Justin Stone founded Surfdome in 2005, since then it has become one of Europe’s biggest online retailers. Selling clothing, accessories, and equipment for well known lifestyle, fashion, outdoor and sports brands it has amassed a huge online following. For seven weeks in Summer 2014, Surfdome brought a wave of surf lifestyle to Old Street Station, with its first ever pop up shop. We chatted to Justin to find out more…
Why did you chose to launch a pop up shop?
Surfdome has such a strong online presence, but the offline landscape is a relatively new one for us. A pop-up shop offers the perfect playground to engage with customers face-to-face and offers a physical environment that captures our values and character. Surfdome is synonymous with the beach and summer, so what better time to launch our first pop-up shop.
What were you looking to get out of your pop up shop?
A platform to put ourselves on the map by showcasing our best brands, generating opportunities for unique content creation and ensuring people had a lot of fun along the way.
How did you choose the space?
The location at Old Street Underground Station offered a huge footfall and easy access from an area of London that thrives on creativity and interaction. We particularly liked the contrast of the urban landscape and underground tunnels against our vibrant surf/skate offering. This novelty factor made our Surf Old St campaign particularly inspirational, for landlocked surfers and new customers alike.
How do you keep your brand experience consistent online and offline?
All our offline activity was also coordinated through all our online marketing channels, so everyone got a chance to live the experience. The shop activation was fully integrated into our website, email marketing and social media communications and offered huge potential for generating unique real-time content and bringing credible personality to our online presence.
How did you activate the space / entice to people to come?
Events and activations were key, the shop was so much more than a commerce space. Each week we’d have an event or two that the public could get involved in; this ranged from creative workshops and high profile talks through to movie premieres and surf parties. We also had regular in-store giveaways and brand takeovers so the products in store were constantly changing according to the marketing stories we were telling for that week.
The opening party. Seeing a concept finally come to fruition and making our brand tangible on such a large scale for the first time was a great experience and we were blown away by the support and enthusiasm of everyone who came.
Check out the video!
Where do you get inspiration from?
Both the free outdoor living of the coast and the energetic creativity of an urban landscape! This combination reflects itself in our choice of pop-up location. The pop-up store was particularly inspired by old school California – where the city meets the coast.
What's one piece of advice you'd give to other retailers looking to launch a pop up shop?
For a retailer, brand engagement is key in terms of strategic planning. Focus on being interesting, innovative and charismatic – treat people as individuals and friends rather than customers. If you can strive to build a loyal, engaged community, then the ROI and customer LTV will naturally follow in due course.