If you haven’t yet stumbled across a pop-up shop, you likely soon will. It seems this quiet little trend of retail companies temporarily opening up in a vacant retail space for a few hours or days is now an $8 billion industry. They’re a great way for business owners who have been selling online to test the waters and see if brick-and-mortar is a profitable option. They can create brand awareness or even boost holiday sales.
It’s Not Just Retailers Getting in on the Action
Ecommerce and point-of-sale software company Shopify has had its eye on pop-ups as of late. Shopify has even hosted a few of its own — not so much to sell its products, Harley Finkelstein, Chief Platform Officer told Small Business Trends. But the company wanted to educate businesses that had only ever sold online about what’s needed to sell more, both online and off.
Shopify’s recent Retail Tour in Toronto offered free workshops on setting up an online store and DIY product photography, as well as other informational sessions and consultations. Certainly, you can expect that at least a few of the attendees of Shopify’s pop-up stores workshop ended up being customers. But that’s what it’s all about, right? Branding and providing value where needed.
The Future of Shopify Pop-Up Stores
In an email interview, Finkelstein explained where Shopify sees pop-ups heading:
“It’s not about offline versus online, but rather consumer choice. Whether customers want to buy at a store and have it delivered to their home, or buy online and pick it up in the store, retailers need to provide these options and cater to consumer needs.”
And indeed, Shopify seems to be living by example in providing options to accommodate its retailers to better serve customers, both online and off.
Transitioning from Online to Pop-Up
With so much interest in pop-up shops, you might be considering one of your own. You’ll quickly discover that selling to customers face-to-face is entirely different from selling online to a nameless and faceless person.
John Lawson, CEO of ColderICE and eCommerce expert says some of the key differences between face-to-face and online transactions are in how personality, education, and likeability are translated to customers. He tells Small Business Trends:
“Get engaged with your shoppers and find the connections. Also think about the opportunity to get real world feedback from prospects that will help make your online interactions that much better.”
Lawson says obviously the primary downside of setting up a pop-up shop is investing money and time only to have no one show up. But as in any business, Lawson says the important thing is knowing your customers and making sure a pop-up is a good fit for your products.
And don’t forget to throw in a little promotion about the event as well.