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For years now we have been told that eCommerce was poised to take over brick and mortar retail. Soon the malls would begin to empty of their retailers, both small and large. The physical facilities would be laid to waste, to be converted to affordable housing or condominium communities. The premise was afforded a measure of credibility as online sales began to skyrocket in the face of consumers’ infatuation with the convenience of the new shopping experience. The predictions were not totally without merit as small to mid-sized malls did in fact empty and fail. While many thought it was a sign that physical retail was on the brink of total demise, much of the banter failed to take into account the increasing costs associated with large common-area shopping centers and consumers’ new interest in destination shopping venues. Smaller, unique boutiques have found new favor with 70 percent of consumers who still prefer the physical shopping experience and interacting with humans. In fact, 79 percent of Baby Boomers and 66 percent of Millennials share a preference for interacting face to face with customer support over online customer services.
Online sales have greatly disrupted traditional retailing, and few retail strategists will even begin to suggest that the physical outlets will ever return to the dominance of the past. Once large iconic retail giants are fading into memory as they failed to recognize and adapt to the marketplace’s new reality. Once packed with large inventories of everything from nuts to bolts, department stores are reinventing themselves as smaller more customer-centric operations, specializing in one area of expertise just as some of the most successful online sellers are moving to capture the renewed interest in brick and mortar venues. Coined “Pop-Up Stores”, the new channel promises to be especially beneficial for e-commerce players because they offer increased brand exposure, a boost to web traffic and an efficient opportunity to test-run a physical store. The Pop-Up model can be temporary or long-term in scope and take the form of kiosk-type settings in larger box-store environments or a more personal experience in a boutique or gallery location.
Opening a temporary store appears to be working. A recent survey by Storefront found that 80% of global retailers that have opened a pop-up store said it was successful, and 58% are likely to use the tactic again. For those looking to open a dedicated storefront, the “Pop-Up” concept offers important insights to the physical retail marketplace and an opportunity for e-sellers to make personal connections with customers. Companies looking to introduce new products find an advantage to the process of building increased brand awareness. Clinique recently launched its first pop-up to promote the new Clinique iD line. The goal was to generate hype and engagement, and to establish metrics to measure brand awareness. Other companies like Macy’s and Amazon are opening sites both inside and outside their existing venues.
Temporary stores are quickly becoming an important bridge for online sellers who want to venture into the traditional brick and mortar environment where the majority of retail sales in the United States still occur. For more on how Junction Creative Solutions’ (Junction) experienced brick and mortar and eCommerce professionals can guide you in implementing a successful “Pop-Up” strategy, call 678-686-1125 today.