The business rationale for opening fan-stores in social media is smart, simple and compelling.

Advocacy activation.

Fan advocacy boosts launch sales, but up to 50% of fans don’t actually advocate (they would recommend but they don’t  because they’re not prompted to do so).  As Emanuel Rosen, author the Anatomy of Buzz (still the best book on word of mouth to date), concluded, to activate fan advocacy you need to get your new product into fans’ hands first (get-it-first exclusivity activates advocacy).  Pop-up (temporary) fan-stores in social media are a quick and easy way to activate fan-advocacy and boost launch sales. Think of it as product placement in real life.  Or as Google put it think of it as creating ‘Zero moments of truth‘ – fan advocacy that drives purchase.

Getting new products into fans’ hands first is the speciality of Adidas, through its ‘pop-up retail’ strategy.  At the launch of new products, Adidas will open up temporary stores for anything from a few days up to a month – often at unpublicised locations, announcing whereabouts to fans and influencers via social networking sites.  For example, Adidas recently opened 6 pop-up fan-stores in secret locations in Germany, Austria and Switzerland to give get-it-first fan access to its ‘Ransom’ and ‘Blue’ collections. For the launch of skating gear, the pop-up retail solution from Adidas includes a converted bus, lorry and camper van that appears in fan-notified locations offering that get-it-first fan experience (see images below).  And for the launch of Stella McCartney designed Team GB 2012 Olympic gear, Adidas took over a store for 4 weeks in London’s Westfield mall.

In sum, Adidas are the pop-up meisters of fast retail, and we think social commerce has a much to learn from this bricks-and-mortar fan commerce. Why? Because, in the spirit of pop-up fast-retail, Adidas pop-up stores are quick and easy to set up – installed and stocked within a day – using shelves are made from light steel tubes, with shoes hanging out on display, and simple seating featuring the Adidas logo. Lighting and floor layout are predesigned for instant installation, allowing Adidas to immediately make sales without messing around with store-design divas. They’re temporary, and sell only a limited range of new gear – for fans.  In other words,  there are four features of the pop-up retail strategy that we think could usefully guide social commerce;

  • For fans and influencers rather than mainstream customers
  • Temporary stores to support a launch or event
  • Sell a limited range of merchandise
  • Quick, easy and inexpensive to set up, and then shut down

If this looks like a social commerce solution for you – Canadian retailer Roots does – then the new premium version of social media fan-store software from Payvment may be ideal for  quick and easy deployment of pop-up fan stores in social media, whilst enterprise social commerce solutions 8thBridge, Milyoni, Moontoast, ShopIgniterZibaba, DotBox and others all have teams at the ready to provide you with a turnkey pop-up social commerce solution.

So take a look at Adidas pop-up retail (images below) and ask yourself, if we did this in social media, what would it look like?

And if you want more, see the videos (below), check out these blogs (here, hereherehere and here), and this short article on how the pop-up trend is driving retail innovation.  If pop-up retail is good for Kanye and Jay-Z could it be good for you too?

Pop-up Retail + Social Commerce = Big Opportunity