SOCIAL CURRENCY – The New Fad in Town

Instagram FoodThere is a lot of hype about ‘Social Currency’ on the grapevine these days. What is it?

Social currency is information shared which encourages further social encounters. And these days it is actually being used by companies in place of traditional methods of payment i.e. cash. 
It forms a beneficial tool for the New Age Marketer, as it has been reported that 81% of consumers [are] influenced by their friends’ social media posts’ so why not use it to your advantage. A wise man once said, …the holy grail of marketing is finding your brand advocate.” (Doorman co-founder & CEO Zander Adell, told Fast Company.) Which in most instances is, ‘the consumer’.


We’ve talked about social media as currency before (see our previous blog about Marc Jacob’s Tweet a Shop: Social Media: The new currency for pop ups?) and it’s something that’s taking off and is an invaluable cost effective resource for pop ups which are now becoming more mainstream than ever before.


For example, Meal n Ease will be popping up in Bayswater, London this Sunday (June 22nd) to lavish you with their Milanese cuisine. You will be able to feast on the finest cuts of Chicken & Veal, served with a scrumptious choice of sides to include:  Mozzarella Balls, Spaghetti Pomodoro, Rocket & Tomato and Fries. You also get a choice of unique sauces to drizzle on top.Yummy!

And the best part is, all you need to do to pay for your meal is upload a photo of your chosen dish onto Instagram. Simples! This will form an introduction to the Meal N Ease brand which will then become a more permanent feature in the heart of Marylebone. It’s promotional brilliance!


Last year, we at Popupspace sourced the shop for the Kellogg’s Special K, The Tweet Shop who took payments by Tweet. And this year we have sourced two pop ups for The Picture House in Manchester and Leeds which will be ready for you to enjoy next month, look out for them!


If you really want an in depth understanding of why this works, we read a great blog by Kissmetrics which talked about ‘Making People Insiders’. (This is definitely one to add to your reading list.) The blog details how we all like to be part of ‘the in crowd’ or the ones  ‘in the know’ and why this human characteristic can lend itself to a businesses advantage by using ‘Social Currency’ effectively without having to spend a huge budget on marketing.


We at Popupspace are always ready to help with fad ideas like this, and we love to chat. So if you have an idea, get tapping, chatting,or tweeting to us to help make your idea reality.

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To Pinterest or To Instagram, is that the question?

Pinterest v Instagram LargeIt is certainly true that once you enter the ever expanding world of social media it’s hard not to get lost in the ether of “Which Platform Should I Choose? Arrrggghhhhh!!” Don’t keep pulling your hair out, here is a simple fact.

Less is more

…and a ‘picture is worth a thousand words’ (Frederick R. Barnard), and if you #Hashtag it, it can be worth millions. Now for the science bit:

“The human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text and 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visually based” (Visual Social Marketing SlideShare)

”A 2012 study of ROI Research indicated that 44 percent of respondents are more likely to pay closer attention to brands if they post pictures” (All Top Company Blog Spot)

This is why as much as 93% of the most popular status updates across social media giants, Facebook & Twitter are pictures. Think of all the countless hours the average person spends trawling through Social Media. You want something that stands out like:

Hello Is it Tea You're Looking For
Genius! However it can be simple, like for example, a business colleague recently packed their bag for Glastonbury and simply posted a picture up on Facebook, with “Ready & Packed for #Glastonbury2014” and boom, the interactive frenzy begun. It formed the perfect opportunity for her to  engage with her audience, let them know why she’s going, where to find her at the festival and run a promotion for those who visit her pop up.

The great thing about both Instagram and Pinterest is that both are perfect for visual content like photos and videos. Instagram is like ‘The Publisher’, think ‘Shakespeare’:

  • You publish your own original content, and create your own, high end funky ‘Andy Warhol-esq’ gallery, if that truly reflects you, your brand and your businesses personality, with eye- catching photos and memorable captions (like Rich-Tea above).
  • Start trends through the clever use of #Hashtags and through your own amazing talent you create your kingdom of followers.
  • Give your followers a behind-the-scenes journey into you, your brand and your business.

Instagram is great for creative, product, design, artistic type businesses.

Hang on, isn’t that the same for Pinterest?

Yes and no, Pinterest is ‘The Curator’, think Simon Cowell, (no offense Pinterest). How dare we say this? Simon Cowell essentially curates talent to form both a visual and audio experience for his target audience, this is much the same for Pinterest. It’s a digital pin board of you and/or your brand’s profile to create a visual experience of your business:

  • Promote your service and/or products through use of such features as ‘Pin it to Win it’.
  • Drive traffic through to your site using such features as ‘Link Back’
  • Relate to your audience through sharing content you engage with
  • Get insight to your audience, their thoughts and opinions through creating a guest pin board

So, why not use both?

There is no right or wrong. Through twitter chat this week we found out our follower @ArtistMakers uses “Pinterest to create a reference for each [of his art] project [s]” and “Instagram to document the project as it happens”.

Either way you should always ensure you are engaging with your audience, perhaps even reward your followers with giveaways, competitions or perhaps use social media as a form of currency? (more on this next week).

It’s an ever evolving digital world we live in and there are still more undiscovered ways to attract your customers through the use of social media.

The key to social media is to have a Marketing Campaign Strategy. Without that you may as well be back at the beginning of this blog!

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Pop up shops aren’t ‘just’ shops

800px-The_Beatles_Double_Decker_Pop-up_BusNowadays when it comes to pop up shops, people are starting to think outside the box.

Pop ups aren’t just for selling products. They can be used in a number of creative ways: for brand awareness, sale samples, experimental marketing, consumer research, exhibitions, film locations – just think it, and you can make it happen!

Pop ups aren’t just restricted to shops: there are lots of unconventional spaces to use like camper vans, boats, a garden space, disused truck trailers, or even a bus like what was used for The Beatles promotion in the picture above.

On Twitter this week, we were talking with @Charlie_Hopper who said she would convert a truck trailer into a pitch black room for blind tasting food and beer samples. Such a simple idea, however, effective and memorable. The key to a successful pop up is to think about what you would like your customers or target audience to take away with them once they’ve left.

So here are three basic points to think about that will hopefully help you create your amazing pop up space:

  1. What is the purpose of your pop up?
  2. Who are you trying to attract?
  3. How can I make my pop up a memorable experience?

That should give you a great start.

And for further inspiration, here’s a lovely video of how the Brighton based Retail Ready People Programme by Vinspired make great use of pop ups to help educate young locals. Don’t forget, if you want to start your own pop up venture, get in touch with us to talk through finding a space – no matter how offbeat it is!


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Plastic money: the future, today

plastic-moneyLast week it was announced that the first plastic bank notes in Great Britain will be put into circulation next year.


The Scottish Clydesdale Bank will issue 2 million polymer £5 notes before the Bank of England makes this new form of note commonplace across the country.


But what are the benefits of the plastic fivers? Great Britain won’t be the first country to adopt the new style of note: Australia developed the money before putting it into its circulation in the mid 1990s, and now there are more than 20 countries which now use polymer notes as their currency.


In fact, it’s not the first time that the UK has experiemented with plastic money. In 1999 the Northern Bank of Northern Ireland created a plastic note to commemorate the millennium, while back in 1983, the Isle of Man adopted a plastic note but later withdrew it due to problems with the ink.


This time round however, these problems have been resolved. The notes are cleaner, more secure and last 2.5 times longer than the old paper notes.


Money forgery may soon become a thing of the past with the introduction of these new polymer notes, plus the introduction of a new 12-sided £1 coin is sure to mean that plenty of businesses will benefit from traditional money being brought firmly into the 21st century.

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Things you can do on your down time as a small business

brainstormingAs a small company there will undoubtedly be peaks and troughs in your business, so during the down periods you should make use of the quieter time to enhance your business for the busy periods.


Work on your marketing

Get round to updating your blog or website with the new things you’ve been doing. Get on social media and connect with people who may be interested in your product or services, and reach out to new audiences. This is something you should already be doing as part of your business plans, but often during busy times this gets forgotten about.


You can also look at what you’re currently doing with your website, advertising and other marketing material and have a good look at what is working and what isn’t. If people have really responded to a paid advertising campaign you did, consider running it again.


Get your housekeeping in check

You’ve probably got a stack of receipts or some filing you need to do, or maybe you just need to reorganise your computer’s hard drive. Doing this now during a down period is the perfect way to while away the hours.


You can also do some physical cleaning. Clean out your stock, tidy your office space and get things neat and organised so that things are less stressful during busy times.


Plan forward

Get out the calendar and plan out events that you should attend, promotions you want to run in store or any other things that require a bit of planning. This is the time when you can consider a pop up shop to help boost your brand awareness and get in a bit of extra business.


Create a few goals too. For instance “I want to have 100 more sales by next month” or “Next year I’d like to double my profits.” This will give you something to aim towards when things pick up again.


Most importantly, you shouldn’t give up! Every business has down periods, and you are no different. So if you’ve suddenly become quieter, use this to your advantage and start improving your business even more.


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Three quick tips on how to make your pop up shop sustainable

recycled-displayFrom the outset, a pop up shop is already a very green activity. You’re making use of a space which would otherwise be unused and not contributing to the problems that come with building a new shop from scratch. So already, pop up shops are seen as a great start to being environmentally friendly. But how else can you ensure that you pop up shop is sustainable?


Reuse displays

Renting displays or upcycling unwanted fixtures is a great way to ensure that you’re not going to run into the problem of how to get rid of your displays once the pop up shop is finished.


Another thing to consider when creating your displays is what kind of lighting you’ll use, and whether it is totally necessary to have the lights on all the time. Don’t leave the lights on at night, and use fixtures which use energy efficient or LED bulbs.


Go paperless

Ask customers if they really need a receipt with their purchase. If you’re running a shop which sells food or drink, many people won’t want their receipt printed out. And if you’re selling products which customers may like to return, many point of sale systems enable you to email the customer’s receipt to them. Pretty useful if they somehow misplace the original, and saves on paper too.


But not for carrier bags

Paper carrier bags are a great alternative to plastic bags as they can easily be recycled. However, you may want to consider a charge for bags, or offering a more useful reusable canvas bag. Our thoughts on carrier bag designs and ditching plastic can be found in a previous blog here.

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Top four pop up shops this week

Pop up shops are becoming more and more popular as companies and brands use them as a way to launch new products or get publicity for their cause. The following pop up shops took place recently, and each shows the flexibility that pop up shops offer.


Candy Kittens, Bath

Run by Jamie Laing of Made in Chelsea fame, Candy Kittens is a sweet shop which sells “fashionable confectionary.” Showing that celebrity still sells, the sweet shop attracted legions of fans of the E4 show.


The shop also sells fashion accessories and also features a Candy Cam photo booth where customers can take snaps of themselves. The shop is open until 11 May on Milsom Place.


goopGoop, Los Angeles

Another celebrity-led pop up shop, Goop is Gwyneth Paltrow’s brainchild. The pop up shop is a version of the website which is a weekly online fashion and lifestyle mag curated by Ms Paltrow herself.


The price tags may be a little expensive, according to Jezebel who went and reviewed the shop, but it goes to show what can happen to your brand if you introduce it to the high street via a pop up shop.


burts-beesBurt’s Bees, London

The natural health and beauty care product brand has opened a two month pop up shop on Monmouth Street in London. Dubbed “the hive,” the distinctive yellow store is the company’s first shop in London.


If you’re a fan of the Burt’s Bees’ honey-inspired products then you can get them all here, as well as meet with brand experts who can introduce you to new products. It will be open until 30 June.


Walking Dead Bloodstore, Portugal

Fans of the zombie TV programme The Walking Dead will be on board with this unusual idea. In an attempt to get people to donate blood to the National Blood Bank, instead of paying with cash, customers will pay with blood to get their hands on the zombie-themed memorabilia.


An interesting way to drum up publicity for a good cause, this is one of the more unusual ways to use a pop up that we’ve seen recently. Watch the video for more information on the pop up shop below:


If you’ve got an idea for interesting pop up shop, get in touch with us and let us make your idea a reality!

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Contactless card payments and their benefits

contactless-cardsFor the first time ever, contactless card payments have reached over £100 million in transactions. Contactless cards are a convenient way of letting consumers pay for purchases of £20 and under by waving their card over special contactless readers.


The cards were first introduced to the UK in 2008, with Barclaycard the first adopters of the technology, who are also predicting £600 million to be spent via contactless points this year. But for merchants, what exactly is the benefit of offering this service?


Merchant benefits

One of the key benefits of offering contactless payments is that it speeds up transactions, enabling you to serve customers quickly, reducing queue times. This is especially useful if you’re running a shop which involves quick, small purchases, like take away food and drink.


In addition to this, offering the service encourages your customers to actually make purchases within your shop. If you’re offering low cost items, customers are less likely to abandon purchases if they don’t have the cash for it, as they can pay contactlessly.


What’s more, contactless card payments are usually cheaper transactions than chip and PIN payments, plus it means that you don’t have to make regular trips to the bank if you’re taking in less cash. The transactions appear instantly on your books too, so you don’t have delayed payments like you often do with other card purchases.


Pop up benefits

Due to the temporary nature of pop ups, customers may be apprehensive about buying with a temporary business or new brand. Having the trust of contactless payments means more people will be willing to buy with you.


As more and more people are using contactless cards to make purchases, it’s something you should consider when setting up your own business. An easy and convenient method of payment, it’s only set to grow in the future.

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Alternatives to discounts for small businesses

A woman sticks a discount sign on a shop windowAs a small business, it can be tempting to offer customers discounts to incentivise purchasing, especially if you’re a new to the market and need to get some awareness of your brand. However, this can be costly, customers may come to expect it, and it can also undervalue your goods.


Reward your customers

Discounts shouldn’t completely be avoided – you should however avoid blanket discounting everything, for instance giving customers 20% off everything on your first day. A smart way to offer customers discounts is by rewarding their loyalty. Many larger enterprises already offer this in the way of reward card schemes and loyalty stamps, and there’s no reason why you can’t offer a similar scheme on a smaller scale.


If you’re running a pop up shop, a simply loyalty card which lets customers get a discount  or a free item after three purchases is a great way to get repeat business during your tenancy. You can also offer customers who purchase in your store a discount for online purchases, enabling you to retain a loyal customer base after your shop has gone.


Something for nothing

Customers are smart, so the something for nothing option doesn’t always necessarily mean that you’re bound to retain customers. However, something simple like offering a free bag with every purchase or exclusive first looks at new products if they sign up to your newsletter is an easy win, and something you would probably offer customers anyway!


Think about what you want

Are you discounting products to increase customer loyalty, or do you just want to get rid of your stock? Using reward systems is far more likely to retain your customers than blanket discounting, and what’s more, if you’re smart, you can retain a loyal base of fans, followers and customers wherever you pop up, meaning that you don’t have to worry too much about drumming up business wherever you go.

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What point of sale systems are ideal for pop up shops?

Old-Fashioned-TillWhen setting up shop, one of the most important pieces of equipment you’ll need to get is a system which lets you take cash and card payments. You can opt for having a traditional till and simply not accept card payments, but getting a quality point of sale system set up is easier than you might think.


Many point of sale systems can be downloaded onto an iPad or tablet device which offers an affordable system for your business. The software can link up to your bank and some can also offer you statistics on how much money you’ve made, and when your most profitable time of day was.


What’s out there?

There are a number of apps on the market which let you take payment via an app on your smartphone. Square and iZettle are just two of the companies out there that let you take card payments via your mobile device.


Both offer upgrades so you can hook up your iPad to a cash drawer and receipt printer, and the standalone app is great if you’re running a small stall. They even let you email customers their receipts – ideal if you want to keep things paperless and a nice way of staying in touch with your customers.


These apps are both perfect for the temporary nature of a pop up shop – they link up to your accounts, are cloud-based and can easily be moved from place to place, should you move on to another space. A great investment, and more professional than a rusty old till!

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