Pop-up shops have become a mainstay in the retail industry, with businesses of all sizes opening up locations throughout the year.
Some retailers rely on pop-ups as a core part of their businesses. Noerr Programs, for example, provides pop-ups in regional shopping centers around Christmas and Easter. Due to its growing success, Noerr Programs has even experimented with other holiday-themed shops around Halloween and even Shark Week.
Noted as the first organization to venture into pop-ups 26 years ago, Noerr Programs was created by Judy Noerr to reflect her love for the holidays, according to Ruth Rosenquist, Director of PR and Cause Marketing for the company.
Since its inception, Noerr Programs pop-ups have been rolled out in hundreds of shopping centers, hotels and other venues. Because the pop-ups give customers the opportunity to purchase photos, frames, stuffed animals and other accessories, they are retail establishments at their core.
“We’re very much a retailer because we provide digital photo packages and accessories,” said Rosenquist in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “We’re generally contracted by the mall developer and are very much a part of the financial model for the shopping center.” She added that Simon Property Group is Noerr Programs’ largest contractor.
To maintain successful partnerships with mall contractors, Noerr Programs needs to ensure its marketing campaigns are up to par. From a marketing standpoint, the Noerr Programs marketing team collaborates with developer partners throughout peak seasons to “make sure all publicity stories are handled properly,” Rosenquist said. “During the holiday season, we coach each regional Santa for TV interviews and appearances, for example.” Additionally, both parties collaborate on social campaigns across Facebook, Twitter and other networks by holding contests and campaigns throughout the season.
Success for each pop-up hinges on getting “boots on the ground,” and having both teams collaborate on an ongoing basis, according to Rosenquist. “We truly consider ourselves the holiday anchor — we bring the heart and warmth to each property. But it has to be a collaboration to get the word out.”
Optimizing Inventory And Financial Planning
Because Noerr Programs relies on seasonal events and holidays, the company has a “scarcity” model that requires intricate inventory and financial planning.
“We only have 53 days or less to operate in 2014, so every single day counts,” Rosenquist said. Noerr Programs relies on NetSuite to provide real-time reporting, so the team can react to what’s happening in the field.
“Our planning never ends,” added Jay Ballou, Director of Financial Planning and Analysis at Noerr Programs. “Even if we have a definite beginning and end of the season, our planning truly is year-round and entails inventory, shipping and logistics.”
Typically, Noerr Programs has an intense 13-week operating period during Christmas and Easter, Ballou noted. “So we need to be ready. There are certain tasks we need to complete, like preparing inventory and knowing how much product to order and how it is going to be distributed at various mall locations.”
Noerr Programs has an inventory system in place in which seasonal employees conduct weekly cycle counts. However, if someone misses a cycle count and a location runs out of a product, the company works with regional managers to overnight ship items to anywhere around the nation.
But with NetSuite, Noerr Programs has the ability to “literally watch sales as they occur,” according to Ballou, and all mall partners have access to that data. That way, if one location is struggling to sell specific products, they can come up with a marketing plan to drive traffic and sales.
“Partners have an account in NetSuite and have all the information they need to improve their businesses,” Ballou said. “The real-time feedback of information is something that has taken our business to a completely different level.”