Ralph Lauren’s Club Monaco takes pop-up strategy beyond its flagship


Discussion
Photo: Club Monaco/diptyque Paris
Jun 26, 2018
Matthew Stern

Rotating pop-up shops in-store seems to be working for Club Monaco. So, the Ralph Lauren-owned apparel brand is expanding its pop-up strategy from its New York City flagship into more of its stores.

Since December, Club Monaco has rotated three pop-ups in its flagship location, with each store-within-a-store lasting three-to-four months, according to Digiday. The program provides retail space for small brands that offer products not usually found in Club Monaco, such as perfume and home goods. The pop-up vendors offer their own in-store experiences such as one-on-one perfume consultations. The chain has also been organizing thematically-linked book readings and panels to promote the shops. Plans are in place to deploy the strategy in locations in Southampton, NY, Boston, Los Angeles, Toronto and Montreal. Club Monaco has 140 stores total.

It remains to be seen whether the preliminary success of the pop-up strategy in a New York City flagship can translate to other parts of the U.S. and Canada. But Club Monaco isn’t the first brand or retailer to experiment with the strategy.

Furniture retailer West Elm, for instance, recently opened a store concept in Santa Monica, CA, which hosts rotating pop-ups for local artists and makers, according to the Los Angeles Times. The store is a complement to the chain’s LOCAL Experience program, which provides one-on-one learning resources outside of the store for customers interested in crafts, such as woodworking and welding.

And when it comes to mall retailers, some of the biggest recent news has been about Macy’s use of in-store pop-ups in pursuit of a turnaround. The mall anchor recently announced the acquisition of a small stake in b8ta, a platform it plans to use to supercharge and expand its in-store rotating pop-up concept, The Market @ Macy’s.

In addition to individual retailer tenants, malls themselves have been looking toward pop-up retail to keep things fresh and attract new foot traffic.

For instance, late last year on Long Island, Roosevelt Field mall launched TheEdit@Roosevelt Field, a 3,500 square-foot space broken out into 20 to 200 square-foot pop-ups for otherwise online-only brands.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Club Monaco find success with its in-store pop-up strategy? Is this a strategy that can work regardless of store location or will it require a high traffic destination in a major city or tourist destination?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Like all elements of retail effort, a pop-up must be a traffic and conversion generator."
"As Club Monaco expands this concept, I’d love to see them brand the space and inject more storytelling. "
"Pop-ups are finding their way into more traditional retail brands as a way of avoiding the existing internal merchandising structure."

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8 Comments on "Ralph Lauren’s Club Monaco takes pop-up strategy beyond its flagship
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Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

The reason these pop-up concepts work is threefold. First, they provide a genuine point of differentiation, which excites consumers. Second, they are constantly changing which introduces freshness into the offer and gives consumers a reason to visit repeatedly. Third, they are authentic and often use local or niche brands with genuine appeal.

It is interesting that, in most cases, retailers have turned to third parties — a telling sign that they are not always that good at developing compelling, niche ideas themselves!

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

Neil, I’ll add another reason — free publicity. It’s a winning strategy.

Lyle Bunn (Ph.D. Hon)
Guest

As pop-up retail continues to advance with rocket-like acceleration and the 2018 holiday buying season is in full pop-up population, the efficiencies of build-out and operations will become a critical success factor. These efficiencies will define what locations and traffic levels merit the pop-up investment. Like all elements of retail effort, a pop-up must be a traffic and conversion generator. But as is inherent in the nature of the beast, a pop-up must contribute more than most elements to brand awareness and building, which impacts investment consideration.

Jeff Sward
BrainTrust

Yes, and yes. I think pop-ups can be incredibly useful in keeping the whole box fresh. They inject an element of unpredictability along side the comfortable predictability of the brand. They create a known-unknown — what’s next? They are an opportunity for both the brand and the customer to have some fun. Pop-ups can be great for testing for brand extensions. If the parent store has access to detailed sales information, then the pop-up is teaching everybody that much more about their customers profiles.

From almost every angle I am viewing this, pop-ups are a potential plus. One caveat is that yes, they create an opportunity to go off-brand. I’ve now adopted this equation for defining experience: Explore + Experiment = Experience. I’ll vote for Explore + Experiment every time. LEARN.

Brandon Rael
BrainTrust

Mass merchandising retailers have finally recognized the value proposition of the pop-up retail strategy. While far from a new concept, retail pop-ups introduce a freshness and creativity, without the risk of ownership and long-term leases for both brands and retailers.

For Ralph Lauren and Club Monaco, introducing pop-up strategies well beyond their flagship is a brilliant move to retain their current customers and attract new ones. In addition, pop-up strategies drive some real positive PR, especially around what we call the “three Cs,” which are community, content and curation.

As stores evolve into media spaces where relationships and trust are built, it’s critical for retailers to get these three components right.

Ray Riley
BrainTrust

The Edit @ Roosevelt Field is the best replicable execution of a pop-up strategy I’ve seen. The brands were actually relevant, and their assortments were curated well. The team members had energy and knowledge on the multiple brands on display, and the location within the center (no surprise being tenant/landlord) was exceptional. I think top-tier shopping centers and the High Street will be best situated for these rollouts long-term as attracting the strongest brands, whether they are e-commerce brands with traction or startups, is critical. Plus, the captivated shoppers that are already in the shopping center ultimately are the closest to the funnel.

Gabriela Baiter
Staff

I own an experiential retail studio that helps brands pop-up around the world. When sourcing locations, we often come across store-within-a-store concepts that can work for clients with a lower budget. While these can be great for niche brands to capitalize on foot traffic and audience fit, it can have its drawbacks for retailers if it lacks focus.

As Club Monaco expands this concept, I’d love to see them brand the space and inject more storytelling. Showing off products and offering workshops across beauty, travel and home is a first step, but how can this feel even more integrated in the future? Perhaps they position it as not just a new destination in store but a “Clubhouse” for customers to try out new products that embody the Club Monaco lifestyle. For the travel category specifically, they can invite their customers into the Clubhouse to discover exotic destinations that inspire their collections. By featuring a rotating line of international products and fare, customers build a deeper connection to not just the pop-up brands, but also Club Monaco.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

In the world of experiential retail, freshness, uniqueness, and the expectation of finding something new at each store visit is a sure way to bring in more customers through your doors! Club Monaco’s pop-up strategy is aiming for exactly that sense of discovery from repeat store visits to build a better shopping experience. Pop-ups are finding their way into more traditional retail brands as a way of avoiding the existing internal merchandising structure. Speed is a necessity in executing pop-ups and provides a great excuse to build a new internal process for long-standing brands so they can bring customers a new refreshing experience at a faster pace.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Like all elements of retail effort, a pop-up must be a traffic and conversion generator."
"As Club Monaco expands this concept, I’d love to see them brand the space and inject more storytelling. "
"Pop-ups are finding their way into more traditional retail brands as a way of avoiding the existing internal merchandising structure."

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