Skip to main content

Article 4 min read

Pop-up stores bring the best of both worlds to omnichannel retail

Discover how pop-up stores can help retailers deliver exciting, meaningful customer experiences and cultivate deeper customer relationships.

By Lilia Krauser, Staff Writer

Last updated December 15, 2022

We often associate the summer with the sporting action we’re able to enjoy, whether it’s the baseball games, NBA Finals, tennis action from Wimbledon, or Women’s Euro 2022 football championships. But this year, the fiercest competition is taking place in retail. With gas shortages, rising energy prices, and inflation, we’re in the midst of what is the toughest retail market we’ve seen in a generation. Stores are going toe to toe to win business from cautious spenders.

So, how are retailers supposed to thrive when supply chains are tighter than they have ever been and the rising cost of living is squeezing everyone’s budget? The answer is not to give up. If shoppers are being selective in the way they choose stores this summer, then let’s find creative ways to reach them.

That’s where pop-up shops come in. These temporary outlets appear on the high street (or in other suitable locations) overnight and combine a sense of fun and spontaneity with eye-catching promotions and retail displays. They’re an experience.

And they work. A recent survey by Google found that, of the brands that had experimented with pop-up shops, 46 percent reported an increase in sales, a 51 percent rise in market visibility, 66 percent greater brand awareness, and a 46 percent spike in social media engagement.

So, how do you get started with pop-up retail experiences?

People love great experiences, so give them one

Never mind what Kevin Costner said. If all you do is build it, they won’t come. You have to make it great. You have to make it an experience. And it must be memorable. Take, for instance, the UK online florist Bloom and Wild. It recently made its first foray into the high street, opening pop-up stores in London, Bristol, and Edinburgh.

If all you do is build it, they won’t come. You have to make it great. You have to make it an experience. And it must be memorable.

Each store carried a wide selection of bright, beautiful, and eye-catching plants and flowers. Some of these sold for as little as $4. And in every store, there was a team of experts on hand to chat with the customers about everything from plant care to choosing the perfect floral arrangement. Customers got a sneak peek of forthcoming bouquets, soon to be available on the retailer’s subscription service. And there was a chance to win a year’s worth of flowers.

This was a textbook case of how to do pop-ups well. It combined face-to-face interactions with an environment that brings the brand to life, fantastic promotions, and an immersive customer experience. In a recent Zendesk survey, 75 percent of people said they would spend more after a good customer experience, so let’s give them one.

Go omnichannel: Connect the online and the offline space

Sick of hearing that ecommerce is the future? Fear not. We’re not going to tell you that, at least not on its own. The future is omnichannel. A recent study found that omnichannel customers spend 20 percent more than single-channel customers.

To do omnichannel the right way, you must ensure that online and offline spaces work together seamlessly. This can include making sure that sales staff are available at every moment of the customer journey—just like they are online, thanks to technology such as chatbots—or ordering products online and being able to collect them from a pop-up shop.

No matter how exciting the show they put on for the public, the staff at the pop-up shop must be connected to your customer experience platforms. Just like customer service teams, they should have the data and insights they need to deliver an outstanding experience.

Don’t neglect customer data

Pop-up shops aren’t just a great way to take your brand out into the real world. They’re also fantastic for attracting new customers to your brand. But for that to work, you must capture customer data and use your initial encounter at the pop-up shop to build a longer-term relationship. If you do the necessary due diligence and follow relevant data processing laws, you can use the data you gather to keep in touch, send personalized offers, or tailor your customer support.

You must capture customer data and use your initial encounter at the pop-up shop to build a longer-term relationship.

It’s hard to exaggerate the impact this kind of data-driven experience can have. One major brand recently increased its number of contactable customers by 174 percent, simply by improving its data collection and using the information to personalize its communications.

For retailers, developing pop-up stores is an efficient way to build long-lasting relationships with customers—if they do it the right way. Pop-up stores provide fun, interactive shopping experiences, and they can serve as the basis for future customer interactions.

Related stories

1 min read

Translating iconic experiences to a digital space—with Aesop’s Carine McGinnity

Luxury skincare retailer, Aesop, gained a cult following for offering deeply personal experiences—and yes, those amazing free samples—in its physical stores. Carine McGinnity explains how it’s working to rebuild those experiences online.

2 min read

How an iconic luxury retailer embraced phygital experiences, with Liberty London’s Ian Hunt

In this episode of Conversations with Zendesk, Ian Hunt of Liberty London talks about how the retailer moved to a phygital model.

3 min read

How to cut retail customer service costs with artificial intelligence

Creating great retail customer experiences can be a challenge. Learn how to unlock the power of AI and make your shop pop.

White Paper

Zendesk ROI case study: Lush

See how Lush used Zendesk to find retail success, realizing a 369 percent ROI.