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How Pop-Ups Help Brands Test Drive the Market and Expand Their Community Base

This blog first appeared in UpNext’s Creative Juices here.

The past few years have dramatically reshaped the retail landscape. When shopping rapidly moved online in the spring of 2020, brands were forced to pivot quickly and find new and effective ways to engage their communities virtually. Online shopping became the primary source of income for retail brands and curbside pick-up became a staple for brick and mortar. As the country begins to return to pre-pandemic life, people are eagerly heading back into brick and mortar shops, seeking connection and experiences. While the benefits and convenience of online and curbside shopping may remain strong, nothing can replace the opportunities that come from an in-person retail experience.

Project: Pop-Up is focused on revitalizing vacant storefronts and shopping centers, which brings a unique opportunity for brands who spent 2020 and 2021 building their online communities. Retail pop-ups provide short-term experiences for brands, allowing them to engage their communities on a personal level without the commitment of a multi-year lease.

Here are four ways investing in a brick and mortar pop-up can bring your brand long-term growth:

1. A Five-senses Experience:

Customers are more likely to buy when they can look, touch, smell, and interact with a product. They instantly see how the product works, what value it will bring to their lives and how it will feel to have it. They feel connected to your brand in a full senses way and after a year of online shopping, it’s this tangible shopping experience they’re yearning for. Having this space for people to fully explore and interact with your product and brand increases the likelihood they will make an in-person purchase and then repeat the purchase online afterwards.

2. Creates A Personal Connection And Builds Your Customer Loyalty:

There is deep value in one-on-one in-person interaction. When a customer is able to meet you as a founder, hear your story and share a moment of connection, you develop a personal and human element to the brand that can’t be replicated virtually. When a customer purchases from you in this face-to-face setting, they feel more invested in and loyal to you. It’s this initial connection you can then build on through virtual messaging; making your emails and social posts feel much more personal, naturally.

3. You See First Hand How Your Potential Customers Interact With Your Product:

Online analytics are helpful, but nothing compares to being able to see your target market interact with your space and your product in a brick and mortar setting. This is real-time market research. You get immediate feedback on how they perceive your products and what their preferences are. You also learn more about your customer demographics and lifestyle. Through these observations you may learn where to focus more of your energy in the future and which products need some improvements or adjustments as well as how to craft more targeted brand messaging.

4. Helps Convert in-person Customers Into Lasting Online Purchasers and Social Engagers:

The new “normal” will most likely be a more seamless and hybrid model of in-person and online shopping. Through pop-ups, you can start to create this circular customer purchase cycle yourself. By making in-person connections, you will be able to continue the relationship virtually through emails, social media and targeted marketing, long after the brick and mortar pop-up has ended. Then when you are ready to launch another pop-up, you have an engaged online audience who will be your first adopters for your in-person experience, continuing this cycle.

PRO-TIP: Have a plan for how to engage your in-person customers once the pop-up is over. Make sure you have a comprehensive email list, that your social accounts are front in center for those who visit, and a marketing plan following the pop-up.

Interested in popping up through Project: Pop-Up? Apply here.

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