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#Gransharing: this Zalando popup store revisits the intergenerational link

On 14 and 15 December, 2019 Zalando opened the pop-up store #Gransharing in Brussels (rue Antoine Dansaert 64). This pop-up store was designed to celebrate and promote the intergenerational bond around the hashtag #gransharing. Sarah van den Eertwegh, PR manager of Zalando, explained to me that her company had set up a panel of 16 elderly people (the “grannies”) in order to rebuild a link with the younger generations through digital tools. These grannies can chat with more youthful people using a digital chat box (which I tested, see below) and even had the opportunity to participate in a face-to-face meeting in the pop-up store.

In the continuation of this article, I return to the genesis of this project and my meeting with Ingrid, one of the panel members.

zalando popup store brussels #gransharing

The genesis of the project and marketing aspects

The #gransharing project is the result of market research that revealed that the two generations seemed to want to meet and that sharing around fashion-related topics is a fertile ground for discussion.

Here are some of the results of this study:

  • 7 out of 10 young people said they were fascinated by the wisdom of seniors
  • 92% of seniors said they could make a significant contribution to young people
  • 50% of seniors and young people like to discover new trends in fashion

The BBDO agency is at the origin of the project, which is part of a more global approach aimed at promoting the fraternity.

The pop-up store in a nutshell and the ideas to remember

zalando popup store brussels #gransharingThe pop-up store was organised on two levels: women’s clothing on the ground floor and men’s clothing on the first floor. Nothing was for sale on-site, but each garment could be ordered online. Tablets were used to connect to the Internet and chat with one or other of the panel members.

Some surprises awaited the visitor. On the ground floor was installed a giant box in which all the objects were hung on the ceiling; enough to make lovely and very unstable photos (a photo booth installed in the entrance to spread the good word on social networks and spread word of mouth).

On the first floor, there was a “dried flowers” workshop led by Tamara De Keyser (Olala Workshop). A beautiful work environment, impressive achievements and a lot of concentration. Finally, a room had been converted into a “silent disco” where I took the following pictures.

zalando popup store brussels #gransharing

A meeting with one of Zalando’s 16 grannies

zalando popup store brussels #gransharingDuring my visit, I had the chance to meet Ingrid, a 61-year-old grandmother. She was accompanied by 2 of her three grandchildren with whom she had come from Belsele (near Saint-Nicolas, Antwerp province) to visit the Zalando popup store and enjoy the Christmas market.

I asked Ingrid about what she got out of #gransharing and exchanges with “young people”. She explained to me that this allowed her to stay in the flow and keep up to date. A chat platform has been set up that allows you to chat with the 16 grandfathers and grandmothers selected throughout Belgium (in Flanders, as well as in Brussels and Wallonia). I tested the platform (which requires a Facebook-connect, a clever way to get the contact details of potential prospects ?) and it works. I thought it was a chatbot who would answer me but not at all. Ingrid was well behind her screen, and I was able to continue the conversation I had had with her from a distance.

Conclusions and lessons to be learnt

At the end of this visit and this meeting, I only remember the positive aspects of the Zalando initiative. A phygital popup store where everything can be bought, but not on-site; a chat platform that really works to chat with seniors; some little surprises that ensure unique photos and a high diffusion on social networks. In the end, it’s a great marketing and branding operation from which Zalando will benefit.

To learn more about Zalando, consider reading our articles on free returns, one of the marketing strategies used by the brand to build customer loyalty.


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Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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