E-tailer Winter Market

E-Tailers: Try Out a Brick-and-Mortar Add-On Strategy with Pop-Up Locations

Home decor e-tailer Havenly is based in Denver, but opened a pop-up store first time across the country in Boston, according to Business Journals. While their first brick-and-mortar location opening as a temporary one across the country might seem a stretch, for Havenly, joining a group of temporary retail spaces devoted to women-founded brands made brand sense.

“I love that we’re part of a [pop-up] community supporting women in business,” CEO and co-founder Lee Mayer told the Journals.

The new trend of clicks-to-bricks

E-commerce accounts for 10 percent of all U.S. retail sales, according to the federal government. That leaves the remaining 90 percent for more traditional sales, such as physical stores.

Online retailers like Amazon, Warby Parker, and Bonobos have been moving into physical sales spaces, notes the Dallas Morning News, to capture dollars from shoppers who prefer in-person options. Google, the ultimate online business, even opened pop-ups in Los Angeles and New York in 2017 to promote its Pixel phones.

People Still prefer stores

Beyond the sales figures, an overwhelming 70 percent of consumers prefer brick-and-mortar shops, according to an Apparel magazine survey. This preference holds true during the one of the busiest and most intense times for retailers — the end-of-year holiday season.

Shopping is more than an errand for consumers. People want to see, feel, and examine products. A retailer that restricts itself to the Internet limits its operations.

Outdoor Shopping Summer

Need for pop-ups during the holidays

Most e-commerce retailers can’t afford to open permanent stores to test expansion into physical retail. Beyond the money, sellers have to learn how to run a traditional retail operation.

Pop-ups offer e-tailers an opportunity to see how physical retail might work for them. A company can test product mixes and expand brand awareness while making sales. The e-tailer can choose a nearby location or pick a major city, even one at a distance, for the experiment. If the pop-up goes well, perhaps that’s a good sign for the possibility of expanding into permanent stores.

The holidays are a great time to try a pop-up since retail locations see more foot traffic during this time of year than at other times. The public is in a buying mood, and the appearance of new brands and products can attract buyer attention.

PODS containers in pop-up testing

Pop-ups do offer challenges to e-commerce companies. Finding a good location is only the first step. The logistics are complex.

The e-tailer must pull together display units, lighting fixtures and other electrical equipment, in addition to the nuts and bolts of point-of-sales systems, signage, and security systems like cameras. The e-tailer will need merchandise and the ability to transport that merchandise to the pop-up location.

A pop-up space may be nothing more than a tent in an event or a mall kiosk with little or no storage. Even a more traditional retail space may have limited room for additional stock, which could mean a need for multiple shipments for replenishment. Such shipments take time, and can slow the sales process. With limited or no storage, personnel must put materials into use immediately.

PODS containers give e-commerce companies an important tool to manage pop-up logistics. The e-tailer can load all of the necessary materials and merchandise into the container at the company’s home location with ground-level, ramp-free loading. Everything necessary remains together to avoid the possible need to coordinate multiple truck deliveries.

PODS will move the container wherever it’s needed using the PODZILLA® patented lift system that keeps everything level and minimizes shifting. PODS can also store the container at a secure PODS Storage Center in advance of the store opening. There is no need to plan on delivery acceptance that may not meet the e-tailer’s schedule.

The seller can have the container at the pop-up location when needed. Just as loading is ramp-free, so is unloading, eliminating the need for access to a loading dock. The container can remain as long as the retailer wants, so work can proceed as needed, rather than work around delivery schedules.

Retail innovation

If a traditional retail space is not available, using a container provides additional flexibility in the pop-up’s operation. Staff can unload and set up displays, equipment, and merchandise in the morning, conduct business throughout the day, and then move everything back and lock the container at night.

With holiday shopping ahead, it is a perfect time for e-commerce businesses to consider a pop-up store. Working with a PODS container can make the logistics and operational processes easier. The firm can then focus on strategy, merchandising, and branding for a greater chance of pop-up success.


Contact the PODS Business Solutions Team at 1-877-BIZ-PODS or email commsupport@pods.com today so we can help you develop solutions tailored to the needs of your business. Visit our website to find out more about our services and get a free quote.

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