4 fashion ecommerce brands embracing physical retail

Despite proclamations that bricks-and-mortar retail is dead, several major ecommerce companies have recently been exploring the physical shopping environment.

For digitally native brands, pop-up stores can offer a small, yet valuable window to make a memorable impression with consumers.

By stepping out from behind the ecommerce screen, retailers can enhance brand awareness and visibility, offering in-person experiences that attract and keep consumers attention.

Here are four online retailers reaping the benefits of physical retail:

Depop 

Last year, online fashion marketplace Depop launched a three-day pop-up store in London’s Oxford Street to encourage more shoppers to buy secondhand and circular fashion.

The pre-loved giant invited its most popular merchants to showcase their items at the Sook Oxford Street Space. The event was a result of ‘Powered by Depop’, a sponsorship programme which gives sellers the tools to take their business offline.

After its initial London event, Depop also rolled out additional pop-ups in Manchester Sheffield and Nottingham throughout November and December last year.

“We’ve had multiple Depoppers use our spaces in London, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Southampton over the past 18 months, with many of these sellers driving huge queues of customers keen to get their hands on their one-off pieces and vintage outfits,” Sook chief executive John Hoyle said.

“We’re delighted to work with Powered by Depop to give more sellers the opportunity to bring their products into the real world in high streets and shopping centres across the UK, allowing them to meet fans and potential new customers, and offering the perfect blend of online and offline shopping.”

Asos

To celebrate the run up to Black Friday, online fashion retailer Asos launched two experiential pop-ups in London and Manchester.

Located at Box Park Shoreditch, the space featured a claw grabber arcade game, where visitors could play to win exclusive prizes, ranging from one of four 1,000 Asos gift cards to Asos-branded merchandise, Asos Design clothing and selected face and body products.

The event was free to the public, with visitors receiving an Asos-branded tote bag, as well as a free coffee for those with the Asos app installed.

The activation promoted the retailers Black Friday deals, following two weeks of out-of-home advertising in Manchester and Camden Town, highlighting its offers in the run up to the peak sales period.

Shein

Last year, online giant Shein opened two successful pop-ups as it continues to expand its physical retail strategy.

In September 2022, Shein launched a two-day pop-up event in conjunction with London Fashion Week, as well as a Christmas pop-up in December.

Both stores showcased Shein’s curated picks of the season, with each piece of clothing featuring a SKU number to enable omnichannel shopping, allowing customers to simply scan the barcode and order the item online if it is not available in their size.

The stores also featured a hot chocolate station and manicure bar, with a nail machine that can print designs directly onto the nails – both of which customers could enjoy for free.

Shoppers could also try out a 360 degree machine which spins around them and records a fun clip to post on social media.

eBay

Take a Look Inside the eBay x Morley’s Sneaker Pop-up Store

Last summer, eBay partnered with iconic London-based Morley’s chicken shop to open a pop-up store for sneakerheads, giving them the chance to purchase sought-after retro trainers.

The store opened on 18 June and visitors could buy the original versions of rare sneakers at the price they held when the model first launched through an in-store raffle.

The activation took place inside Morley’s Brick Lane store, which had been refitted specifically for the event.

The walls were adorned with displays of rare trainers, rather than Morley’s famous chicken wings.

“The great thing about drops is being able to actually get your hands on a pair of sneakers, wear them and show them off,” eBay UK sneaker category manager Wahaaj Shabbir said in a statement.

“But now that’s become rare! OG Drops resets the sneakers’ value back to their original retail price and means everyone can get in on the action.

“Whether it’s through the on-site or at our Store at Morley’s, we are encouraging everyone who cops an OG drop at an OG price to give them some love on feet.”

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