The economy has not been golden for about 10+ years and the result has been major and minor retailers have been shuttering their businesses for quite a while. To name a few: Sears, Montgomery Wards, Sports Authority, Family Christian, Kids R’ Us, Thom McAn, Warner Bros. Studio Store, Mervyn’s, The Limited, Eckerd Drug Stores, Rexall, Super RX, Circuit City, Radio Shack, Comp USA (the list is in the hundreds) and about 30 major department stores, which adds up to several hundred divisional stores. This has caused a massive inventory of retail space in strip malls and major malls across America.
This has led to a new model, mimicking the already popular POP UP Gallery strategy, allowing you to be able to lease space for as little as a week, a month or a quarter, depending on your project or event – according to The New York Times. What does this mean for you? Let’s take a look.
The Internet has created unprecedented opportunities for individuals with keen business sense and little capital. Building high-quality websites with great user experiences (UX) and professional content, startups have been able to build huge followings through the use of social media driving traffic to their websites. The effect has been SO powerful, Black Friday has taken a hit, according to US NEWS and World Report. It even created Cyber Monday, which in 2016, according to Fortune, topped $3.45 BILLION – online in one day.
However, there’s something satisfying about in-person, walk-in retail that an e-business cannot compete against. To be able to see, smell, touch, try on and speak with a live person – all while getting a great deal and walking away with your purchase. Not to mention the brand evangelists a company can create. That is, until now.
Imagine building a powerful, professional, friendly and inviting web presence. Meeting prospects and customers via social media, driving the traffic to your website and growing a sizeable following. Then be able to build an event at a popular mall or location, promote it through your website and social media networks, without having to plunk down a sizeable deposit and signing a multi-year lease. This is becoming the new normal!
Moreover, imagine partnering with another online vendor who complements yours. You both can promote an event, double up on foot traffic, cross sell and benefit each other. You can do this with multiple vendors and create a themed show. Just sayin…
Now that you’ve had time to absorb the dynamics, think it through. It costs pennies-on the-dollar to create a great website and social-media campaign. You can test your strategy and tactics, and have a good idea of demand. Knowing your demographics, you know how many people are within driving distance of your location, how many may well venture from a longer distance (by RSVPing on Facebook or Evite) and calculate the possible success of your event. And, since it’s a limited time event, the fear of loss adds urgency – a powerful marketing tool.
If you promote it well, add enough sizzle and make sure there’s plenty of steak, you can then create, promote and host an event in a location known to the local population, where you know there would be plenty of foot traffic (location, location, location) and be able to do so without the exorbitant cost of having a long-term lease. Jump in, make a profit, close down and plan your next event – in the same or different location!
This will allow you to offer the best of both worlds, at a fraction of the cost. And if you chose the wrong location, you can pull back, survey your customers and find a better one next time.
So look for pop up events in your area. Savvy business people see the lure and cost effectiveness that it will become an accepted model. The art world has already capitalized on this and proved it works. Now it’s everyone else’s turn.
Do you agree with this model? Please share your opinion and insight.