Frank & Oak, Montreal
Canadian menswear e-tailer Frank and Oak has launched 'In my City' – a two-week online campaign designed to bring six, long-term bricks-and-mortar pop-up stores to locations across the US. Taking its cues from well-known crowdfunding sites such as Kickstarter, the brand is asking US fans to cast a vote for their preferred destinations – but not without the rather unusual step of first 'investing' in the company. Consumers can only vote by 'backing' their request with the purchase of a gift card.
Via a dedicated microsite dubbed Collective Impact, 'backers' may choose from six different price levels – ranging from $10 to $3,000 – which are then processed as gift cards. More money doesn't equate to more of a say on where the store is launched, but it does garner bigger rewards when it does. Investments of more than $50 warrant rewards packages/bonuses such as a free tote bag, the chance to attend a store's opening event, dinner with the founders, or a trip to the brand's HQ in Montreal. If the store doesn't open in their preferred city, the gift card amount is refunded to the backer.
The strategy has garnered interest from some consumers (at the time of writing, Manhattan had 269 backers versus 22 for Seattle – equating to $14,830 and $1,130, respectively). However, it may risk alienating future consumers and potential 'light-touch advocates/influencers' – consumers who are interested in engaging with the brand, but resent the need to make a purchase before the brand entertains their opinion.
Echoing the brand's six existing pop-up stores in Canada, each outlet promises to run for 12-18 months. This gives visitors not only the opportunity to try on and see products up-close, but also to connect with the creative community via talks, lessons, and other in-store events.
Guest post Stylus.com by Alison Gough, Editor & Katie Baron, Head of Retail