Mobile Showrooms for Fashion Brands
You’ve probably seen, and maybe even shopped in, a mobile pop-up shop — they’re everywhere. Consumers see them as a visually appealing, novel, fun way to shop — but for the businesses behind pop-ups, these temporary locations represent an opportunity to increase sales, experiment with new or unique shopping experiences, or test the waters in a market without the expense or risk associated with a long-term lease. Pop-up retail is more than a passing fad; here are some reasons why, and some tips for making your pop-up successful.
What are mobile pop up shops?
A mobile pop-up shop is simply a retail location set up in a high-traffic area that’s designed to be temporary, and capable of moving from location to location with minimum hassle. Mobile pop-ups for fashion brands are increasingly common, and the mobile model has been used by everyone from athletic shoe brands to high-fashion brands. Whether they look like RVs, school buses, or rolling aquariums, all are designed to create an engaging, memorable shopping experience.
Why do businesses create pop-up shops?
“A pop-up store can look like a regular store,” according to Storefront, an online marketplace for renting short-term retail spaces. “But many brands use them to create unique and engaging physical shopping experiences because they provide flexibility and the opportunity to experiment with less risk.” Here’s a breakdown on the reasons behind choosing mobile pop-ups:
Test the waters
Pop-ups give brands an opportunity to see how potential customers in a new area — whether that’s a different region of the country, a college campus, or a neighborhood on the other side of the city — respond to the brand, and what they respond to. They also create a means of testing new styles and trends, giving your business valuable info to help adapt to consumers’ tastes.
Market the business
By their nature, mobile pop-ups for fashion brands are novel, unexpected, and eye-catching. We expect to see trucks selling food and beverages, but high-end clothes, athletic apparel, jewelry? Potential customers can’t help but take notice. This makes pop-ups a great way to both increase sales and market your brand.
Increase seasonal revenue
Pop-up shops offer ”an ideal, low-commitment way for brands to attract foot traffic and get in front of high-intent customers for the holiday season—and really for any time of the year they need to rev up revenue and brand visibility,” according to business insurance company Thimble.
Launch a physical storefront
Online-only businesses and those with few or remote locations can use pop-ups as “a great way to reap the benefits of having a central brick-and-mortar location” without many of the risks associated with leasing a space.
How can my fashion brand use mobile pop-up shops to drive sales?
Create personalized experiences
For both prospective and existing customers, a mobile showroom creates an opportunity to interact with your brand and explore your products in person. Customers who visit your pop-up can touch your products and view colors and patterns in natural light, live and in-person — aspects of the clothes-buying experience consumers rely on to make decisions, and which no website can match.
In-person experiences not only recruit new customers, they also enhance brand loyalty and trust by creating a memorable firsthand experience. After exploring a pop-up, customers feel like they’ve “been to” your brand, and that makes your brand distinctive to them.
Soft-launch new products
A mobile pop-up shop is a great way to soft launch a new line or concept. “This way, if the product you’re testing or the area you’re scouting doesn’t prove to be a success, then you can go back to the drawing board without many sunk costs,” explains Thimble. You can also use the pop-up to gather feedback and insights from customers to help improve those new products or change the way they’re marketed.
Move old product
Because a mobile pop-up is separate from your brand’s physical locations, it’s a great opportunity to move last season’s leftovers without taking up valuable space in your brick-and-mortar store. “Stock a pop-up shop with any surplus goods you’ve been sitting on,” Thimble suggests, “and come up with a quippy branding story to make the collection more cohesive.”
How can I promote my pop-up?
Because mobile showrooms are temporary, social media is essential for promoting them in advance as well as for advertising the pop-up experience already under way. “By actively responding to comments, initiating conversations, and seeking user-generated content, you create a genuine connection and loyalty among your followers, ultimately fuelling increased visibility and success,” according to a post by Boss Magazine.
User-generated content is an important piece of any pop-up’s success. Consider creating Instagrammable backdrops or installations for customers to photograph, and encourage them to post about your pop-up by suggesting hashtags or offering small premiums for posting, like a discount, a T-shirt, or another small favor.
How can I find the best location for my brand’s pop-up?
Fashion brands considering mobile pop-ups as a sales and marketing tactic should do their market research before choosing a location. Determine who your audience is, and choose your location to put your mobile shop where your potential customers are.
An experiential marketing agency like Promobile Marketing has experience building out — and selecting the best location for your pop-up.
Don’t forget about events: festivals, concerts, farmers’ markets, holiday shopping events, expos, and other spaces with temporarily high attendance can be a great recipe for success.
“Mobility grants the opportunity to strategically position the store in high-traffic areas or engage with a target audience at events, effectively increasing brand awareness and potential sales,” explains Boss Magazine. The advantage of a mobile pop-up store is that it’s even less rooted in one location than a non-mobile pop-up, so you can follow your audience.
Are pop-up shops worth the investment?
While the cost varies depending on what kind of mobile pop-up experience you plan to offer, in general mobile pop-ups are a bargain compared to the cost of leasing, setting up, and maintaining a bricks-and-mortar location.
Pop-up shops are well worth investing in for the impact they produce. The unique experience provided by a mobile pop-up, and the exposure they create for your brand, more than justify the expense. The lower startup cost and lesser commitment than a lease are only the most obvious benefits.
Pop-ups typically have increased sales vs brick-and-mortar locations. “Pop-up shops can be a great way to boost your revenue,” according to Storefront. “In fact, they can often bring in 20-30% more revenue than a traditional brick-and-mortar store.”
Increased brand awareness
Pop-ups also have a built-in marketing value. A mobile showroom puts your brand directly in the path of potential customers — it’s hard to think of a way to boost brand awareness more significantly than that.
But pop-ups also convert casual visitors to customers rapidly; because of the urgency created by their temporary nature, a mobile showroom drives customers to make impulse buys.
Direct engagement with customers
Fashion businesses have used mobile showrooms to host events, give away freebies, and offer product demonstrations. You can also use the smaller scale and more personal interactions that come with pop-ups as an opportunity to engage with customers. Rather than spending thousands on market research, you can just talk to customers directly.
Promobile Marketing is a dynamic experiential marketing agency based in New York City. For over a decade, Promobile Marketing has collaborated with a range of brands—from budding startups to major CPG brands—on immersive marketing campaigns. Get in touch to discuss your next project.