How do you take that famous pop up energy and infuse it into an online store? First of all, keep your store as people-focused as possible, and don’t get jaded by the industry. Remember to really thank customers, have close relationships with your suppliers, and connect with your passion frequently. Don’t lose that unique pop up vibe and always keep things quirky & interesting. Here is how you can go from pop up pro to ecommerce maverick. (Ecommerce newbies should take note – these strategies will help you store stand out in a sea of gray).

Market with passion and flair

We don’t let pop ups pass us by.

Pop up shops stand out from the crowd and drive footfall with clever marketing strategies.

How can you market like a pop up? Adopt the following strategies and make them your own:

Attitude
Pop ups make the most of their transient existence. They sing, dance, and burst with energy and vibrancy during their short life. They have an attitude about everything that they do – bold names, statements, and a strong visual presence mark them out. To be brave at marketing, you need the right marketing attitude. Do like pop ups and make your marketing stand out. Be brave about your product and what you want to say – go beyond just stating the obvious benefits to really connecting with your ‘why’.

Urgency
Urgency is one way to convert shoppers into buyers. You need urgency to close a sale, but you don’t want to run the risk of sounding desperate. Pop up urgency is less about the ‘selling everything for a dollar’ kind of urgency, and more about the exclusivity of your product offering. Signal to shoppers in a subtle way that your products are unique and won’t be around for long. (Stock level counters are one great way to do this).

The ‘It’ Factor
Pop ups appeal to the ‘cool’ people (but not in a judgey way). They appeal to people who know what’s worth seeing, doing, and buying. Make sure your marketing campaigns appeal to savvy shoppers who demand a lot from a brand – class and substance. Get featured in the right online publications and be associated with online influencers like bloggers and vloggers. You want your online store to seem like an insider secret the cool kids just had to share..

Go for the right aesthetic

What do pop ups shops usually look like? Slightly temporary, they generally radiate a shabby chic energy, or then they go for a full-on cutesy vibe.

Embrace the pop up aesthetic with a site that looks ‘real’ rather than glossy. You don’t want an online store that looks templated or out of the box – it will make your products seem blah too.

  • Don’t be afraid of embracing industrial chic. Industrial settings can really make a product sing – we all love pops of colour in the dark. Experiment with your product photography to come up with some interesting juxtapositions.
  • Cute personalised touches in your store design like mascots and banners can help your store stand out, but don’t make the design so cluttered that you end up ruining the user-experience. Less is more.

Know your suppliers

Great products come from great suppliers and great supplier relationships.

  • Don’t neglect local suppliers for the Aladdin’s cave of AliBaba – people nearby can do more than you think. Speak to local business and go to local tradeshows – it’s great to support businesses around you; they probably have a ton of awesome products that just need to shared with the world.
  • Dealing with quirky, arty suppliers and stocking a few ‘wildcard products’ is a great way to experiment with diversifying your product offering.
  • Always look for exclusive deals with designers and suppliers – it’s great to be able to offer something that no one else can.

Get involved in the local community

Pop ups are very good at community marketing – do the same online. Just because you are operating online, doesn’t mean that you should forget the people around you.

  • Find stores in non-competing verticals and team up for a big marketing drive by hosting competitions or giveaways. You might even want to sign up for some co-marketing or referral schemes if it makes sense for your niche.
  • Work with vloggers and bloggers on a regular basis – team up for product reviews and guest blogs in order to spread your brand voice far and wide.
  • Engage with your social media followers – thank people for follows, shares, and retweets. If someone makes the effort to leave you a review, some nice feedback, or comment on your post – acknowledge it. By engaging with people you are making both them and yourself look good. Word of mouth referrals and an active social media community are ecommerce gold – don’t waste the opportunity by ignoring your future brand advocates.

Surprise people with something different

Great, another cartoon online t shirt store… There is nothing wrong with selling cartoon t shirts online, but if you really want to build a brand and make a name for yourself – it might make sense to sell something a bit more unique.

How to be different?

  • Sell a group of products people haven’t seen together before. Combine herbal tea with books, socks with stationery and make it your ‘thing’.
  • Invest in selling collectors’ items like comic books – these products are very specialist and have a high markup.
  • Why not invest in the subscription box model? They are becoming more and more popular and can be adapted to pretty much any niche.
  • Interesting designs and exclusive art prints can make even the dullest product interesting. Plain canvas totes, t shirts and mobile cover cases can all be given a new lease of life with a cool design. And even regular stuff can look a lot more cool with clever product photography and styling.
  • Borrow designs and patterns from all over the world (Polish design, Zambian cloth, Swedish print) – the world is your digital oyster.

Hopefully these marketing and branding ideas have got you all fired up to face the challenges of online selling in 2017. What pop up strategy do you think is going to make the biggest difference to you this year?

Written by EcommerceTips
Patrick Foster, ecommerce coach & entrepreneur.