May 20, 2014

The New Pop-Up: Less Inventory, More Buzz

Posted by Faith Albert Category IconConversions & UX Category IconNews & Trends

Welcome to the pop-up shop. You may be familiar.

In this model, retail stores that can’t afford rent for a full year open a store room for only two to three months, maximizing revenue and decreasing overhead. These operations are usually seasonal shops that might tout Christmas decorations or Halloween costumes. But with some recent innovations, this scenario has become old hat (pun intended).

The latest omni-channel phenomenon touts little to no inventory or cashier. Not one purchase will be made inside the store in this new model. Bonobos, a men’s apparel store, is leading the way.

The idea of the no-inventory pop-up shop is that customers are able to interact with the brand and receive some personalized attention, and buy an item online for quick delivery after interacting with a floor-room examples. In fact, Bonobos feels that customer service is the key to success at these pop-up shops. Andy Dunn, founder of Bonobos says, “We think service is more important than instant gratification. What’s the benefit of walking out of the store with a bag of two shirts and some pants if it’ll be on your desk the next day? Customers are guaranteed a personal shopping experience by signing up for appointments online.”

Trendabl takes the click-and-mortar hybrid store one step further. The mobile app incorporates QR codes into the process, to make the pop-up shopping experience seamless. The customer simply scans the QR code while shopping, and the scanned item will enter a cart on Trendabl’s mobile app.

An IBM report via USA Today concluded that over half of all online consumers are checking out items in store and buying online, and 34% of that group purchase from online-only retailers. Some companies aren’t even concerned about conversion rates: these operations think of the shops solely as a marketing vehicle. It’s all about the exposure and publicity.

“Pop-ups can function as an effective advertising vehicle,” says Kelly Gedinsky, an associate director at Winick Realty Group. “Because of the expense of media advertising, and because paper advertising has become less efficient, it’s possibly become more beneficial to advertise through a storefront,” she said.