ABC Inc. is a European company that designs and manufactures undergarments and swimwear. ABC doesn`t have its own sales and distribution channel but partners with local specialist retailers worldwide. It expanded its business to Canada a few years ago and is seeking to increase brand awareness among retailers and consumers.
ABC carries a wide range of underwear collections and swimwear that is developed for women of all shapes and sizes. All products are of high quality and comfort. It prides itself in providing the perfect fit for every woman. While the product assortment ranges from lingerie, over maternity and nursing bras, to swimwear, ABCs marketing campaigns are centered around its award-winning sports bra collection. With the objective to increase brand awareness, ABC started to experiment with pop-up shops in Canada in 2015.
ABC primarily held event-driven, collaborative pop-ups shops that were communicational in its nature. In May 2017, for example, it partnered with a local, specialist retailer and hosted a booth at a marathon event. The goal of the pop-up shop was primarily to demonstrate the high-quality sports bra collection and testing consumer reception for their colorful bras. While ABC provided the pop-up shop and paid the exhibition fee, the specialist retailer provided 2 sales associates. The pop-up shop itself was entirely ABC branded with the exception of one signage from the specialist retailer. The shop included mannequins wearing the sports bra, a cash register, a backdrop including a TV playing ABC`s athletic campaign as well as two fitting rooms. Furthermore, a secured iPad enabled sales associates to check the inventory for specific sizes. A signage encouraged customer`s to get a free bra fitting.
ABC held a second pop-up shop at a women-only sports race in June 2017. This time it ran the pop-up without partnering with a retailer. The pop-up shop`s format was the same as the previous. However, ABC employees were hosting the booth. They wore the bras under a transparent shirt and distributed flyers inviting women for free bra-fittings.
While the first event had much higher foot traffic, ABC was able to engage with and custom-fit twice as many women at the second event.
Project timelines for ABC`s pop-up shops vary between 2 weeks and 3 months. ABC owns two different pop-up setups. Depending on the given timeframe and the location it utilizes its small or larger format. The larger setup was used in both examples above. It requires a space of about 100 square feet and is entirely customized. The smaller setup is more mobile and ideal for a pop-up within a specialist retailers store, for example.
Initial costs for both pop-up shop settings were $65,000 and $10,000 for the large and small format, respectively. The ongoing costs associated with each project depend on the activities ABC engages in. ABC leverages either internal employees or the specialist`s retailer staff to host the pop-ups. With regards to Marketing, ABC seeks to engage in events where the event organizer utilizes a range of marketing tools that involve the marketing of participating brands. ABC itself markets its pop-ups on Facebook. The largest fee is associated with the space rental.
|Fixture||$10,000 -$65,000 *branded nylon display banners and tent to customized kiosk with components such as portable dressing rooms, storage and displays|
|Space rental fee||$999 for 100ft² to $2699 for 300ft t² at two-day sports event *Corner booth: 15% premium **Two chairs, skirted table, and draped back wall and side wall(s) included|
|POS System fee||$29 monthly for basic POS system + $849 one-time payment for hardware *Hardware kit includes everything needed to accept cash and credit, and print receipts|
|Marketing the event||$250* to unlimited custom sponsorship packages * Virtual Event Bag at sport event to promote product or services of pop-up vendors to participants|
ABC has gained several insights from its pop-up shop initiatives. Moving forward it will focus on hosting its own pop-ups at women- only events.
What are some of the insights that ABC learned from the given examples?
- Importance of engaging with the customer
- Importance of aspiration: Regular employees at second pop-up wearing the bras making it relatable to all women
- Insights for product assortment: Conversion for colorful bras was very successful. Many of the specialist retailers don’t carry ABC`s bright colors, though. Pop-up allowed ABC to feedback these customer preferences back to their retailers in an attempt to increase ABC sales for colorful products.
- Importance of event environment: Women at marathons won`t change outfit shortly before they run as they trained for month with a specific bra
What are advantages and disadvantages of working with a retailer?
- Combined marketing efforts
- Retailer becomes more familiar with the wide product assortment of ABC
- Retailer learns more about which of ABC`s products are going well and may expand its in-store assortment with ABC products
- Strengthens the relationship between ABC and retailer
- Local connection as a pull factor as consumers may know the retailer but not the brand
- Dual messaging: Consumer most likely only keeps one message in mind. Either the brand ABC or the retailer he`d be going to
- Staff is not necessarily familiar with the range in shape and sizes of ABC products, making the consultation for a perfectly sized bra difficult
- Unknown variable: ABC doesn`t have ownership over the consumer experience at their branded booth
- Shift from the brand experience: Retailer invites consumers to visit the store saying they also have other brands than ABC
What other locations/events for ABC can you think of?
They are testing a shift from the active to maternity branding at an upcoming baby show, for example
While ABCs primary objective was communicational, what other objectives do the pop-ups pursue?
- Experiential through custom-fitting
- Transactional: ABC is aiming to create brand awareness to ultimately maximize sales. Ideally consumers would even go to specialist retailers asking for the ABC brand
- Testing: Since ABC doesn’t have its own stores, the pop-ups allow them to gain a better understanding of their customers and test new products
Key Learning Objectives
- Getting started with pop-up shops
- Exploring different formats to begin with
- Awareness of the different costs associated with pop-ups
- Importance of finding the right location that targets customers aligning with the organization`s business objectives
- Pop-up shops as a tool for continuous learning
- Pop-ups evolve over time
Divas Running Series (n.d.). Sponsorship and exhibitors. Retrieved from www.runlikeadiva.com
Goodlife Fitness Toronto Marathon (n.d.). expo booth rental. Retrieved from www.torontomarathon.com