5 Ways Holiday Pop-Up Shops Can Boost Results

If your stock portfolio included Wayfair this year, you likely haven’t been disappointed with the online home retailer’s performance. In late August, The Motley Fool reported “2018 Could Be This Stock’s Best Year Yet.” At mid-year, it had seen a 48% increase, though the S&P 500 sat just below a 2% uptick. But, it wasn’t what Wayfair executives had predicted. In fact, it was much better, since they had anticipated a slow first quarter after a banner 2017 holiday season. Still, they’re not going to sit idly. Instead, they’ve recently announced two holiday pop-up shops to explore more means for growth.

How Holiday Pop-Up Shops Help Brands Grow

On paper, Wayfair is in excellent shape, having enjoyed a 200% rise since its initial public offering four years ago. But, competitors understand the threat. They’re dropping prices and increasing advertising to try to take back some of the market share. So, Wayfair is making moves to stay ahead. It’s stepping out of its virtual world and engaging its customers in the physical world with intention.

Through its holiday pop up shops, the brand will:

  1. Strengthen its knowledge of its consumers, reinforcing what it knows, filling in holes, and honing its strategy;
  2. Understand customer behaviors in the geographic regions for intelligence and planning;
  3. Personify the brand, encouraging more people to shop online and adding credibility to online reviews;
  4. Appeal to consumers’ senses by letting them see merchandise, touch fabrics, etc.; and
  5. Boost holiday sales by helping visitors place in-store orders for fast delivery.

It’s this tremendous value that has other brands trying their hands at pop-up shops. For example, Google is bringing back its temporary storefronts, timing the opening with the launch of its Pixel 3 smart phones. And, Amazon is teaming up with Good Housekeeping  to feature products with the magazine’s illustrious seal of approval. Visitors will get to test and buy 40 endorsed items at the “GH Lab” in Mall of America. But, pop-up shops aren’t only for online brands and manufacturing brands.

Brick-and-mortar retailers can also use them to boost their bottom lines in the fourth quarter and beyond. Take Party City, for instance, which opened 50 pop-up shops earlier this month to grab the toy business Toys ‘R Us left early this year. Of which, FAO Schwarz will also pursue with pop-up shops in U.S. airports, in London’s Selfridges stores, and other global destinations.

With all this competition, how can event marketers and agencies ensure they see the results they need.

These 5 Ideas Can Boost Results of Holiday Pop-Up Shops

Take your holiday pop-up shop to another level with the following proven ideas.

1. Partner with other brands.

Amazon knows what it’s doing with its Good Housekeeping collaboration. And, it’s not the first time it’s partnered with another brand to boost results of its pop-up shops. Last holiday season, it joined forces with iconic fashion brand Calvin Klein to open shops in NYC and L.A. Visitors could try on Calvin Klein products in fitting rooms that featured Amazon Echo devices, allowing them to control the lighting, play music, or ask questions. They could then buy items in-store or use the Amazon app for home delivery. And, the activation was mutually beneficial.

At the surface, both brands saw cost efficiencies through sharing expenses for these holiday pop-up shops. On a deeper level, Calvin Klein would be exposed to Amazon’s brand fans and others eager to take part in the experience provided by the technology. Amazon could increase sales of its Echo devices. And, it probably garnered sales in several categories when consumers chose to shop the other campaign. This was an online store dubbed “My Calvins” on Amazon’s website. In short, partnering for pop-ups can result in minimal costs, increased brand awareness, and immediate sales for all stakeholders – for maximum value.

2. Offer consumers something of value.

It is important that holiday pop-up shops have value for brands. But, the best way to boost that value is to offer consumers something more than your presence. It’s not rare for shops to bring Santa Claus in for visits with children or to provide gift wrapping services. Still, kicking the incentives up a notch will be more enticing.

Brands that can offer seasonal products or limited-edition items will attract shoppers. This is because 61% visit pop-up shops for that reason alone. In the case of Amazon and Calvin Klein, items purchased in the shops could be made custom with embroidery. Yankee Candle also offered product tailoring in its holiday pop up shop last year. Shoppers selected a candle fragrance and style and chose an image to put on the jar’s label. Others will offer events and workshops to drive traffic, such as FAO Schwarz, which will staff a mechanic to help kids build race cars. Cause marketing campaigns can also lure millennials and others passionate about a topic or charity. This is especially true this time of year when people are more inclined to give.

3. Don’t skimp on staffing.

Consider FAO Schwarz’s car-building experience. What if the mechanic had limited experience in building toy cars? What if he or she didn’t have the personality to work with kids? This would diminish the goal of the activity, which is to win over kids and their parents, too. That makes hiring staff in these critical positions is of the utmost importance.

In fact, per PwC, consumers will pay up to 16% more for a quality experience. And, of the elements necessary for such an experience, human interaction is seen as the most important – and an element that 74% want more of. So, instead of letting any employee give demos or lead workshops this holiday season, trust a product specialist to give a stellar performance. Or, for in-store sampling programs, hire a brand ambassador who can bring a higher level of passion and knowledge to the job. An event staffing agency can provide these skilled individuals to boost your results. At the same time, it removes your burden of hiring, training, and managing seasonal employees.

4. Arouse feelings of nostalgia.

For those who’ve seen the movie “Big,” you know the scene in which Tom Hanks and Robert Loggia play chopsticks on the floor piano in FAO Schwarz. It’s a classic scene and one that most people associate with the toy retailer. So, in its new flagship store, the piano will be a centerpiece. That’s because it’s nostalgic.

In 2016, brain MRIs revealed, “when nostalgia was triggered,” the scanned brains “showed activity in the memory areas and in the parts that give us ‘rewards,’ or positive feelings and sensations.” So, bringing nostalgia into your pop-up shop to bring shoppers positive feelings can only create positive feelings for your brand. And, with Christmas nearly synonymous with nostalgia, your holiday pop-up shops are the perfect time and place. As one article best puts it, in a time of uncertainty, the holiday season is one “of reassurance in the swirl of modern change—an earnest desire for everything to be well.”

To help consumers feel good, Werther’s Original candy erected a life-sized version of an appropriate and childhood favorite game – Candy Land. It was an interactive experience at every turn and enjoyed by kids of all ages, who waited in long lines for their turns. And, though it wasn’t a holiday pop-up, it’s a relevant idea since the game, invented around 70 years ago, has been a Christmas gift for many. So, as event marketers and agencies consider plans for holiday pop-up shops, it’s wise to consider themes and elements like this that evoke nostalgia, whether seasonal treats, toys or games. Their happy emotions allow your brand to become ingrained in happy memories for a merry and bright shopping season.

5. Make it Instagrammable.

Event Marketer reported the Werther’s Original activation to include “an Instagrammable moment enhanced by brand-themed photo props.” This is an important detail because many younger consumers will choose where to visit based on how “Instagrammable” a place is. In fact, a CBS News report says, “More than 40 percent of people under the age of 33 are prioritizing travel destinations” based on its appearance. And, while they’re taking to social media to impress people, it’s not the only reason they want eye-catching posts. It’s also to help guide people on the best places to go. So, when you make your holiday pop-up shops Instagram-worthy, you’re showing people that your shop is where they need to be.

Of Yankee Candle’s pop up, CandlePower, one article says it was “more than just a store.” It was “multi-sensory experience,” playing on more than scent. It was quite a sight to behold, which is why more than 3,500 Instagram images were shared and included the pop-up’s custom hashtag. These pictures showed individuals areas within the activation, which highlighted a fragrance but did so in a unique way to “transport customers to a place in time” and “discover the scents in an entirely new way.” The exhibit for the Balsam & Cedar scent, for example, put visitors in the middle of a “cedar wood wonderland.” This was a wooden bridge surrounded by wooden cut-outs of trees and hills. While for Sundrenched Apricot Rose, the brand erected “a multidimensional field of flowers,” which people loved standing among to get their pictures taken. And, their followers and others around the world loved seeing them, extending Yankee Candle’s reach outside the NYC to boost its results.

Author: Nick Riggall


People Build Brand Communities, Not Marketers (Elevate Connect)


Challenger Brands Find Marketing Disruption Through Experiential (Elevate Connect)

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