As I was scrolling through Instagram last week, I saw this post by @instagramforbusinessInstagram. It’s aimed towards brands, agencies and SMBs.
Brandless is an online retailer selling food, household and personal care products. This was the story about a pop up store in Los Angeles. Brandless sells everything on their website, including their membership fee. All of their products are in line with the values and preferences many consumers have today. Brandless sells merchandise “that are non-GMO, organic, fair trade and kosher.
Brandless was the first company I encountered at the 2018 NRF Big Show. I still remember being fascinated. Their business model was interesting to me, so I made a mental note of it and will keep my eyes open for them.
That is why I was so excited to see the Instagram post about Brandless’ first pop-up store.
This article will recount my experiences at Brandless and offer some tips for your pop-up ventures.
Use a pop-up shop to tell your story and showcase your values
It’s not a new idea for an online business to open a pop-up shop. Many ecommerce companies have discovered that physical retail can create a connection with customers that digital channels cannot match.
Pop-up stores allow you to tell your story in engaging and exciting ways. This allows you to show and tell people about your passions.
This was achieved by Brandless’ popup shop. Through signage, wall decor and other fixtures, the brand’s values, i.e. safety and ethical product sourcing, integrity, were promoted constantly in the store.
These values were also shared by the people who participated in the project. The company invited influencers and experts to educate guests about nutrition, wellness, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility. (Learn more about this later.)
The key takeaway:Pop-up stores are more than just a place to sell your merchandise. This is a chance to tell and show your brand’s values and story. When you launch your pop-up store, think about how you will communicate your brand’s story and what you can do in the store to reinforce those key messages.
What will you do to market the space? What type of signs and fixtures will you use to market the space? What are some experts or influencers you could invite to help spread your message
These questions are essential to ask when you’re conceptualizing your popup.
How about sales?
A pop-up shop will help you build stronger relationships with your customers, and increase brand perception. It can also drive sales and signups in the case Brandless.
Pop-ups can help bridge the “touch and feel gap” many consumers have when shopping online. This is why ecommerce merchants find the concept so appealing. This allows shoppers to try your products before making a purchase.
Brandless again did this very well. Their pop-up was used to show off their products, allowing people to touch, feel and, in some cases, even taste them.
They offered free coffee and tea, as well as a variety of food products that I could try. The company’s merchandise was even available in the bathrooms. Everything, from the toilet paper and hand soap to the hand soap was — guess what? — brand new.
To top it all? I was sent a post-event email and a $9 credit for my first Brandless purchase the day after I visited their store. I was even able to create an account, which removed all of the hassle. It was easy to activate my account, and then start shopping.
The key takeaway:Consider your primary goals for the pop-up. Do you want to make a branding play of it or drive sales through the effort? If the former, map out your guest’s shopping journey and remove any obstacles.
How can someone become a paying customer from a pop-up visitor?
The Brandless pop-up shop created a follow-up email to give shoppers store credit and create an account.
What can you do to make customer journeys easier?
Make the pop-up experience memorable
The Brandless pop-up was not only a well-stocked store but also had many other things that made it more memorable. These are my top picks:
Instamable moments – Brandless’ pop-up shop offered many opportunities for customers to capture some great shots for the ‘gram. The store also featured some Instagram walls where guests could pose for photos.
Event in-stores – Brandless’ pop-up store offered an immersive experience through workshops, panel discussions and classes, which were hosted by industry professionals and influencers. All of these events were in keeping with the company’s values regarding health, wellness and community as well as social responsibility.
The Finding Your Truth:Yoga Workshop Infused With Sufi Remembrance Techniques was a session I attended that included lesser-known spiritual attunement techniques. It was a wonderful class that allowed me to get away from the hustle and bustle of LA for an hour. It was an experience I will never forget.
Goodie bagsGoodie bags are a great way to end an event. Brandless provided tote bags containing their products to event attendees, which allowed them to take home even more Brandless merchandise.
The key takeaway:You need to ensure that pop-up shops are as popular as ever. Giving people something tangible to remember your store is one of the best ways to do so.
How do you go about it? Encourage people to take pictures. It’s not difficult and your guests will be more likely to share their experiences on social media if given the opportunity.
Designate a space in your store for social media. Encourage sharing. If you are collaborating with influencers and experts, allow them to spend plenty of time with your guests. (
Take-home samples are another way to make the pop-up experience more tangible. Make goodie bags with products people can use at home.
There is always room for improvement
Although the Brandless pop-up shop was well executed, I believe they could have done more for curb appeal. It looked just like any other shop from the outside. Nothing gave passers-by any clue that there were so many cool events happening inside.
A more prominent signage system and curbside elements would have been a plus for the store (perhaps a sandwich board in front).
The key takeaway:A strong digital marketing strategy is vital. However, don’t forget to consider the offline aspects of your business. It’s not often that online retailers have the opportunity to reach offline customers. This is a great opportunity to attract people to your store.
How can you make your store stand out to passers-by, even if they are not familiar with your brand? Is there anything you can do to attract local traffic to go along with your digital marketing efforts?
Overall, the Brandless pop up store did a fantastic job in their first attempt. The shop felt like the physical embodiment and did an excellent job in educating the community and converting people into new members.
Brandless has a lot of great ideas to help you come up with your next pop-up store. You’ll find inspiration here, I promise.