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Pop-up shops get social


As brands use pop-up stores to create new retail experiences, more companies are leveraging social media to advertise these spaces and build customer excitement before and during the shops’ tenures.

“Retail is all about experiences, so companies need to find ways to keep customers thinking about their brand or product before they arrive, and after they leave your retail space,” Jeffrey Baker, president and creative director of experiential and environmental design firm Image 4, said at the SPECS session, “What’s Popping in Pop-Ups.”

“Social media is often driven by visualization, which makes it a great fit for pop-ups,” Baker said. “Customers want to be engaged. It’s up to the brand to learn the best place to interact with its audience, and create the messages that will drive them to the pop-up.”

Footwear brand Ecco used its social media presence to promote its pop-up store tour this past fall.

The pop-up, used to introduce Ecco’s new Shape line of women’s shoes, highlighted the footwear on a lighted wall. It also featured video content, a runway show and a four-surface walkway for customers to try on and experience the fit of the shoes. All customers received a discount to purchase the shoes online or in stores. The store tour visited locations in Atlanta, Dallas, Las Vegas, San Francisco and King of Prussia, Pa. Each location was open for only 48 hours.

To ensure it would drive customers to the pop-up spaces, Ecco posted pictures and videos on Snapchat “to promote the product and upcoming runway shows.
It also gave followers the ability to share and tag the brand and merchandise,” Baker said.

Once the pop-up launched, the company localized messages on its Facebook page to drive attendance to each store, and to extend conversation once the tour moved on to the next city.

“Imagery creates the experience,” Baker said. “These images made the merchandise and pop-up more visible, and the discounts delivered at the event drove in-store traffic after the tour.”


Lids also leveraged the power of its social media community when it launched Super Bowl-related venues. The company’s first shop, called the Lids Locker Room Fan Experience, coincided with the 2012 Super Bowl. The 23,000-sq.-ft. pop-up set up shop for 10 days in an empty Nordstrom department store that was located in the game’s hosting city of Indianapolis.

In addition to game-related merchandise, the space featured a mock football field with bleachers and a football-shaped sculpture created with white baseball caps hung from the second floor ceiling. The shop also featured tailgating-inspired games, as well as seats to play the latest Madden NFL video game.

Lids used Facebook to get the word out.

“This was the early days of social media, but Lids still knew Facebook was valuable,” Baker said. “They used Facebook to post images of what was happening in the space, in hopes of encouraging shoppers to visit the store and join the experience.”

Social media efforts helped drive store traffic, which hit approximately 70% of the space’s physical capacity for 70% of its operating hours, he added.

Lids hosted two more Super Bowl pop-ups in 2013 and 2014. Both relied on social media to tell the story. For example, the two pop-ups featured monitors that had Twitter and Facebook feeds of online trivia games. Winners received digital coupons that could be redeemed for prizes in their local store.

“The use of social media has matured greatly since then, but the goal remains the same,” Baker said. “There needs to be a fusion of actual and virtual retailing, and social media helps bring them together.”

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