With Black Friday and the holiday sale season fast approaching, eCommerce stores will be fighting for the attention of shoppers all over the world. The great thing about eCommerce is that you can reach just about anyone. The bad thing? So can every other retailer.
With around 12-24 million eCommerce stores out there, it’s more important than ever for eCommerce businesses to stand out. However, whilst 51 percent of people prefer to shop online, that still leaves us with 49% that still favor the experience of shopping in-store. It’s a figure that we simply cannot ignore, especially considering how giants like Amazon are taking much of the market share of sales online.
This means that eCommerce stores need to differentiate themselves in a competitive retail market. But how?
Enter, the pop-up shop. Championed by both big and small businesses alike, the pop-up shop gives a chance for small brands to level the playing field. Not only do pop-up stores make you stand out from the rest, but they also offer your customers an immersive experience that is likely to keep your brand cemented in their minds.
But what makes pop-up shops so effective? And how can they make eCommerce stores stand out?
1. Pop-Up Shops Create a “Buzz”
According to Statista, one of the reasons consumers shop at pop-up stores is the social media-worthiness of them. People are more likely to trust a brand if it has been influenced by their social network, with 81 percent of consumers saying that they trust the advice that comes from their family and friends.
Brands can, therefore, leverage pop-ups as a way of creating brand ambassadors organically.
In the same way that shoppers can share products they’ve brought online by clicking on social sharing icons, in real life, they’ll probably take a selfie or post your pop-up on Instagram to share with their social network. This creates an in-real-life “buzz” that will get people talking about your brand. Your pop-up can create an army of brand ambassadors on the back of a great pop-up experience.
Tip: use the pop-up store to your advantage and capture customer information such as names, email and contact numbers so you can follow-up their experience and keep the buzz alive online, too.
2. They Cater To The Experience Economy
Nowadays, people want experiences over things. According to Forbes, 74 percent of Americans want experiences over products or purchases.
Whilst larger brands might install an interactive virtual reality feature in their pop-up stores, your eCommerce business could do something more suitable for your budget, like carrying out a live demonstration or facilitating a VIP shopping experience for your most loyal customers.
This way, you are personalizing the customer experience and adding a human touch to it, all whilst offering something different from your competitors.
3. They Work For Businesses of Any Size
It might seem like a feat that only bigger eCommerce stores can handle, but this isn’t necessarily the case. Whether you’re an SME or a multinational corporation, the pop-up model works for everyone.
Take Etsy, an online marketplace for small businesses that sell handmade and vintage items as an example. In 2018, several Etsy businesses came together in Oxford to form a pop-up shop, which proved to be such a success that it is now a permanent store, supporting over 70 local businesses in the area.
4. They Have Always Been Relevant
If we take a quick look at the history of pop-up shops, we can see that they have been around in some shape or form for hundreds of years.
From Viennese December markets to the Nike pop-up store in LA, they have proven to be a tried and tested way of getting customers’ attention, and it’s likely that they won’t be going away any time soon.
The bottom line is that consumers want brands to be savvier when it comes to their buying experience. They want experiences that they can share on social media and tell their friends and family about it.
Pop-up stores aren’t meant to replace eCommerce but can be a fantastic way of bringing increased brand awareness and driving sales to your brand, which all eCommerce business owners obviously want to do – especially in the lead up to Black Friday and the festive sale period.
Last year, Americans spent a massive $5 billion on Black Friday alone, so it’s definitely worth exploring how you can make your eCommerce store stand out from the crowd.
Maham Azam is a writer for Geaves Surfaces. She enjoys writing about business trends, customer experience, and marketing, particularly for SMEs. You can read her latest piece on the pop-up shop trend here.