Much has been written in the UK about the demise of the traditional retail outlet. Some adversely affected by the recession, others by the rise of on-line powerhouses such as Amazon and eBay, and of course the rise of the out-of-town super store that we have all become accustomed to and use frequently and conveniently.
In my own home town of Henley On Thames there appears to have been an endless merry-go-round of stores coming and going. Yet there still remain the bastions of service, quality and choice like our local butcher and fishmongers.
There are also the local produce markets which vary wildly in range and quality of goods.
However the rise of the on-line specialist store using direct marketing, web sites and social media, and indirect means such as Etsy and eBay is a welcome addition to the consumer’s choice. Unburdened by the overheads associated with having to maintain Retail premises these businesses must strive to build reputations without meeting their customers face to face.
However just in the same way as Pop Up Restaurants became a viable choice for restaurant owners so too have events, festivals, and sporting occasions offered a suitable platform for retail businesses. Now, with joined up marketing and publicity these niche business can grow and take their brands to the buying public directly, albeit for short periods of the year.
Skandic Hus is just such a business. They are a good example of an ex-bricks and mortar business that has evolved into a sophisticated on line brand supported by appearances at carefully selected events. According to their website they provide a “unique selection of items from designers in Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, Skandic Hus offers a collection of stylish and innovative products.”
This niche approach works well when translated into the pop up shop/stall dynamic. The traditions and rules of good retailing still apply though. They have to make your stall stand out just in the same way that an on-line brand or retail store does. WellChild’s Christmas Fair in the Cotswolds, Daylesford Organic Farm is just such an example. A fantastic venue for such an event in the heart of the Cotswolds. Cramped for space the retailer needs to combine the best of their brand along with the right amount of stock. This should be the same stock as offered on line but also consideration should be given to offer something unique to customers visiting the event. The Skandic Hus store at Dayelsford is shown in the photograph below. The christmas flavour comes across strongly with major billing here being given to Swedish “Tomte’ , fabrics and candles. For this of you that do not know about Tomtes I managed to get up close and personal with a couple. (See below).
The online/pop up is a great way to market for young growing companies as well as an excellent vehicle for offering local businesses a wider stage on which to perform. The success of this approach will be predicated on an integrated marketing mix leveraging of public relations, on-line marketing and social media. Oh and lest I forget, a lot of hard work, dedication, passion and perseverance.