Experiential Shopping

Explore how Experiential Shopping is helping creative eCommerce companies connect closer with their customers.

Whether you are small newly hatched eCommerce business trying to make a name for your brand or an 800 pound gorilla like Amazon, one fundamental retail element will be most sacrosanct – ‘that your customer’s experience is enriching’.

With the advancement of eCommerce technologies creating more inspiring and interactive online shopping experiences. There has also been a focus by some online retailers towards Experiential Shopping allowing them to connect with their customers on a more ‘human’ level.

The strategy involves the development of short-term lease pop-up stores. Digitally creative eCommerce companies are leveraging this offline retail marketing concept to gain more insight into buyer behaviour and also to leave an invaluable lasting impression with their customers.

The Evolution of the Pop-up Store.

Known originally as guerilla stores for there here-today, gone-tomorrow approach, the first concept store was opened in Berlin in 2004 by Japanese fashion brand Comme des Garcons . Popup stores are now a favourite guerilla marketing tactic used right across online and offline retail sectors. They allow customers to immerse themselves with a brand and allow retailers to open up additional revenue streams.  

Amazon has planned a more aggressive roll-out of its physical ‘4 Star’ concept stores in the US featuring products from it’s site with a ‘4 Star rating’ or above. It also has included event zones where top sellers or ‘trending’ items are displayed from the web stores geo-location buyer behavioural data.


Creating your pop-up store provides you with a real-life shopping experience that you can share with your customers. Apart from music, lighting and the usual visual merchandising, there are other techniques to keep your customers longer and spending more in your pop-up store. Whether it be an in-store selfie wall to generate a buzz and some really useful user-generated-content or the availability of AR technology allowing customers to virtually try on products, there are endless possibilities to exhilarate your visitors.

Leveraging Technology 

With over 57% of shoppers using their mobile phones to check prices and make comparisons, you should take full advantage of the latest technology that can help fill the  gaps in customer research. For example customer reviews are vitally important to drive sales at final conversion points. Having a mobile app or AR technology that allows your customers to scan products getting more information, like customer feedback and reviews, provides real-game changer shopping experiences that can accelerate a decision to purchase.

Driving more eCommerce Sales

Driving footfall and demand for your upcoming pop-up store can be leveraged through your eCommerce store. Using website ‘pop-ups’ requesting information like name and email for in-store discount codes are a really useful way to promote the activation. This also has the added advantage of allowing you to keep in touch (with consent) with your customers through email marketing post store visit.

It can also be used in reverse when first time shoppers visit your pop-up store and are rewarded with an online discount voucher by providing similar details. Either way you are gathering vital buyer data allowing for the development of a more personalised and immersive shopping experience with your customers.

How do pop-up stores fit into experiential shopping?

As part of a Global Brand Activation, Magnum brought product tastings of its Belgian chocolate ice-cream to a whole new level in experiential shopping with The Magnum Pleasure Stores. This string of highly successful pop-up stores located across the globe gave visitors the excitement of building their own Magnum ice-cream flavours, adding their choice of toppings and sharing their creations on social media with decorative in-store photo booths.



Driving Your Brand Awareness

With so many online retailers, gaining brand visibility is a tiresome challenge. Whether it be trying to rank for the right product keywords on search results, maintaining a steady feed stream on your social media channels, to monitoring conversions and CPC’s on their Google Ads and other online advertising platforms.

Pop-up stores allow online retailers to create a buzz about their product range and attract new customers who might not have seen them before. Accompanied by a super-rich in-store experience that delivers a long-lasting positive brand impression and advocacy. They are also a very effective way to test the market reaction to new product ranges and concepts.

“73% of shoppers will spend more money and time in a store that offers experiences”

adidias popup store


Pop-up’s Create Urgency

Driving exclusivity around your brand pushes your customers with a sense of urgency – “get it while stocks last” but with pop-up stores, premium brands can also bring a sense of convenience in appearing locally with exclusive limited time offers. The whole concept of an eCommerce pop-up is temporary, driving a sense of urgency to its shoppers in making a purchase now rather than later.

Tip: Leverage your social media to maximise the promotion of your pop-up store prior to opening with optional offers and in-store discounts, a bit about that later…

“63% of shoppers agree they want the place they shop in to be inspiring!”



Utilise Your Social Media Channels

It goes without saying how valuable social media is in terms of promoting your pop-up store, creating a buzz by advertising your launch party, location and opening times. This is powerful content used in the right way with more reactionary social media channels like Twitter and Instagram Stories it can provide valuable insights into your brands in-store experience.

A pop-up store’s social media can also be useful in reflecting your brand value and culture, engaging with customers in-store is a valuable opportunity to create unique qualitative content. Installing photo booths, social media walls and providing insight into your brand’s popularity on social media channels.

Social Media Walls

With more than 5 million loyal followers on their Instagram account NYX Cosmetics owes this largely to User-Generated-Content (UGC) from the installation of digital screens and selfie walls throughout their retail store network. This technology allows customers to scan a barcode from a stores product range and see UGC associated with it through a digital screen, with the addition of selfie walls it encourages customers to post their own UGC content and tag it with #NYXCosmetics.  

NYX Cosmetics


Pigment store in San Diego joined with Simple Booth to develop a more interactive in-store experience with their Halo Photo booth. It had fantastic results creating a heightened buzz and new customer base as customers posted their photos online.

Pigment + Simple Booth in-store selfie


Bring Your Social Media to Life with Your Popup Store

Arranging your pop-up store physically and visually as you see it on your social media is the first step in bringing your social media to life. Ideally, you are looking to develop more brand advocates, so by aligning your social media content with your pop-up store colours and branding new and existing customers will find their visit far more memorable with your brand culture and visual language.



Budgeting for Your Popup Store

So with all the advantages in developing a pop-up store how much is it going to cost you? Well that all depends on your budget, you might decide to go down the rough and ready approach and invest in a mobile popup container,  good for flexibility, but remember when not in use where you are going to store it?

Choosing to go with a physical store can allow you to choose a location with high footfall volumes, but factor in lease rates and sq. footage to influence the cost of your location choice. It’s best to do some location research on your customers buying behaviours, where they shop and the best footfall avenues around these areas, as the location is one of the biggest reasons retailers fail.  

Your Pop-up Store Checklist:
* costs are projections only and based on a 30-day billing cycle 

  • Rent Rates: High footfall areas in Ireland  €300 – €4000 per week OR €1200 – €16000 per month
  • Utilities: Can vary up to €500 per month, try to get this cost embedded in your rent rates so its a constant allowing you to set a budget
  • In-store Wifi: For Store Music Streaming + Social Media Access for User Generated content – Huawei Dongle + 15GB 30 Pass €100
  • Staffing: Manager + Sales Advisors. Get the right people who can be brand ambassadors, it will cost you more in terms of training but worth it in the long run!
    • Manager + Sales Advisors * 2 based on F/T status = €8000 p/m + 10% Sales Commission structure
  • Store-fit out: Will depend on what’s in the design specifications and store layout and size, could be up to €5000
  • Insurance: You need this to open your doors – expect a quote for around €250 per month
  • Mobile Payment System Options: ‘SUMup’ mobile payments – €19 for card reader + 2.75% charge on every successful transaction, No monthly fees
  • Direct Online POS Systems: If you are operating a Shopify eCommerce site then it will depend on your plan. Shopify offers mobile card readers and integrated POS systems – talk to an eCommerce expert to see your options on the best technology to use
  • Waste Management: Commercial rates: try to get included in your rent. Estimated cost per month = €500
  • IMRO Music Licence: Will depend on the square meters of your retail unit. Check out the IMRO site for specifics on tariffs: IMRO LICENCE PDF

Best Footfall Locations Around the Country to Open a Pop-up Store

We thought it would be a good idea to highlight some locations with high footfall volume from around the country. 

Footfall volume per week

  • Jervis Street Shopping Centre | Dublin  150K +
  • MacDonagh Junction Shopping Centre | Kilkenny 80K +
  • Dundrum Town Centre | Dublin 350K +
  • Swords Pavilions | Dublin 200K +
  • Castlewest Shopping Centre | Cork 70K +
  • Marshes Shopping Centre | Louth 80K +
  • Galway Shopping Centre | Galway 80K +
  • Manor Mills Shopping Centre | Kildare 50K +
  • Eyre SQ. Shopping Centre | Galway 200K +

Key Takeaway

As online retailers scramble over one another to develop the most intuitive shopping experiences. The pop-up store in the mean-time continues to revolutionise high-street and shopping mall experiences. Their adaptability to eCommerce operations has made them more important than ever and an extremely useful tool in connecting closer with the customer.