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op-up shops are an increasingly popular way for e-commerce retailers to boost brand awareness. It allows retailers a short-term, low-risk outlet for establishing in-person relationships with their customers.

Given the short-term nature of pop-ups, brands have very limited opportunity to make an impression. It’s not enough to simply showcase your product in a temporary brick-and-mortar shop. In order to establish strong customer relationships, a pop-up needs to offer its visitors a memorable customer experience.

But how do you do that? Broken down below are 4 ways to build customer experience at a pop-up:

Demonstrate Your Value

Pop-up shops are a great way to engage with new customers, but they can also be useful for strengthening relationships with existing customers too. One way of doing this is by utilizing a pop-up as a space for providing unique services. Customers become attracted to the store not just for the products it showcases, but also for the possibility of experiencing something interesting.

One example of this is the Hermès “HermèsMatic” campaign in New York City and Paris. Existing customers were invited to a stylized “laundromat” where they could bring their Hermès scarves and have them revived using a special dyeing process, all at no cost to them. Meanwhile, new customers were given a special opportunity to purchase a one-of-a-kind product in a unique environment.

Unique experiences don’t even have to involve the product at all. In 2015, the Dutch Airline KLM created an experiential pop-up to promote its American international flights. The idea was to provide visitors a taste of Dutch culture, offering an art installation, listening booth, and even a nightclub featuring Dutch DJs. Though KLM wasn’t focused on selling flights, the memorable experiences they offered allowed them to establish and strengthen customer relationships.

Product Samples and Demos

No matter how technologically advanced the website, browsing products online just doesn’t compare to seeing them in person. Pop-ups offer a solution to this, allowing customers to see for themselves what the brand is offering.

Still, a pop-up is a special, limited time experience and should offer more than just an opportunity to see the products in real life. Creative product trials are one way this can be achieved. Offering an entertaining way to interact with products provides an extra incentive for customers to visit the pop-up.

In 2016, BarkBox, a dog product subscription box company, created a pop-up that allowed dogs to shop for themselves. Utilizing tech-enabled dog vests and toys, the dogs’ owners were able to view in real time which toys the dogs played with the most and purchase them on-site.

The natural cosmetics company Lush also focused on product samples at “Lush in the Park.” Visitors to the Chicago pop-up were treated to a personalized sampling of recommended products as Lush staff prepared those products right in front of them.

The ultimate goal of a pop-up is to create a closer relationship to your brand. Using your pop-up to offer a more intimate experience with your product is one effective way of accomplishing this goal.

Special Events

Your pop-up doesn’t have to be limited to showing products. It can also be a space for hosting special events on topics related to your brand. Doing so attracts your target audience, establishing connections with potential new customers.

Take Kodak, for example. The camera company created the “Kodakery” pop-up to promote the launch of their first smartphone. The space was multi-functional, and featured everything from instructional workshops about the phone to photography masterclasses. The activities at the Kodakery were open to professional and amateur photographers, and also offered visitors access to exclusive merchandise.

Offering valuable experiences in addition to your product has its rewards. It can be a highly effective way to authentically engage with customers and get them talking about your brand.

Brand Education

Putting a well-written mission or values statement on your website is nice, but sharing your mission with your customers in-person is even better. Focusing on your mission can be rewarding--an estimated 64% of people cite shared values as the main reason they have a relationship with a brand. Targeting those customers with a values-focused pop-up can be a perfect opportunity to grow relationships with them.

In 2016, the feminine care brand Kotex incorporated their values into a cheeky, relatable pop-up called “The Period Shop.” Kotex partnered with local artisans to offer a selection of products that women may need or want during that time of the month, from accessories to home goods to beauty products. The concept succeeded because it was fun and honest, but also because it was part of a multi-year social impact campaign. The Period Shop also served as Kotex’s platform for living out its values by increasing awareness about feminine care issues.

While all of these methods are useful to create a memorable customer experience, execution is just as important as ideas. If you want to understand what the best practices are before launching your pop-up, we made a free checklist of everything you need to do before your pop-up launches.

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