Pop-ups and trend are terms that often go hand-in-hand.
But Melissa Akaka, who’s studied and worked in retail for about 20 years, contends that kiosks and pop-ups have been around for as long as she can remember.
“I don’t remember a time when (pop-ups) didn’t exist” on a national level, said Akaka, a marketing professor at the University of Denver. “And I’ve been in retail since I was 16.”
One trend among retailers that pop-up stores are helping promote, however, is the need to create positive experiences for customers.
“We can buy whatever we want from the comfort of our home,” Akaka said. “The online component only makes it more important that (businesses) have these engaging customer experiences. It’s become so clear how important they are.”
One Aspen business owner who knows this well is Outdoor Voices founder and CEO Tyler Haney.
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In less than three years, Haney will have opened five stores in four major U.S. cities.
The success of Haney’s first three pop-ups – one in Austin and two in New York – led to permanent stores in each location.
In July, the 27-year-old launched her fourth pop-up, this time in Aspen; next week, she will open another in Los Angeles.
The thought behind opening a pop-up store rather than committing to a storefront with a long-term lease, Haney explained, is simple.
“Our intent is to definitely test the waters of a new market, and then learn and understand if it makes sense long term,” she said. “It’s purely to see what kind of offline engagement would do to our online business.”
From a financial standpoint, the active-wear brand’s Aspen location is making more than dollars and sense.
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