The news of Amazon’s first pop-up shop opening in New York in time for Christmas has certainly put the ‘clicks-and-mortar’ trend back into focus. This term which initially emerged to describe high-street retailers going online during the early dotcom years now is used to describe online companies opening up shops or temporary physical retail spaces. A move that seems to highlight that physical retail is still a necessary part. A part that consumers want and expect. But while physical stores can extend the reach of an e-commerce’s brand to new customers, it does require different skills and can bring with it additional risks. What should you consider when moving from clicks to bricks in 2015?
Offline stores could provide interesting data for online sales and provide valuable insight into how buyers select products. For us the introduction of pop-up stores would serve to give us an insight into how buyers select products.
Furtermore, not everything needs a tactile touch. Merchandising on t-shirts, hoodies and phone cases sells very well online because they are not high risk tactile purchases. The desire to purchase is primarily driven by the design and message they carry.
Don’t forget to focus on the customer. What matters now more than ever is ‘the experience’ either offline or online. With so many local and international online competitors able to steal your customer, a bad experience loses you customers. It is critical for pop-up retailers to provide a good online experience too. An eager shopper that has to wait to check out may decide to order online instead of standing in line at a till —especially with a rapid shipping option.
Customers want good service and value so if you provide this your brand will grow by retention and recommendation faster online than any offline retailer can manage. Coolblue’s introduction of same day delivery service and more convenient locations to collect their goods from highlights that the customer is always top of mind.
A pop-up space can reach more easily an audience already in shopping mode. Shops can also sometimes give consumers a far stronger introduction to your brand. And in-store visits can become opportunities to drive re-purchase or incremental sales online.