How pop ups and product drops can help you grow your audience and your revenue

We all know how to recognize hype: all at once everyone is talking about the same product, brand, or celebrity. For ecommerce brands, creating hype is a powerful strategy to generate organic traffic and use ‘social proof’ to build brand equity beyond the physical product. While ‘hype’ is hard to measure, hype-based marketing tactics can complement an effective paid strategy by growing earned media, capturing new customers, and consequently lowering your cost of acquisition. 

In the last few years, two methods of hype-generation have become especially popular: the pop-up shop and the product “drop.”  Let’s dive into the ways you can capitalize on these tactics to grow your brand.

Pop Up Shops

What is a pop up shop?

A pop up shop is a short-term retail experience. Pop up shops are traditionally held in-person using temporary retail space, but more and more brands are creating online pop up experiences by building a temporary marketplace on their ecommerce site. Pop up shops let the host brand curate an expanded product assortment tailored to their customer’s needs. The limited duration of the pop up creates urgency, and generates interest in your brand. And, experimenting with product assortment through pop up shops is a great way to test what products your audience loves before committing to a longer partnership with another brand or to developing your own product in-house. 

How to use Canal to set up a pop up shop 

Canal can help power your online pop up shop by making it easy to add products from brands you love to your own ecommerce site, without holding inventory or managing complicated logistics. Sound Ventures used Canal to set up a Father’s Day Pop Up Shop with products from 20 participating brands like Cotopaxi, Great Jones, and Truff. Customers could shop collections for dads of all types – outdoorsy, tech-y, foodie, and more. When an order was placed, Canal routed all the relevant order information to the product’s home site, and the item shipped directly to the customer. 

Sound Ventures founder Ashton Kutcher helped publicize the pop up.

By leveraging the social channels of Sound’s founders, fans, and the participating brands, the Father’s Day Pop Up Shop generated organic traffic and hundreds of purchases. It was a creative way to reach new customers and build awareness for Sound and its partner brands in the shop. 

Pop up shop ideas

Andie Swim used Canal to build a seasonal beach shop on their site.

The beauty of a pop up shop is its flexibility. You can use a pop up as a seasonal activation (for example, a summer pop-up selling everything you need for the beach), to celebrate a big brand moment (like an ‘our favorite things’ shop to celebrate a brand anniversary), as a collaboration curated by an influencer or creator, and even just as a standalone marketing campaign designed to get your customers talking. Pop up shops let you differentiate your brand beyond just your own products, and associate yourself with other brands your customers will love. By adding more products to your site, you’re also providing variety and novelty for your customers, which is great for boosting your retention and customer lifetime value

New product drop

What is a product drop strategy?

Brands also use hype to execute product drops designed to create a sense of urgency and scarcity that drives purchases. A product drop strategy is when a brand decides to release a new product in limited quantities and warn consumers beforehand so they can plan to purchase as soon as the product goes live. A product drop can also allow a brand to closely manage inventory without excess by taking pre-orders for the upcoming product. Well-executed product drops can result in near-instant sellouts, only increasing the brand’s perceived popularity and success and acting as an effective viral marketing campaign.

How to use Canal to set up a product drop 

Route, an app that tracks post-purchase shipping and delivery, used a creative product drop in collaboration with Simple Gospel, a streetwear brand founded by Justin Bieber. As an app, Route doesn’t typically hold inventory, so Canal was the perfect way to connect the Simple Gospel store with the Route app in order to create a seamless experience for Route users looking to purchase a limited edition hoodie supporting the Generosity Foundation.

By leveraging the social communities of Simple Gospel, Justin Bieber, and the Generosity Foundation, Route drove hundreds of app downloads and grew brand awareness. The pop-up also benefited Simple Gospel by enhancing the brand’s post-purchase customer experience with Route’s app. With 100% of proceeds going to charity, the Simple Gospel x Route product drop was a win-win-win. 

Ideas for successful product drop strategy

Product drops are a versatile way to grow awareness and create viral brand moments for returning customers and new fans alike. Your brand can choose to develop a product in-house, holding inventory and managing the research and development process from end to end. Or, you may want to try collaborating with another brand, influencer, or creative on a special edition of an existing product (for example, Baggu released a limited edition bag designed by artist Sage Adams in collaboration with Instagram). 

By working with a brand partner on a product drop, you can amplify the event across multiple brand’s marketing channels and reach even more customers without the typical overhead costs associated with adding a new product to your assortment. You can use Canal to easily connect with your brand partners, agree on commission, and add their products to your site without the hassle of purchase orders or a constant back-and-forth with spreadsheets and payments. 

Ready to learn how Canal can power your pop up shops and product drops? Tell us a little bit about your business and how we can help.