As part of the never-ending pursuit to make products and unique experiences available to customers wherever they are, more brands are turning to unconventional or temporary solutions like pop-up shops and even vending machines to draw people in and make a lasting impression.
Offering far from the typical fare of candy bars and soda cans (and at a cost of considerably more quarters), fashion brands and designers have begun experimenting with peddling their wares in such ways. Jewelry designer Marla Aaron recently placed a vending machine at the Brooklyn Museum in New York, featuring seven of her gold and silver chains and pendants, priced from $100-$500. Uniqlo placed a series of its Uniqlo To Go vending machines in 10 malls and airports across the US, including Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco, offering an assortment of some of the brand’s most popular items.
Part of the appeal of vending machines or pop-up shops is giving digital-only brands a physical retail presence. It also cuts labor costs, since the machines operate autonomously and require no human operator, and renting space for a vending machine is a faction of the price of a costly retail storefront.

Uniqlo To Go

Pop-up Stores as an Omnichannel Solution

Marla Aaron vending machine

Pop-up Stores as an Omnichannel Solution
 Part of the appeal of vending machines or pop-up shops is giving digital-only brands a physical retail presence. It also cuts labor costs, since the machines operate autonomously and require no human operator, and renting space for a vending machine is a faction of the price of a costly retail storefront.
Pop-up shops can also bolster a brand’s e-commerce presence in physical space, offering return or same-day delivery services, and can serve as temporary spaces to transact business as needed. Zara recently opened a 200 square meter pop-up shop in a London mall while the brand’s full-size, 4,500 square meter store in the mall undergoes renovations, due to be completed in May. Zara CEO Pablo Isla told Retail Dive that the pop-up store concept fits into its “strategy of integrating our stores with the online world, which defines our identity as a business.”
Beauty brands are getting in on the pop-up shop craze as well, using the buzz generated around the temporary storefronts as event spaces, hosting everything from hair and makeup lessons, expert speaker panels and even fitness classes. The spaces serve as a marketing tool as much as a place customers can make purchases, and is a natural progression of brands’ continued marketing budget shift from media to physical stores.
Brands like The Nue Co., Clique Brand’s Byrdie (in partnership with Nordstrom), and online retailer Revolve have all recently opened pop-up shops or “beauty labs” featuring celebrity hairstylists, yoga and meditation classes, Q&As with brand founders and other memorable and attention-grabbing events. The locations might be temporary, but the brands are hoping the impressions made on customers will last far beyond the tenure of the shops themselves.

Revolve Pop-up 

Clique Brand’s Byrdie Pop-Up

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