finally realize what people really think about their new idea.
A pop-up store is a great way to speed up this process. You set up a nice little store somewhere and invite all of your customers to visit it. You then roll out your new products and you gauge their reaction. Instead of spending weeks and crunching online data, you get an almost instant response that will be far clearer than anything you could gather from online numbers.
Attracting a New Market
Some people simply do not shop online. They don’t like it. They don’t practice it. They are aware of it, but they do not indulge in purchasing stuff online.
And that is perfectly fine.
And while that is perfectly fine, you should never give up on such potential customers. This is why a pop-up store is such a great tool to expanding your customer base. It reaches out to people who would otherwise never be your customers. Or perhaps they would, but it would take them years before they would finally find you online and start spending money with you.
When they visit your store (their interest piqued by your innovative and exciting setup, of course), you get the chance to show them your products and to teach them that online stores often sell stuff that is of superb quality. You also get the chance to show them your website and to explain to them the benefits of purchasing with you online.
Another way in which ecommerce store owners get to expand their customer base thanks to pop-up stores is when they set their temporary retail space within other stores. This often happens in the pop-up store world where established businesses host smaller stores that complement their line of products.
It is a win-win situation where customers can also count themselves as winners.
As you can see, there is no shortage of reasons as to why ecommerce companies love the pop-up store. When you consider the fact that they can be set up on a very minor budget, it becomes obvious that pop-up stores are a fantastic way for ecommerce brands to experience some natural, organic growth.