By Al Herskovitz
BRADENTON, FL — There is a remarkable, growing retail phenomenon occurring around the country this time of year that is directly attributable to the current national economic downturn. And it is a unique opportunity for sales reps.
These are retail outlets that suddenly appear in vacant spots in shopping centers and malls and stay just for the holiday season and then close. The phenomenon even has gotten a name. They are called “Pop-Ups.”
As you probably have noticed in your very own community, there are numerous barren locations which give the centers a certain forlorn appearance. Therefore, shopping center operators are delighted to have them filled even though the leases are short-term. They provide a more festive and better look and at least generate some income. They also are a lure for shoppers to frequent the regular space occupiers as well.
These “Pop-Ups” are not fly-by-night, hit-and-run operations either. In many instances they are well-known, well-established, long-term retailers with stores in other parts of the country who are taking advantage of the available space in your town for a limited spell. They arrive well prepared. They come in with their inventory, fold-up counters and pre-printed banners, signs and holiday decorations. What’s more they hire the sales staff from the local area. Their clever advance preparation makes them appear to be very much a part of the regional retail community once they have completed the set up.
A good example – The Vera Bradley Stores. Vera Bradley, whose home base is Fort Wayne, Indiana, has some one hundred established retail outlets across the country where they sell handbags, luggage and a variety of travel items. But they may pop up in your town only for the holiday season offering their wares at deep discount prices. There are many others in a variety of retail categories just like them ….recognizable names such as Louis Vuitton, Benetton…even the National Football League.
How does a sales rep who already has nailed down his regular holiday schedules find out about these? It ain’t easy!
Most of these operators, out of long time habit, are drawn to print advertising particularly to those throw-away weeklies that appear on your front lawn or in your door-way because the ad rates usually are cheaper than the regular daily paper and last-minute placement is available. What to do? Well, a perusal of these weeklies wouldn’t hurt. But the best way, is the old-fashioned way – shoe leather. A stroll through shopping centers and malls to see what is going on in the empty stores could prove to be quite enlightening. If the centers themselves are among your regular clients, a conversation with the center’s manager is a good, first step.
Creating a special “Pop-Up” sales package with short-term schedules at discounted rates is a useful tool. These businesses usually offer their merchandise at bargain prices, so seeing savings from you is a further welcome inducement. And getting their campaigns on the air quickly is another advantage. There are no ads to be designed. No art work is needed. Just some straight-forward, hard sell commercials will do the trick. Even preparing a commercial in advance of your sales call can be impressive. Just fill in the blanks and sign here!
Al Herskovitz is president of H&H Communications and a marketing specialist for TALKERS. He can be phoned at 941-708-6520 or emailed at email@example.com.