Since the early noughties Pop-up shops have quite literally been popping up everywhere. Over the past few years the economic climate has (very sadly) decimated the high street and brands were quick to seize the opportunity to move in and capitalise on high footfall areas in premium retail locations.
Of course, the pop up is by no means a new idea. Brands have been using them, with varying degrees of success, for many diverse campaigns and they go hand in hand with experiential marketing. They are an excellent opportunity for a consumer to fully experience the brand, rather than just seeing and hearing a dictated message through more traditional media channels.
It may not be a new idea but it is an extremely lucrative way of bringing retail experiences to life with huge names such as Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton and Sky whole heartedly jumping on the bandwagon. Pop-up shops add an estimated £2.1bn to the economy each year and Richard Lim, head of business information at the British Retail Consortium, has been quoted as saying “…we’re only at the beginning of the pop-up revolution”.
So if we are at the beginning of a pop up revolution how can brands stay innovative and pioneering and not just produce a pretty shop giving out samples? One of the solutions is the use of digital and social media, which has become more and more popular within pop-up treatments as experiences can be shared online through hashtags and call to actions. Indeed, these have become central to pop-up campaigns and can offer engaging extension.
This combination of digital and experiential has proved to be a winning combination. Let’s take a look at three winning examples from 2014;
Marc Jacobs Pop Up Tweet Shop – London & New York, Open for 3 days, August 2104
The Marc Jacob ‘tweet shop’ is a brilliant example of using all forms of social media to create a fully immersive digital experience. The premise was to swap cash for tweets, consumers were able to purchase merchandise not with money, but with their use of the hashtag #MjDaisyChain.
Visitors were also encouraged to tweet picture or film (Instagram and Vine) of the shop and in exchange they would receive a key ring or a manicure. The pop ups aim was to promote the Marc Jacobs latest fragrance, Daisy, but ultimately it provided an interesting experience for visitors as well as creating a strong online presence for Marc Jacob.
Kenzo No Fish No Nothing Digital Pop-Up – Paris, Open for 1 Week, March 2014
To raise awareness for The Blue Marine Foundation, fashion brand Kenzo created the ‘NoFishNoNothing’ Digital Pop-up. It displayed a large interactive digital aquarium where shoppers could touch screens and browse and buy products from their No Fishing No Nothing clothing line.
Each purchase made online, or Instagram post of the pop up with the hashtag #NoFishNoNothing, put a new digital fish into the tank, so you could physically see the tank fill up with fish and therefore see the contribution to saving marine life. This fusion of social media with e-commerce and environmental awareness was a clever way for a brand to use their extensive reach with consumers to help raise awareness, in turn helping to create a positive brand image for themselves.
The Worth Pop Up Store – London, Open for 4 days, June 2014
It’s not just the big brands getting in on the digital pop-up. 2nd year Central St. Martin students re-worked the concept with the Worth Pop-Up, it was the world’s first social media price-drop pop-up. A website was launched before the store opened which stated everything in their pop up shop would cost £1,000,000! This price could be reduced if the webpage was shared over social media. The campaign went viral, trending on Twitter, crashing their university servers, gaining widespread coverage in the press, and dropping the price of every product in the shop to £50.12.
Ben Silvertown, 19, who came up with the concept stated it ‘brings meaning to the marketplace’ and turns ‘the world of commerce on its head’. The Worth Pop-Up was popular because it was truly innovative and the more exposure and publicity it gained the more the public benefited.
Clearly pop-ups are here to stay, and as more and more unique and unusual spaces cotton-on to short term lets, they are going to grow from strength to strength. What brands need to understand is that they have a unique opportunity to showcase their products and services away from the traditional retail environment. They should embrace this and relish the opportunity to produce a meaningful dialogue with their audience in a fun and engaging way...