Peering_into_Store-383515-editedWhile many brick-and-mortar companies have managed to adopt the ecommerce model and experience immense success, rarely has an ecommerce-only model gone the other direction. The beauty of ecommerce has always been that a physical store isn’t needed. In fact, without overhead costs for storefront rental, the potential for income is much higher. In the face of these facts, some ecommerce companies are doing the unthinkable: They’re opening physical locations known as pop-up shops. 

How Traditional and Ecommerce Sales Have Merged

The internet brought choice to shoppers who wanted to select from all the products available and not just those at their local stores. It brought convenience to those who really didn’t want to slog to the store after work or waste a perfectly good Saturday shopping when they could be relaxing. It brought savings to those who researched for the lowest prices and then even saved on gas money by having it delivered. Nothing was too far away for buyers.

And then came mobile devices.

Mobile commerce has merged physical and digital commerce in ways buyers and retailers never thought to consider. While shopping in local stores, many consumers use smartphones to price products for better deals—a practice known as showrooming. Rather than ban mobile devices to cut down on showrooming, many of these brick-and-mortar stores simply learned to use those devices in their favor. Apps with push notifications and location settings slowly drew those buyers back into the fold with special offers delivered at just the right time and place.

What We Have Here Is…

Omnichannel commerce is on the rise, led by giants like Wal-Mart and Macy’s. In fact, Macy’s, which strives to cut that time between “want” and “own,” now uses many of its physical stores as distribution centers. When someone orders online, the products are shipped from the closest location for faster delivery times. The seamless transition from “traditional” to omnichannel has worked well for Macy’s—well enough that ecommerce shops might just want to see how it works when turned around and applied the opposite way.

The fact is, we still love shopping in person. In fact, over 94% of buying in 2012 was done in stores. And that 94% of sales is just one reason ecommerce shops are popping up with physical locations, even if just for a hot minute.


Why else would they muddy the waters a bit? Here are 3 good reasons.

1. Test New Products

Many buyers have a hard time parting with money when they haven’t yet had a chance to try a product out. This is one of the biggest hurdles ecommerce has to overcome. A pop-up shop would give you a chance to introduce your newest and most exciting items to a select number of customers. They could then touch, test, and try on everything.

You don’t need to reach every single potential buyer with your pop-up shop, but it’s not a bad idea to go to several cities. Those who do have a chance to test your new wares will make sure everyone hears about the quality and cool factor.

2. Increase Awareness

In truth, SEO can only go so far. What if you have an ecommerce company that sells amazing things no one’s thinking to search for? Consumers have to be aware of products before they can start craving them.

With a pop-up shop, you can introduce your company to the world over the course of a few weeks, and then sit back as buyers flock to your ecommerce site to make purchases.

3. Boost Holiday Sales

While some will always love the convenience of ordering holiday gifts online, others are more likely to make a purchase while out shopping. With a pop-up shop, you can make the most of both purchasing methods.

If you pair your pop-up shop with mobile alerts and push notifications, the possibilities are endless. Beacons can also revolutionize your sales as you’re able to complete online purchases right there in the store.

Would you consider a pop-up shop for your ecommerce brand? What other ways could you expand the experience for your buyers? We’d love to know what you think, so leave us a comment.

How to Build a Profitable Ecommerce Business

subscribe to inbound ecommerce articles

Originally published Jul 25, 2014 10:00:00 AM, updated January 18 2023


Ecommerce Retail Trends