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New pop-up stores project : weekly update #2

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As we announced last week we are finalizing an online initiative to store and maintain accurate and up-to-date information about the best pop-up stores worldwide.

This initiative is a kind of POC (Proof Of Concept) to test our ideas to build a larger website on all new ideas, innovations and creative development in the retail world. We chose the retail world on purpose because it’s moving fast and represent approximately 50% of the companies. We also explained in this article why we think that observing trends in retail is important for market research purposes.

Step 1 achieved : interactive map of pop-up stores working and bugs fixed

Realizing the Google Map was a challenge in itself. As we explained in last week’s article, the free version of this tool was not powerful enough to meet our needs. It’s limited to one layer and to 100 placeholders. Although we may not have at any given moment 100 pop-up shops of interest to display (we are pretty selective), storing the information about old popup shops will take some space.

We thought it would be silly to maintain the map up-to-date and just erasing the stores that have closed. We thought it would make more sense to just move closed shops to another layer where people would still be able to find them later on.

In the first weeks we also had to define reliable sources of information and to actually build the database. This included defining the selection criteria (which, I must confess, still remains a little bit subjective) for the stores.

Step 2 : writing a first batch of reports on current pop-up stores

During the first weeks of the selection process to set up the Google Map, we also marked the stores which we thought may deserve an individual report. We’ve got 50 of them and with an average of 100 words per popup shop and per language, you see that we have some work ahead of us.

Gathering the pictures to illustrate the articles is also a challenge in itself; we’re very respectful of copyrights and want to first get an authorization before publishing a picture on the website. This requires of course some preliminary work. Most websites that we know just use pictures without prior authorization. With this project we want to actually test whether it’s possible to build an interesting in lively website by following all rules.

Finally we’ve asked two editors (one French-speaking, the other one English-speaking) to review and correct each article before it is published.

We aim for top quality information and have set up the necessary control gates to ensure it.

Step 3 : enrich the site and improve our intelligence tools

The last step will be to progressively enrich the website with articles on remarkable pop-ups stores that have closed. The most frustrating part about pop-up stores is that some of them are so temporary that you can hardly notice them.

In parallel we’ll also have to refine our data collection tactics. This is a continuous improvement effort which is necessary to decrease the workload for the selection of the stores (currently we review some 30 news per day and retain less than 50% of it.

Conclusion

Once again this project was very enriching for us. Instead of outsourcing the realization, we prepared everything by ourselves (SEO, design, …) and let a third party execute it for us (for a very competitive price) in India. We obviously don’t have enough experience with the realization of websites (this is definitely not our core business) but we are convinced that outsourcing in India (or elsewhere) should be reserved to simple well-prepared projects. You should avoid by any means technical and conceptual discussions (we had some of those during the development and they were pretty painful) and prepare everything so well in advance that they just have to execute it according to the specs. If you know what you want, you’ll be successful.

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Author: Pierre-Nicolas Schwab

Dr. Pierre-Nicolas Schwab is the founder of IntoTheMinds. He specializes in e-commerce, retail and logistics. He is also a research fellow in the marketing department of the Free University of Brussels and acts as a coach for several startups and public organizations. He holds a PhD in Marketing, a MBA in Finance, and a MSc in Chemistry. He can be contacted by email, Linkedin or by phone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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