SOURCE: Hawk Hill Advisors

April 11, 2005 08:30 ET

Can Hot Trend "Pop Up" Stores Create More Than Just PR Buzz?

Innovative Temporary Stores Engage Consumers in the Development of New Products and Services; Provides Marketers With 'Reality Check'

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 11, 2005 -- "Pop up" or temporary stores, an increasingly popular marketing vehicle for generating early awareness and publicity, are coming of age. Management consulting firm Hawk Hill Advisors predicts a new, more serious iteration of the pop up store concept is emerging, offering marketers a compelling vehicle for gaining powerful consumer insights. While the recent use of pop up stores has yielded dramatic short term publicity coverage for marketers at companies including Nike, Yahoo!, Delta and retailer Target, Hawk Hill Advisors sees a more compelling and ongoing role emerging for these temporary selling environments. Working with its clients, Hawk Hill Advisors has successfully evolved the pop up store concept into a "learning lab" for marketers, yielding real-world, real-time feedback from consumers on new products, services and selling methods.

According to Hawk Hills Advisors, a San Francisco-based management consultancy specializing in corporate growth and innovation, savvy marketers compete in an increasingly cluttered and confusing marketplace for the consumer's attention and pocketbook. In order to develop more compelling products and services that resonate with consumers and to optimize the effectiveness of marketing investments, the firm predicts more marketers will pursue new research and testing methods that mirror real-world selling and purchasing conditions. Marketers have traditionally relied on consumer surveys, interviews and focus groups to obtain useful information to ascertain if consumers find new concepts interesting and believable. However, they have also learned that this type of information is increasingly less predictive of consumer behavior in the real world, that is, in an actual buying situation where the consumer is asked to spend their money on a new product or service. In contrast, pop up stores give consumers the opportunity to learn about and purchase new products while providing the marketer real-world insight into consumer attitudes and behaviors at the point of purchase. During a selling period of as little as several months, marketers are able to get a better picture of their new products' strengths and shortcomings and insight into what causes a consumer to purchase or pass the product by.

Hawk Hill Advisors maintains that pop up stores created simply for PR "buzz" stop short of providing long term marketing information. The pop up store can provide the opportunity to gather transaction data at the point of purchase, develop profiles of target consumers and to fine tune the selling process. Innovative marketers will increasingly use and adapt this retail concept for engaging consumers early in the development process for new products and services to ensure these new initiatives are relevant, compelling and, ultimately, worthy of the consumer's attention and money. Armed with this information, new products and selling methods can be modified early in their development to improve the chance of success and efficiency of marketing spending upon a broader roll out into mainstream retail channels.

"By leveraging pop up stores as learning labs, marketers can turn the approach to new product development on its head," says Kevin Appelbaum, Managing Partner, Hawk Hill Advisors. "Too often, new products are developed without regard to the needs and wants of the buyer. No wonder less than one in ten new products become commercial successes. The use of pop up stores as learning labs is one way marketers can engage consumers as partners in the development of new products and services they want to buy."

About Hawk Hill Advisors

Hawk Hill Advisors is a San Francisco-based management consultancy specializing in corporate growth and innovation and has helped global leaders in the consumer sector harness innovative ideas, business models, technologies and go-to-market methods to achieve and sustain profitable revenue growth that outpaces that of their competitors. Recent clients span industry segments including consumer products, healthcare, software, telecommunications and entertainment. Please visit www.hawkhilladvisors.com for more information.

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