It’s not every day you visit a pop-up store, but imagine having an exclusive, online pop-up store that comes down to you at your doorstep. Notching up convenience one step further, a mompreneur is making online pop-up a reality. At a time when offline pop-ups are making a comeback across all geographical borders in India, online pop-up is setting some serious trend goals. Excerpts from the interview with Pop-Up Galleria founder Ranu Bathwal:
Tell us about your brand journey so far.
When I decided to shut my multi-brand designer store and took a break in 2015, I was not sure what I wanted to do next. This was also the time when e-commerce was booming not just in tier I cities, but was making a huge impact in tier-II cities as well. Many consumers and retailers in tier II cities were curious to understand how etail business works and like most often, fashion was the most favoured category. Taking my journey forward with multi-designer apparel, I decided to launch Pop-Up Galleria. Most of our products are curated, personalized and only the best are brought to customers. At any point of time, we do not have more than 35 designers and frequent rotation of merchandise is our biggest USP. Depending on the interests and requirements of the customers, the products are showcased to them.
Pop-up stores are making a comeback in India. How is the market for pop-ups?
About three-four years ago it was famously believed that online would take over offline and pop-ups had no demand. In fact, pop-ups exhibitions were relatively lesser even in tier I cities. Now, every location with high footfall like even a Metro station, an airport or a mall has turned venue for pop-up stores. Interestingly, another trend that has fast caught up is that pop-ups have evolved from occasional wear to everyday wear. Earlier, brands that were into only wedding collections or bridal wear would hold pop-ups and it was mostly seasonal. The trends have changed and now millennials like visiting pop-up stores selling even every day wear like office clothes or college fashion. The market has gradually evolved and pop-ups have more demand than ever before.
How is the online pop-up different from an offline pop-up?
The online pop-ups take ownership of the customer with curating designs and sizes that are relevant to the customer only. The customer can choose the design, place the order and personalize a product as per their needs and interests. When compared to offline pop-ups, it is more personalized way of point of purchase.
Pop-up is largely an offline concept. What are the challenges when offline converges with online?
An online pop-up gives the experience of a high-quality boutique and that’s the idea behind Pop-Up Galleria. However, trust issues still plague e-commerce in India and card abandonment is a major challenge. For smaller start-ups like us, turning interests into conversions is a tough task because though a customer is happy with the product, finds what he needs, may put the product into cart and forget it for months. Since it’s a service-oriented industry, most often customers want simple features while shopping and complicated buying options may prevent them from making the purchase. Keeping this in mind, we are working towards enabling a customer-friendly site.
How is e-commerce helping more fashion brands connect with customers?
Convenience is the biggest advantage of online buying as people don’t have to travel from one point to another to buy clothes, and online shopping can be done at any point of time. E-commerce has also helped people move from need-based buying to fashion buying, while it has significantly increased the numbers of aspirational buyers. This is a large segment of customers who have risen in the last couple of years. Also, people are no longer afraid to try new sites and technology is also helping in building the trust factor.
What are your expansion plans?
We plan to enter more cities this year and add more designers, maybe 40 from the present 35. We will also add more exclusive collections and bring bigger brands. We will also consider holding more offline pop-ups to touch base with our customers.