Shein is doubling down on its pop-up strategy as it looks to drive brand exposure and grow its audience.
The Chinese online fast-fashion giant, which launched in 2012 and reported annual revenue of about $22.7 billion last year, serves customers in more than 150 countries around the world — including the United States.
“We don't have any plans right now to open permanent stores, but our customers love engaging with us online and through our occasional pop-up stores,” Peter Day, Shein’s global head of strategy and corporate affairs told Chain Store Age.
Shein debuted its first temporary store concept in 2018, in Miami. In 2022, the company stepped up its game and hosted more than 40 pop-up locations globally — 25% of those stores were in the U.S.
The company launched its first pop-up of 2023 in Las Vegas during Memorial Day weekend, May 26-29. It is the first of many temporary Shein spaces planned for this year.
“Our customers really enjoy interacting with the brand in person,” Day added. “We look forward to continuing to welcome customers into our pop-up stores throughout 2023 both here in the U.S. and in cities around the world.”
Shein’s next pop-up will be in Seattle. The company is also planning stores in Indianapolis; Columbus, Ohio; Brooklyn, N.Y.; Austin and Katy, Tex., and Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
Chain Store Age’s Deena Amato-McCoy spoke with Day and Maxine Silva, Shein’s senior director of brand PR,about the company’s pop-up strategy.
Why did you choose Las Vegas for the first pop-up of 2023?
Silva: We opened a pop-up shop last year at Resorts World in Las Vegas, and it was very successful. In fact, we stayed open till 11 PM every day.
This year, we wanted to explore a new location in Las Vegas, and chose the Grand Canal Shoppes in the Venetian Hotel. It’s a premier shopping destination with a good mix of multi-tier retail stores, restaurants and nightlife.
The Las Vegas store, which was 6,980 sq.ft, was open for four days over the Memorial Day holiday. Typically, our pop-ups are only open for a weekend, but for this installation we stayed open Thursday through Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.
The store featured all of our sub-brands, including Shein Men (a favorite among last year’s pop-up customers who requested its return), our plus-size line Shein Curve, our activewear line Glowmode, and Luvlette, our intimates line.
What materials and fixtures were featured in the store?
Silva: Our goal is to follow our brand’s aesthetic and keep the space modern and artsy. The Grand Canal Shoppes store featured sleek industrial pipe racks, neon signs, as well as a metallic textured Instagram-ready wall [for selfies].
What was the customer reaction?
Silva: Our customers will wait in line for hours to enter the store, and this installation was no different. New batches of shoppers were allowed inside the store on an hourly basis, so to keep up momentum our pop-up brand ambassadors energized the crowd while they waited. As shoppers walked in, we pumped up the music and had Shein signage that emulated the feel of a nightclub.
How do you choose where to launch pop-ups?
Silva: Being a global e-tailer, we target cities that are populated with our online shoppers. Our goal is to give our customers a surprise and delightful opportunity to shop the brand in real-life. To date, we’ve opened pop-up shops in metropolitan cities across the U.S., including Las Vegas, Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, San Diego and San Antonio.
We try our best to maintain the same look and feel among our pop-up stores. However, depending on the space we lease, we don’t always have the same size and design, so we make adjustments, if needed.
Has Shein’s pop-up strategy encountered any business challenges?
Silva: One of our biggest challenges is ensuring that we have enough products to carry us through the duration of our pop-ups’ installations.
Shoppers line up hours before we open our doors, and merchandise can be gone in a matter of minutes once we open. However, our pop-ups enable us to learn more about our customers and what merchandise sells well.
Day: Staying abreast of demand coincides with the company’s “test-and-learn approach” where we use technology to measure actual [consumer] demand. Then we work with a digitally empowered network of third-party contract manufacturers to only produce products for which there is an actual demand. The on-demand model allows us to reduce inventory waste, and that allows us to pass on large savings to our customers.