We Threw a Gear Patrol Holiday Pop-up in NYC and This is What We Learned

Back in mid-December, we had the distinct pleasure and challenge of launching a Holiday Pop-up Shop for Gear Patrol in the beautiful storefront of Snow Peak’s retail location in SoHo. We were joined by some amazing brands including NOMOS Glashütte, Teva, Skullcandy, Outerknown, Fulton & Roark and Velocio. It was a rollercoaster with mostly highs and a couple of curveballs, just to make things interesting. We were extremely pleased with the overall effort and outcome but certainly learned a few lessons along the way we think are worth sharing. Here’s a quick list of insights and learnings gained from throwing a week-long event at the peak of holiday happenings in NYC.

Our Holiday Pop-Up shop in partnership with Snow Peak.

Transactional Factoids

We had 101 different SKUs for sale in the Holiday Pop-up, not to mention Snow Peak’s own gear. The least expensive items sold was a pair of warm socks, while the most expensive item sold was a NOMOS Glashütte watch. And nearly 60% of all transactions were single item purchases.

Showcase vs. Shop

We will likely optimize future pop-up experiences to function and feel more like a product gallery or showcase than a straight up shopping experience. This slight repositioning will allow Gear Patrol to function even more like a curator and endorser of these exceptional products. Of course, everything will still be for sale, but there’s a distinct opportunity to alter the perception to feel more rewarding and less commoditized.

Teva and Nomos gear on display at the Holiday Pop-Up.

Online Duplication + Dropship Option

In addition to Snow Peak customers and fans of Gear Patrol, several of the customers we interacted with were tourists and out-of-towners. It became clear over the course of the week that limiting the pop-up’s inventory to the shop’s physical footprint was not optimized for everyone’s circumstances. In the future, we will be reflecting the showcase in its entirety online with a digital storefront and providing dropship capabilities from the physical space.

Grab-n-Go Gifting

Gifting was far and away the number one purpose customers made their way to the pop-up. They were there to buy something for someone else. And a lot of these consumers were in a bit of a hurry. Quick grab and go, giftable gear was definitely our highest performing type of products sales-wise. One-size-fits-all and unisex products were a hit. Next to gifting, cold weather gear was a distant second in terms of product inquiries.

Attendees enjoy the Gear Patrol Holiday Pop-Up shop at Snow Peak.

Price Points Weren’t an Problem

Even though quick, grab and go items performed the best, it was not due to low price points per se. Never once did we hear someone say something was too expensive. The NYC holiday shopping crowd in the SoHo area was definitely much more about finding that ideal gift, regardless of the price tag.

A Little Storytelling Goes a Long Way

We definitely noticed that products with a standout, innovative feature that was instantly recognizable and digestible seemed to garner the most attention. From a gift-giving point of view, customers certainly wanted to give something that they could show and talk about with the recipient. It was clear they wanted their gift to come with a unique story to tell. I think this particular insight tells us so much about the gift-giver mentality and want really makes a product gift-worthy.

So would we do it again?

Absolutely. And we’ll definitely be taking all these insights into deep consideration. Have questions? Throwing a pop-up of your own? Drop us a note, we’re happy to pass along our knowledge and experience.

Like this article? Want to get more just like it in your inbox? Subscribe to Gear Patrol Debrief, our monthly insights newsletter.