LL Bean, Nordstrom Flex Pop-Up Strategy

Just in time for the holidays, both Nordstrom and LL Bean are adding pop-up shops in a bid to build sales and broaden their appeal. And retail experts say they expect to see even more pop-ups as retailers try to win back online shoppers.

“While pop-up stores have been around for a long time, they will begin to play an even more critical role in the future,” retail consultant Doug Fleener tells Marketing Daily. “As more sales are done online, physical pop-ups offer new ways to connect with consumers and build buzz.”

Nordstrom is reportedly initiating a program called Pop-In @ Nordstrom, which Women’s Wear Daily describes as “an ongoing series of themed pop-up shops in eight Nordstrom stores and on” Ranging in size from 450 to 1,000 square feet, WWD says the first Pop-In will celebrate all things French, stocking a section of vintage Chanel and other designers, as well as items from Merci in Paris, a store that donates 100% percent of its sales to Madagascar. (A spokesperson for Nordstrom declined to comment.)



And L.L. Bean opened a Boston pop-up shop just briefly, driving its Bootmobile down from Freeport, Maine headquarters. Its shop, at a two-day event designed to showcase American craftsmanship, showed off its stitching prowess, and offered shoppers the chance to buy some 60 varieties of its namesake boot.

A spokesperson for L.L. Bean says the next pop-up is planned for NYC Flea in December, and that the retailer will also have a pop-up holiday kiosk in the Natick, Mass., mall, selling Bean Boot colors that will only be available in the pop-up.

Fleener, president of Dynamic Experiences Group, these efforts are more than a marketing tactic. “It can be a retail strategy, as well.” With holiday sales accounting for some 30% of most retailers’ revenue, seasonal pop-ups can add significantly to sales. “If you look at how much e-commerce has taken out of the market, it’s huge. People used to go to stores to seek out something different, and now they do that online. So pop-ups a chance to bring new ideas to customers.” He says that he also expects to see more co-branding pop-ups, such as Nordstrom’s partnership with Nike’s Converse All Stars earlier this year. 

Fleener says that as consumers have become increasingly comfortable with limited-edition offerings, including the popularity of flash-sale websites, the bar is much higher.  

The bar is much higher, though—consumers expect pop-ups to offer something truly special. “If the pop-up experience is unique, people will seek it out.”

1 comment about "LL Bean, Nordstrom Flex Pop-Up Strategy".
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  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, October 2, 2013 at 9:40 a.m.

    Plenty of empty stores even prime locations that hurt the whole strip. Rents have skyrocketed to where many boutique individual stores are yesterday. Now chain stores make areas all look alike with no reason for people to go to another area to shop for something special since my Gap looks like your Gap looks like my Gap. WIll people take a big enough bite with enough dip in the rents to keep this strategy moving ?

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