Pros and Cons of Sampling Pop-Up

Published on: January 16, 2023

Written by: Steel Space Concepts

4 minutes read

Ready to create unforgettable memories?


We’ve created multiple pop-up stores, bars, offices and sampling stations. There is no secret to us when it comes to mobile pop-up. One we particularly like doing is mobile sampling pop-up; one of the best ways to give a taste of the product you sell to potential customers. And, what we’ve learned is that, once a customer’s taste or tries your product, their buying intent grows!

What is a sampling pop-up?

Sampling is a direct marketing technique in which small product samples or demonstrations are sent to future customers, in order for them to try them and acquire them later. This is done free of charge and promotionally, usually used when a new product is launched, as a form of advertising.

What is the purpose of a sampling pop-up?

Here are the main reasons of a sampling pop-up:

  • Help customers make purchasing decisions
  • Play on reciprocity
  • Increase brand exposure and affinity
  • Improve consumer confidence
  • Test new products
  • Increase sales at point of purchase
  • Increase customer loyalty
  • Traditional sampling

Examples of a sampling pop-up?

Your goals will dictate the type of pop-up experience you want to create and how you’ll implement it.

1. Temporary Retail Space

If you’re transitioning your business from online to brick-and-mortar, a pop-up shop is a way to simulate the retail experience and gain valuable insights into considerations such as operations and demand… without the risk of commitment and overhead.

2. One-Time Event

Even if you’re not testing the local retail market, an event-style pop-up where the press and public can attend can generate a ton of buzz for your brand. By leveraging the exclusivity of the occasion, you can use the event to pique interest. Make it a party!

3. Immersive Experience

A physical space gives you the opportunity for customers to see, feel, and experience your brand. With that in mind, you can use your pop-up shop to provide a unique, immersive environment. That might mean interactive displays or other unexpected physical elements that add a wow factor.

How effective is experiential marketing with shipping containers?

Experiential marketing is very effective. Whether you decide to use shipping containers or not, the important thing is to create a memorable experience for the consumers.

In a static pop-up like a retail space, a restaurant, a bar, or a public setting there are opportunities for larger activations and experiences. There is also room for inventory. A static location can be valuable for long-term awareness in the form of a larger experience. It’s also much easier to store the inventory you intend to sell as part of the event. With pop-ups at festivals, concerts, and bigger events, you’re also in an area that’s going to have foot traffic already.

In a mobile pop-up, like the smoothie bar we created for Spotify, there are different advantages and limitations. For example, you can provide a service and even team up with a third party to elevate the whole experience. Onsite product for sales is usually limited, a mobile pop-up can be a hindrance if you’re looking for immediate sales but is great to be able to go where the action is and hand out samples on the fly. Factoring in parking and permits, your brand can be anywhere in a mobile pop-up. For example, Spotify was at Coachella to refresh the festival goers and promote the new K-Pop playlist & music!

To sum up, using shipping containers concept can be way easier than using a custom build structure.

First, it’s way easier and time efficient to use a shipping container as it only takes 1-2h hours to set up. Same goes for the teardown. You can be gone in a matter of minutes to your next destination and be ready to activate.

When using a custom build, you know it will take lots of manpower and days just to set up everything. This type of structure is usually for more permanent needs.

Think of it this way, if you decide to make a mobile tour, would you take an option taking 1-2 hours to set up with one technician? Or a 2 day setup with 4 techs?

Taking into account your budget, I think we all know the answer to this question!

How effective is experiential marketing with shipping containers?

This is somehow very simple. The consumers are constantly in search of new experiences. Brands are always trying to invent new ways of doing experiential marketing. They can even put together a fully immersive experience that the consumers will recall for a long period of time and will technically become a loyal customer for a lifetime just because that experience was positive for them! They will even talk about the experience to their friends & family, creating new & loyal customers for the brands.

Final thoughts

Simply being there is not enough anymore. “If you build it, they will come” doesn’t necessarily apply to experiential pop-ups. If you’re not providing people with an engaging, value-adding experience, they will not come! You need something memorable, eye-catching, and picture-worthy (instagrammable) to draw in your target audience and get them to tell their friends and family about your experience. 

Keep in mind the better the experience, the more loyal the consumer will be towards this particular brand.


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