How-to

How to Use a Pop-up Store To Find Lifelong Customers

Written by Tom Coleman

Pop-up stores are brilliant because they make your brand visible to people who would never come across your business otherwise. The unique experience of a pop-up store gives you an opportunity like no other to create loyal, lifelong customers, by giving them a remarkable, unforgettable experience. If you can do this effectively, you can create customers for life, who will shop with you online, in future pop-up stores or in traditional brick and mortar stores.

You may think that when it comes to customers, the quantity of customers is more important than the quality of customers. You’d be wrong. According to an analysis FiveStars performed of 14 million store visits from more than 1 million customers, as well as the results of loyalty programs from over 2,000 businesses, on average only approximately 20% of your customers have visited your store 10 times or more. Yet this 20% are responsible for 72% of the visits to your store and generate 80% of your revenue. If you can secure loyal customers, then you’re guaranteed continued trade.

There is also a real benefit on trying to make as many customers loyal as possible. You therefore need to offer your customers a reason to keep coming back to you. However this is difficult because customers are far more likely to remember negative experiences of your brand than positive ones, therefore you need to make their good experiences as memorable as possible.

Pop-up stores are the perfect way to get loyal customers. Prospective new customers can be blown away by how interesting your pop-up event is, and become hooked on your brand from the excitement of the pop-up experience. For customers who know of your brand and have shopped with you a few times but are not yet loyal, it’s the perfect opportunity to build a stronger relationship between them and your brand. Pop-up stores therefore are key to defining your brand identity, engaging with customers and getting them shopping with you repeatedly.

So your pop-up event needs to be exciting, fun and immersive so that the customer can get hooked on your brand. That is definitely easier said than done. Luckily, there are numerous strategies you can use to entice new customers and convert them into loyal customers who will shop with you for a lifetime.

Superdrug – PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit: Jeff Spicer/PA Wire

  • Follow What’s Trending

Social media gives us the opportunity to find out what people really want, without having spend enormous amounts of time issuing surveys and speaking to customers directly. If you can find a trending topic that will suit your pop-up store, you’ll have a guaranteed audience who’ll be interested and visit your store.

The recent Superdrug pop-up store in London took note of the popularity of veganism on social media, for example the 3.8 million uses of #veganlife on Instagram, and capitalised on it by launching a pop-up that sold exclusively vegan products.

This pop-up event was ingenious for numerous reasons:

  1. Firstly, the pop-up would instantly be guaranteed to have a high level of engagement from customers because veganism is a popular trend on social media. Offering exclusive products would mean that not only would vegans shop in the store, but they’d tell people about it on social media, using the very hashtags that informed the pop-up.
  2. The second aspect of the pop-up that helped create loyal customers was how Superdrug made a corresponding web page that sold the same stock as the pop-up store. This way visitors to the pop-up could easily find the products they’d seen in the store, even if they didn’t buy them. This way they knew exactly how and where to get the products they wanted, and could buy them over and over again.
  3. Finally, the pop-up was a prime opportunity to trial the popularity of niche products that could then be placed into conventional brick and mortar stores. Customers who liked the product at the pop-up would be able to shop at permanent stores to find the vegan products, as well as anything else they would need and therefore their position as loyal customers would be secured.

The Superdrug pop-up was therefore the perfect example of the importance of making a pop-up that used social media trends to ensure it could get customers hooked on new products, and that would advertise itself through social media.

Christian Louboutin – Photo: Mandarin Oriental Paris

  • Make The Customer Feel Good

As a business owner, you want your customers to feel good when they use your product. Not only is this the point of you selling a product, but also because it will help them to market your product so you don’t have to. With a pop-up store, you should aim to enrich their enjoyment of the product by giving them an amazing experience alongside it.  

A prime example of this is the Christian Louboutin nail bar in the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Paris:

  1. Firstly, the customer already feels special because they are given the chance to be the first to explore the brand new Pop color range, boosting the customer’s mood before they’ve even bought anything.
  2. However the main selling point of the nail bar is that the customer also has the option to have their nails painted in the store. The customer therefore leaves the store feeling relaxed, better about themselves and pampered due to the experience of having their nails painted.

The combined experience of being able to have an exclusive look at new ranges, as well as being treated to nail painting leaves the customer feeling like Christian Louboutin goes above and beyond what is expected to ensure its customers enjoy themselves. They therefore become loyal to the brand because they feel Christian Louboutin care for them, as they care for their products.

By launching the nail bar for the second year in a row in 2018, Christian Louboutin have made the nail bar a rite of passage for loyal customers to attend, therefore boosting their sales and ensuring their customers stay dedicated to their brand.

What’s important to remember is that customers want to be loyal to you. If they’re loyal then they’ll experience a dopamine experience, therefore receiving a psychological reward for what is deemed to be a good act. Therefore if you give them incentives to be loyal, such as going beyond what the customer expects, they’ll feel good about themselves and you’ll be rewarded with a customer for life.

  • Educate Your Customer

If a customer shops with you multiple times, it would indicate that they are invested in more than just your products. It shows a willingness to engage with your brand and have an experience beyond just buying a product from a shelf. It’s therefore your job to help them understand how they fit in your journey as a retailer.

Your customer is bound to be more loyal if they feel you have a sense of pride in what you do, and can offer them experiences that teach them just how much you care about your product.

SJP COLLECTION – Photo: JAI LENNARD

  • Do Something Memorable

According to a PopUp Republic poll, 39% of shoppers indicated that the main reason they’d visit a pop-up store would be because of exclusive products or services on offer. Your loyal customers will know exactly what to look out for in your pop-up store, so you need to give them the exclusives they want as well as surprises to stick in their memory.

If you have the opportunity to harness the power of celebrity to wow your customers, then do it. Not only does it mean your pop-up is sure to come up in conversation with other people, but it also proves that celebrities involved with your brand care about the product as much as the customer does.

For example when the SJP Collection launched its new line of shoes, Sarah Jessica Parker was there herself to help fit shoes and draw people to the pop-up store. To those not expecting her presence in the shop, they got the surprise of meeting an incredibly famous celebrity and the benefit of having the designer of their shoe present in the store to talk to.

The SJP Collection pop-up event therefore proved the importance of offering an experience that would be unforgettable and unrivalled. People would also be more likely to attend SJP pop-ups in the future, in hope of meeting Sarah Jessica Parker at another event, therefore securing loyal customers.

Harrods

  • Prove Your Values

Consumers are driven by two things; likability and trust. If your brand identity hinges upon a clear set of values, you need to prove that these are more than just words. Doing so with a pop-up event helps prove to customers that you are true to your word and helps them justify spending their money with you.

From the outside, the Harrods ‘Fashion Re-told’ pop-up store was like any other. The store was essentially a scaled down version of their Knightsbridge store, complete with the luxurious surroundings and unrivalled customer service that Harrods is renowned for.

However there was a twist. While all the clothes were designer, they were all donated by members of the public, Harrods or the designers themselves. All proceeds raised were to be given to the NSPCC. The store itself therefore offered a unique take on the Harrods experience, and the customer had the benefit of knowing that any purchases made would benefit a good cause.

While Harrods didn’t profit from the pop-up store, their brand identity certainly gained value from it. Not only did they reinvent the experience of shopping with Harrods, they also proved that their commitment to their values was genuine. Customers are loyal to brands they trust, and their ‘Fashion Re-told’ pop-up proved that they could be trusted.

A pop-up store can be a brilliant opportunity to secure lifelong customers. If you can use the opportunity to appeal to a mass audience, create a pop-up store that defines your brand and raises awareness for your values then you’re sure to create a memorable experience that will get people hooked on your brand. If you can also create a pop-up that makes your customer feel better about themselves and surprises them, then you’re guaranteed to make an impression and guarantee that you’ll have lifelong customers.

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About the author

Tom Coleman

Storefront Contributor - Tom Coleman writes about the retail industry, specialising in the pop-up sector. Currently an undergraduate at the University of Exeter reading English and History, he splits his time between Hampshire and Cornwall, UK.