Pop-up stores as a part of omnichannel retail: why would a consumer choose a pop-up store in an omnichannel environment?

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School of Business | Master's thesis
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MSc program in Information and Service Management
MSc program in Information and Service Management
Degree programme
The line between e-commerce and physical retail stores is blurring. Today's consumers are very demanding and they are accustomed to use multiple retail channels when purchasing goods or services. Retailers should provide a possibility to move seamlessly between online and offline channels providing an effortless omnichannel experience. Managers have recognized the importance of omnichannel retail and pop-up stores are likely to be a lucrative new channel. The concepts of omnichannel and pop-up retail are fairly new and there is not much research that combines these two areas. Therefore, this thesis provides an understanding of these two areas and explores why a consumer would choose a pop-up store in an omnichannel environment. Three existing frameworks about customer channel choice, customer's intentions to use pop-up stores and customer purchase decision process are combined and a new framework for choosing a pop-up store in an omnichannel environment is developed. In addition, the reasons why do customers use certain channels are researched and ten most important channel features are identified. In total 232 respondents answered to an online survey that was used to collect data about retail channel preferences, channel feature preferences, consumer familiarity of pop-up stores and existing retail shopping habits. A principal component analysis was done and the identified ten channel features were grouped into three factors: "product certainty", "overall experience" and "assortment and price awareness". Consumer demographic characteristics, a familiarity of pop-up stores and existing shopping habits were cross tabulated with channel features to find out which type of consumers prefer channel features inside identified factors. Factor "product certainty" was the most appreciated factor among respondents and it was valued especially by females and consumers who like to obtain information online, but pick up the merchandise from a physical store instead of having it delivered to their home. Factor "overall experience" was almost as appreciated and valued by females, inhabitants of small cities, full time employed consumers, consumers shopping frequently and those who have heard of or visited pop- up stores before. The third factor "assortment and price awareness" wasn't considered very important when shopping at a pop-up store. The findings indicate that "product certainty" and "overall experience" are key factors when a consumer considers visiting a pop-up store. Therefore, it is important for companies to highlight and enhance these factors when planning to utilize pop-up stores as a part of their omnichannel strategy.
pop-up, multichannel, omnichannel, retail, channel feature, customer experience
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