Technology May 5, 2017 Last updated May 4th, 2017 4,343 Reads share

4 Retail Technology Trends for Successful Pop-Up Shops

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Just because your pop-up shop is short-term, doesn’t mean the goals of your business are. With pop-up shops taking off in popularity, everyone from

#1. Retail Apps

When starting a small business, including a successful pop-up shop, you probably already know that there are never enough hours in the day. That’s why leveraging retail technology trends and tools that are created specifically to make your life easier is so important. Luckily, there are dozens of small business apps for retailers that are designed for you in mind. So though the lifespan of your business might go by within the blink of an eye, it’s important to make the most of the time you have while your shop is up and running.

Though there are too many amazing apps to list here, a few of our favorites include When I Work and MailChimp Subscribe. When I Work, a scheduling app for employers, allows employees to not only view and post schedules but also request shift changes directly from their phone. When you might not have the luxury of an extra laptop in your store or might have seasonal employees working overtime, this app can work miracles for keeping you organized.

MailChimp Subscribe, an app we’ve recently discovered and are obsessed with, helps with email collection when you aren’t necessarily in an ideal environment. Remember, it’s the little things that make successful pop-up shops.

How many times have you told someone about your retail business or forthcoming store and they’ve immediately requested to be added to your email list? It probably happens a lot. So what do you do when you’re away from your POS system or even a wifi connection? You probably send yourself an email to do it later. But with MailChimp Subscribe, whether you have an internet connection or not, you’re able to collect the address and then sync it with your MailChimp account later on. Brilliant you say? We agree.

#2. Beacons

If you’re new to the retail space, and even if you’re not, you may not be familiar with the retail technology trend of beacons — allowing retailers to send push notifications to customers when they are in the vicinity of their stores. Though beacon technology has been around since 2013, it’s recently gained significant traction. The adoption of a beacon for a pop-up shop can seem expensive for a store that is not permanent, but the opportunity they can afford a larger business that is experimenting with smaller and temporary locations is great. In addition to drawing customers into your store, beacons provide merchants with actionable data and information on their customers.

#3. Email Marketing

If your pop-up shop is part of a larger business, you probably already know the benefits of email collection and marketing. It’s truly the ultimate in retail technology and the key to a successful pop-up shop. But even if your pop-up shop is a temporary endeavor, it doesn’t mean you won’t pursue a more permanent storefront in the future. If you’ve collected email addresses while running your store, having a database already flush with email addresses can be tremendously valuable if you decide to open a brick-and-mortar location.

If you don’t see a more permanent store in your future, and intend only to hold pop-up shops periodically, having access to email addresses will provide you with an ideal channel to connect with your customers. Reach out to them and thank them for stopping by or shopping at your location. Emphasize your gratitude and include information about the future of your business —
whether that is the location and date of your next event or a coupon code for their next purchase (if you have a permanent location).

Also take this opportunity to request feedback, because the only way you can create a better experience going forward is to hear people’s thoughts — the good, the bad, and the ugly. To add to our emphasis above on retail apps, there are many web applications out there that can help you easily create and distribute customer surveys. A few we recommend are SurveyMonkey and Survey Nuts.

#4. Omnichannel

First came brick-and-mortar then came ecommerce, now we have brands and stores that are omnichannel. But what exactly does that mean? Put simply, omnichannel is equivalent to cross-channel, meaning the goods and services for a specific brand are available across platforms, whether that be in-person stores or ecommerce purchases. But how does going omnichannel help for successful pop-up stores? Let’s take the example of an ecommerce retailer such as ModCloth. Though this online retailer was founded in 2002, in the past few years, they’ve begun to venture into the world of brick-and-mortar.

Though still primarily an online business, hosting periodic pop-up shops in larger cities such as San Francisco and Los Angeles have exposed a wider demographic to their retro-themed threads. But ModCloth didn’t simply throw open a pop-up store and stock the locations with their most popular items. They curated a unique and limited selection.

The catch, however, was that though you could try on the clothes at the pop-up shop, you couldn’t bring items home with you that day. You could either place an order online with an employee right there and then, or go home and place the order yourself.

The purpose of having omnichannel pop-ups is to not only expose the public to your product but also to expose them to the experience of purchasing with you. It’s kind of brilliant.

If you’re not a brick-and-mortar location, you don’t want to be only associated with your pop-up shop’s location. Because when customers don’t physically cross paths with you again, well, out of sight out of mind. But, if they are immediately exposed to your online store, the next time they’re looking to shop online, you’ll already be in their memory bank.

Regardless of whether your business is here today and gone tomorrow, the concept of a successful pop-up shop is here to stay. Whether it is your first, fourth or fourteenth shop, it’s never too late to leverage retail technology trends. The most important thing is to be familiar with what is available and to adopt solutions for your business as you see fit.

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Sara Sugar

Sara Sugar

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