Pop-Up Stores: Here to Stay?

In a recent article in Knowledge@Wharton, a leading business publication by the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, the authors took a close look at the pop-up phenomenon that has taken the retail industry by storm in recent years.

A “pop-up” is a physical retail store that can take many forms – from temporary stores that open for days or weeks to stores within stores that can be either temporary or more permanent in nature. The number of pop-up stores in the U.S. has grown by 30% over the last 3 years, and that growth shows no signs of dying off. One sign that this trend is turning into a full-fledged industry is the number of startup companies that are popping up (pun intended) to service this industry. For instance, you can now find a number of pop-up leasing agents and consultants (www.popupinsider.com and www.thestorefront.com, among others), and the media has been tracking new developments in the space as well.

Retailers, branding agencies and consultants rarely think of this tool to build awareness, buzz and “hip factor”, but it should not be overlooked.  One of the first large brands to venture into the pop-up world was Target, which opened a temporary Christmas store at Chelsea Piers in NYC in 2002. Target has since done 20 pop-up stores, mostly in the U.S., and hundreds of large and small brands have followed this trend. One notable example discussed in the Knowledge@Wharton article is the world-renowned California restaurant French Laundry, which opened a pop-up restaurant in London for 10 days in 2011, and offered nine-course meals for $400 each.

While the most profitable pop-up stores have tended to be specialty stores that open around the holidays (i.e., temporary Halloween stores), many brands are using this strategy for the marketing and promotional awareness aspects rather than just focusing on turning a short-term profit.

While this trend has not yet blossomed into a full-fledged industry, it is on its way. And moreover, it has created a new shopping experience for many consumers while adding a cool factor that has been lost with the growth of big box retail.

A Growth Spurt That Even Zuckerberg Would Envy

There are precious few companies in the world that have experienced the kind of explosive growth that Facebook and Google have enjoyed. And of those few companies, the vast majority have a silicon valley area code. Given all that, you might be surprised to know that in recent years a food manufacturing company based in upstate New York has experienced growth that even Facebook and Google would envy.  Call it brand building on steriods. That company? Chobani.

In case you have been avoiding the supermarket for the last decade, Chobani is a Greek-style yogurt that has taken the world by storm. As a recent CNN Money article states, the growth that Chobani has experienced “is unheard of, particularly for a startup, in the packaged-goods business—and rare in the tech world.”

That being said, this company’s success clearly has a lot to do with (as most often times it does) the person behind the brand: Hamdi Ulukaya. In 2000, Mr. Ulukaya borrowed $1 million to buy an 85-year-old yogurt factory in upstate New York. Five years after selling the first case of Chobani, the company reached $1 billion in revenue. Mr. Ulukaya has always been the 100% owner of Chobani, and has used an innovative business model that is anything but a corporate one. He doesn’t believe in customer research, as all feedback from the website goes directly to his BlackBerry. He doesn’t value one employee over the other – he values the person who answers the calls just as much as someone in the purchasing department.

What’s more, from the start, Mr. Ulukaya has and continues to give 10% of Chobani’s after-tax profits to philanthropy. His motto? “Nothing but good.”

To read the CNN Money article, click here.

Special Edition: Disney

When you think of Disney you think of movies, toys, backpacks, and young children’s branded packaging items.  Well, how about deodorant?

Reebok collaborated with Disney on a design to market their deodorant to preteens. Reebok did this in hopes of an  increase in sales during the Indian Festive time of Diwali. Notice how although not bright and colorful, the design remains in sync with Disney Style guides and not to mention the Indian festival of lights.Reebok & Disney Branded Packaging

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Shelf Impact

When you walk into a store you usually have the low end or store brand, the moderately priced item and then of course the high end. Nowadays some of these products are blending together. Some of these house/store brands are even doing a better job on their packaging than big names!  And one interesting example of this trend is Cutex.

For years, Cutex has been a household name in nail care, but lookalike packaging by competitive branded and private-label products was beginning to confuse consumers. This confusion caused Cutex to lose market share. The worst part was that in a Cutex Brands survey, eight out of 10 respondents claimed they were buying Cutex products, even though sales share showed that was not possible. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

To reverse this cycle, Cutex decided that they were in need of an update, and needed to differentiate their product with a unique package design. While retaining the basic bottle silhouette to make the container instantly recognizable as nail polish remover, the design team made critical changes. Among the structural changes, the bottle height was increased which provides more visibility on shelf.  Notice the cap. They replaced the standard, straight lined cap with a reverse-tapered closure which elongates the bottle and accentuates its upscale appearance.

Cutex's Unique Package DesignAdding femininity and a premium image to the bottle, a decorative, swan-like shape was debossed on its front panel. The front label was then die-cut in the same swan shape and updated with a modernized logo, softer graphics, and a lighter pastel-color palette.

What do you think?


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