Tattoo INC.  


TattooINC. is a local brand that offers temporary tattoos for purchase. It is a relatively young brand that has been scaling its business entirely through e-commerce.

However, while the online sales channel provides emerging businesses with a relatively low risk but high potential platform to start the business, online sales still only reached about 9% of all retail sales in 2016. With the objective to expand its business and target additional segments, TattooINC. has been experimenting with temporary, physical pop—up shops over the past year.


TattooINC. offers its customers a large variety of designed tattoos as well as freehand ink.  Their tattoos provide the look and feel of a real tattoo while only lasting for up to 14 days. The company`s vision is to establish such temporary body art as a creative mean for self-expression. TattooINC. allows designers across the world to submit designs to their website and offers a tool to customize one`s own tattoo. As such, TattooINC has established itself as a popular online retailer with an engaged and active online community over the past few years. However, in order to further expand its business, TattooINC. ran a couple of temporary pop-up shops in a vibrant and trendy neighborhood that is home to many local businesses in downtown Toronto in 2016. In 2017 it further evolved its pop-up activities by partnering with a brand-new retail concept in a popular mainstream mall.


The new retail concept named Contos was initiated by the landlord of the space and a local design firm. The space is 3,600 Square feet and hosts a number of rotating small and local merchants for a limited period of time. TattooINC. was occupying about a sixth of the space for a 3months period. Other merchants included local fashion brands and a milkshake café. The initiators of Contos aimed to make the space attractive through adding rotating, trendy and local brands amongst the mainly large chain and luxury retailers.

Whereas TattooINC benefitted through being able to afford retail space in such popular mall which usually requires expensive monthly rents and a long-term commitment. TattooInc leveraged inisghts from its online sales and offered the 100 most popular designs for purchase in the store. Furthermore, it created a real tattoo experience by adding a couple of chairs and offering customers to have the tattoos applied by TattooINC experts for no additional charge within the store.

Pop-Up Details

Location: Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Toronto

Student Questions

The pop-up shops in 2016 and 2017 differed in its locations.

What do you think was the major difference with regards to the customers it attracted?  

  • With Tattoo INC. being an ecommerce retailer both physical pop-up shop locations allowed them to create brand presence, attract new customers and add personal interaction for a limited period of time without long commitments (e.g. lease)
  • However, due to the large online community for such trendy product, the first location rather was representative of where existing customers already were
  • Whereas, the second location in a mainstream mall, provided TattooINC with additional potential customer acquisition opportunities and exposure to new customer segments

The pop-up shop pursues numerous objectives. Which ones?

  • Communicational: raising brand awareness among existing and new customers
  • Experiential: providing a real tattoo experience in the store but without the long-term commitment, adding personal interaction, due to the novelty of such tattoos a store provides customers with a better opportunity to see the results before making the purchase decision
  • Transactional: Increase sales to new and existing customers
  • Testing: the temporary storefront may serve as a test scenario for evaluating the opening of brick-and-mortar locations for their long-term retailing strategy

Key Learning Objectives

  • Importance of ecommerce as a convenient tool for emerging business, but the potential for brick-and-mortar retail still is enormous and not to be neglected
  • Importance of locations for targeting the right customer segments

Statista (n.d.). E-commerce share of total global retail sales from 2015 to 2021. Statista statistics portal. Retrieved August 16, 2017 from E-commerce Share of Retail Sales Worldwide/