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Why pop-up shops are a great idea


Rumours have been circulating that Apple will open a pop-up shop in Selfridges where it will sell the Apple Watch. Reportedly, the tech giant is planning to set up shop near the entrance to the alluring Wonder Room in the Oxford Street branch and the “store-within-a-store” concept will be used to promote varieties of the smartwatch as well as offering one-to-one consultations.

The buzz comes on the back of rumours that premium Parisian department store Les Galeries Lafayette would open an Apple Watch pop-up store of its own. The word is that if these temporary displays prove successful, Apple would consider setting up high street stores to sell the Apple Watch alone.

Pop-up stores, also known as flash retailing, are no longer a trend. Rather, temporary stores which began popping up circa 2003 have become a permanent fixture in the retail landscape. Even luxury brands from Anya Hindmarch in London to Hermès in New York have joined in over recent years.

A recurring theme amongst these stores is to have a mobile environment, but how can retailers create this?

In December last year, online marketplace Etsy used Etsy House as an event to launch the brand into Europe. Etsy House was a pop-up shop in Covent Garden that traded for three days. The driving goal wasn’t commercial success, but to build relations with suppliers and shareholders whilst running some marketing activity

In order to create a mobile environment that was also cool and hip, Etsy brought on board Vend, an online POS software company which works closely with Apple and the app store. With its cloud-based point-of-sale technology, Vend allowed the sales reps to run virtual registers on the latest iPads so they could take payment and manage inventory throughout the day by connecting the registers to stock both in-store and in the local warehouse.

“Etsy had some challenges at the beginning, in terms of multiple suppliers bringing in multiple products, as well as getting real-time type of reporting,” John Coulston, VP, Channel & Business Development at Vend tells Retail Gazette. “We put one of our support guys on to that to help with the set up. Within a few hours, we built the first environment and it worked very well.”

The benefit of Vend is that it allows retailers to find out what’s happening in the store from any point of day. “A shop owner can log on remotely and mull over their busiest time of day as well as which products were hot sellers” explains Coulston.

Cloud based POS technology offers retailers the chance to concentrate on their product and service offering. This is particularly evident pop-up shops which aren’t only for start up business looking to introduce their brands to the market, but also for bigger brands, who are hoping to reintroduce themselves and defy expectations

“A pop-up shop shouldn’t be about shopping,” says Ross Bailey, Founder and CEO of online marketplace for short-term shop rental, AppearHere. “It should be about brand awareness, engagement and about making an impact by interrupting the consumer with something relevant that adds value in some form.”

Published on Tuesday 03 March by Veebs Sabharwal

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