It opted for the real estate that would bring it closest to its target demographic — right outside their dorm rooms, to be exact — rather than the buzzier streets on the map.
Boohoo’s 2,000-square-foot store at 925 Westwood Boulevard opens Friday as the company’s first pop-up experience on the West Coast. It follows a New York temporary shop two years ago that Natalie McGrath, vice president of marketing for North America, called very successful in growing brand awareness on the East Coast as the company pumps up its presence Stateside.
“The challenge for us as an online retailer is you need a physical presence for customers to engage with your brand,” she said. “We spent a significant amount of time in the last two years really building on our East Coast awareness and haven’t really done anything on the West Coast.”
Online brands understanding that offline touchpoints are key to scaling or growing the business is nothing new as more and more chat up the pop-up or shops-in-shop concepts. That’s certainly where more of the marketing spend is going. Boohoo, for example, isn’t doing any print advertising this year and will have limited outdoor marketing. The money, instead, is going into work on social media and partnering with influencers.
The pop-up isn’t about testing the waters on brick-and-mortar for Boohoo — at least not right now, McGrath said when asked if the company is considering permanent storefronts.
“We are a digital brand,” she said. “Our consumer is very much focused on e-commerce and digital so I don’t think we’re going to go in the direction of Nasty Gal and open up stores. What it will potentially become is an activity that we activate…at key moments.”
That the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is right around the corner, with the shop remaining open up until the day before the festival’s start, made opening the store now good timing, McGrath said.
Up next for Boohoo is a Paris pop-up, with France serving as another market where the e-tailer is focused on drumming up interest in its brand.