Elevate your shoe brand with a pop up shop
Pop up shops can be a great way to get your shoe brand on the feet of consumers. Speaking directly to potential wearers of your products can help in the following ways:
- Make sales! Nothing beats a conversation with the founder for turning window shoppers into purchasers
- Get early feedback on your first small production run – use this to inform range decisions and future order quantities
- Increase awareness of your company and product offer in a specific geographic area
- Create a buzz around your brand by encouraging people trying on your shoes to take shoe selfies and post them on social media
- Try out an area you’re considering opening a permanent store in
- If you’re struggling to get your brand into wholesale accounts, pop up store sales data added to any e-commerce sales will add credibility to your sales pitch
- Turn e-commerce abandoned baskets into completed sales – because when you’ve seen and touched a shoe in real life and tried it on your feet, you’re more likely to buy it. See my article ‘Do you buy shoes with your hands?‘. The sale could occur in the pop-up shop, but it might come later via m-commerce.
There are many more reasons why investing in a pop up shoe shop is a good idea for a shoe brand. Please add your thoughts in the comments.
Having never run a pop up shop myself, I thought I’d ask an expert in the psychology of retail for some tips.
Richard, in terms of merchandising and display, would you recommend keeping it simple or creating an intricate and intriguing set up?
Very much dependent on the brand and it’s values. I’d look to create a scheme that showcases ‘star’ product rather than overwhelm with choice but a mass brand might find success using the ‘compression’ colour technique; where large blocks or stacks of multiple product in a single colour have a strong attraction value.
Peloton have delivered the best pop-up I’ve seen recently; where product was necessarily kept to a minimum and instead the space used to create a feeling of the brand. Now, big exercise machines are a different sell and different VM [visual merchandising] to shoes but it’s a good lesson in branding a pop-up nonetheless.
What are your views on including show cards in the display e.g. with lifestyle (on foot) images, product or company information?
Everything you do must be in service of the customer. To understand what a customer wants from you, think of everything that gets in their way and makes it harder for them to spend money with you. Then consider what that customer gets from buying from you, it’s more than product; it’ll include things like the service, the curation, the theatre and elements such as social and eco variables. That’s friction versus reward (FvR) and it helps you to identify what elements of your space a customer needs, what gets in the way, and what you can deliver within the experience and from the branding that a customer might get excited by.
The lower the friction and the higher the reward, the more likely you’ll get a sale.
What is the best way to use window space?
Windows can do one of three things: inform, inspire or intrigue. Inform includes things like communicating a sale price. Inspire is a focused instruction that relates your product to its context ‘Spring shoes for April Showers!’
Intrigue is where the bizarre and off-beat lives and can often be very, very effective. My favourite window ever is in this last category: Paul Smith on Floral Street had a single dressed mannequin in the window with simple vinyl lettering that read “These are nice shoes, aren’t they?” but you couldn’t see the shoes, you had to go over to the window and peer beyond the lower solid fascia that hid the shoes. I watched for ages and loads and loads of people went and did exactly that. It was like a tractor-beam of attention.
Tony Morgan’s books on visual merchandising are packed with some of the best advice and examples in this area.
How can you turn a pop-up shop into an emotionally enriching customer experience?
Million dollar question but a good start is to understand your brand purpose. What’s the big idea? Why do you exist? Be honest and authentic with that purpose, see it through. Definitely do the FvR exercise too; you’ll discover so much that can surface the real opportunities you have to be emotionally and usefully engaging.
Do you have any other tips on making a pop-up shop commercially successful as well as building brand equity?
Don’t ever forget that the best way to build your brand is to put your shoes on as many delighted customers’ feet as possible.
Thank you for your thought-provoking answers Richard!
You can find Richard and his company here:
and buy his book:
If you’re considering investing in a pop-up shop for your shoe brand but aren’t sure how it fits into your business strategy, please get in touch. I’d love to help you make the very best decisions for your brand.