How To Put On A Successful Retail Pop Up

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Retail pop ups are a trend that's here to stay. Learn how to utilize the benefits of texting to help your retail location run a smooth and memorable event.

It’s no secret that e-commerce is growing in popularity. Some industry experts are even predicting that e-commerce sales are expected to overtake U.S. in-store sales as early as 2024! As a brick and mortar operation, now more than ever, you need to stand out to secure customer attention. After all, you’re competing with the convenience of shopping from home with pajamas and a meatball sub in hand.

But one thing physical shops have the ability to do that e-commerce businesses struggle with is creating an experience. If there’s one thing that’s growing just as quickly as e-commerce, it’s a desire for a made-for-instagram-experience. People want to be entertained as they shop. The days of mall browsing are long over. Enter, the pop up retail experience.

What Exactly is Pop Up Retail?

Retail pop ups are the brilliant star child born of short lease terms and exclusive retail marketing. These temporary shopping experiences literally “pop” up in cities and towns across the country offering a limited-time shopping experience. Pop ups can last anywhere from days to months and usually include things like limited collections, photo ops, unique vendor collaborations, VIP gifts, and more.

Another commonality found with most popular pop up retail shops is a strong marketing blitz leading up the event. Heavy social media pushes, temporary landing pages, video teasers, and more. In order to draw a crowd, successful retail marketers have to capture the feeling that this cannot be missed! This type of FOMO (fear of missing out) marketing is what separates a good pop up, from something as unsuccessful as a Spirit of Halloween store in May.

When it comes to curating a pop up, Glossier is one of the best in the business. Currently running a pop up in Miami, they’ve mastered the art of FOMO marketing by delivering memorable, beautiful experiences developed with their target audience in mind.

Photo Courtesy of Glossier Instagram

Why Create a Pop Up Retail Experience?

Why invest so much time and energy into something so…temporary? In addition to the publicity, pop ups are actually a valuable market research tool. Investing in a retail space comes with huge upfront costs. Pop ups, however, give you the chance to try things out regarding your visual brand and location without having to tie yourself down to any one location or aesthetic.

The short term nature of the experience can also give you the chance to set up shop in otherwise expensive or inaccessible areas. For example, the company BrandBox scored prime real estate in the sought-after (and absurdly pricey) Tysons Corner Center outside Washington, D.C. They recognized the potential of the temporary shopping market and turned this space into a prefixed pop up hot spot with as many as six stations for brands to come and go on a short term lease basis. This exposure is remarkable for smaller brands and goes on to help them explode in popularity across their target market.

Photo Courtesy of Washington Business Journal

How to Elevate Your Retail Pop Up With Texting

By now you might be feeling pretty keen on the idea of starting a pop up. If executed correctly, these events can be total hits! However, putting on the perfect pop up comes with a unique set of challenges. One of the biggest is the need to make sure you can draw a crowd during the specific times your shop is live. This requires precise, and at times, repetitive communication.

If you’re familiar with text marketing at all, then you know it’s one of the fastest and most efficient ways to reach someone. More than a majority of folks around the world have access to a cell phone with texting capabilities. And in fact, more and more folks are beginning to trend towards a preference for being reached by brands via SMS.

For all the challenges that come along with creating a retail pop up, texting provides a solution. We’ll run through some of the most prevalent examples in a moment, but you can also take a second to see for yourself with one of our clients who ran a successful popup in NYC with the help of SMS:

Amazon Video Recreated an Iconic NYC Deli and Invited People By Text

If you took a second to read that piece, welcome back! If not, we’ll cut right to the chase. Here are some unique ways texting can raise your retail popup from drab to fab.

  • Use texting to send timed reminders leading up to the event that will ensure your event is sold out
  • Collect RSVPs with a specific keyword that users can text in to reserve their “ticket”
  • Let users generate your content! Encourage event attendees to text in photos of them from the event to be featured on your social media page
  • If you’re trying to deal with crowd control, you can use texting as a way to confirm time slots or reservations making sure people show up at the right time
  • Text people to let them know immediately if an item is sold out or getting close to it
  • Create a texting list that people can opt in to and find out, at a moments notice, where to find you and your shop
  • Create a keyword waitlist that people can text in order to stay informed when and where the next pop up event is happening
  • Text out flash deals that will drive people to your location during slower periods

This list is just the beginning. There are tons of unique ways to utilize texting for your retail pop up—from the months leading up to the event to the months after. Texting makes it easy across the entire retail process.

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