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The Do’s and Don’ts of Pop-Up/Temporary Retail

BY CSA STAFF

By Ken Nisch, chairman, JGA

Here are some recommendations for designing temporary spaces:

DO start with a plan
Design a store that can be realistically executed within the budget and limited time frame inherent to temporary spaces, allowing for rapid installation and the demanding wear-and-tear that a successful pop-up experiences. Pop-up visitors often have a low sense of expectations as they often hadn’t pre-planned to visit. But once engaged, everything counts! So make sure all the details — from those that impact the senses, to the software, the people, the collateral, the details — are all on message and contribute to the first impression.

DO keep it simple
Many retail fundamentals are at work in temporary environments, but the “temp store” filter suggests simplification. Maintain clear organization and signage to motivate “point-to-point” circulation.

DON’T become a sampling stand
Resist the temptation to make the location a proverbial Costco sampling stand, where a high percentage of visitors interact but a very low percentage convert to future customers.

DO focus on engagement
Pop-up stores are intended to create trial and interest that will translate into future purchasing behavior. The brand’s messaging and engagement need to attract a broad audience, appealing to both the core and “interested” audiences.

DON’T forget white space
White space can be as compelling as a highly complicated booth. This is particularly true for pop-ups in high traffic, densely populated and commercially dynamic areas where doing less rather than more can be a way to literally “pop-out.”

DO communicate “in the moment”
When a pop-up becomes too “store-like,” it loses the perception of “in the moment” urgency. Communicate the brand through simplicity, amplification, editing, and the creative impact that one expects from a full page ad in a fashion magazine. A compelling visual statement interrupts the audience’s thought process, but does so with a limited number of experiential exclamation marks.

DON’T ignore technology
Technology lends a flexible edge to the experience by adjusting to time-specific trends; such as targeting the lunch hour or evening customer. High tech tools can also comingle brands to bring interactive and experiential texture to the moment, appealing to the basic consumer instinct that motion, sound and changeability signify energy and action – and “makes you look.”

Ken Nisch is chairman of JGA, Southfield Mich., which specializes in retail design and brand strategy.

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American Express survey finds some small business owners believe U.S. still in recession

BY Katherine Boccaccio

New York City — Research results released Tuesday by American Express found that more than a third (38%) of small business owners believe that the U.S. is still in the throes of a recession.

According to the American Express OPEN Small Business Monitor, a semi-annual survey in its 10th year, concerns about the economy are weighing heavily on entrepreneurs. Twenty-seven percent say they do not plan to grow in the next six months (up from 21% in the spring) and just 77% describe themselves as glass-half-full optimists (down from 85% a year ago).

Despite those concerns, however, there are some positive signs. The survey showed that cash flow is more under control, as 55% expressed cash-flow concerns, down from 66% in the spring. On the capex side, 48% plan investments, up from 44% in the spring.

On the hiring front, 31% say they will hire over the next six months, down slightly from the spring (35%), but at levels still higher than the four surveys spanning spring 2009 to fall 2010.

Social media remains an emphasis. Of the businesses that identified themselves as having grown despite the economy, 58% said they will use social media to attract new customers. Among the entrepreneurs using social media, Facebook is the most popular way to reach new customers (33%). And 28% of business owners say social media has helped their business survive in a challenging economy.

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Costco Q4 profit up 11%, raises membership fees

BY Marianne Wilson

Issaquah, Wash. — Costco Wholesale Corp. reported an 11% increase in its fourth quarter net income, below forecasts. The company also announced that it will raise its membership fees starting Nov. 1.

Costco’s net income rose to $478 million for the period ended Aug. 28, up from $432 million in the year-ago period. The quarter included a "last-in, first-out" inventory charge of four cents per share. This charge reflects a requirement that the company revalue its inventory if prices rise or fall notably.

Revenue rose 17% to $28.18 billion as membership fee revenue increased to $590 million from $533 million. The company said its performance was also helped by sales from its Mexico joint venture.

Same-store sales climbed 10% in the United States, and 19% abroad. Removing the impact of inflation in gas prices and strengthening foreign currencies, same-store sales rose 7%.

Costco announced it will raise annual membership fees by $5 to $55 for U.S. individual, business and business add-on members, as well as Canada business members beginning Nov. 1. The membership fee increase follows a similar move by BJ’s Wholesale Club.

Costco’s executive membership annual fees will also increase in the United States and Canada to $110 from $100. The maximum 2% reward tied to the executive membership will rise from $500 to $750.

For the year, Costco’s earnings rose 12% to $1.46 billion, and annual revenue rose 14% to $88.92 billion.

Same-store sales were up 10%, rising 7% in the United States and 16% overseas.

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