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My First Pop-Up Shop Experience

By Shanshan Thompson

One year ago, when I took the digital marketing specialization, during one of the discussions on marketing strategies, a fellow learner mentioned the concept of pop-up shops. This was the first time I had heard of this marketing strategy. Since then, I hoped that I would one day have the chance to experience this strategy.

My dream finally came true last month, when I attended one of the Google Home Mini Donut Shops.

Before I arrived at the spot, I had no idea what the product was that I was receiving. I was simply attracted by the vibrant online advertisement I saw on Facebook. The advertisement featured colorful donuts moving out of a small pink house. I was so excited to drive all the way to see it.

It was already 3:30 pm when I got into the line. I estimated there were about 300 people at the spot. As soon as we joined the line, it began drizzling. However, I didn’t see anyone drop out of the line. The whole crowd was pretty calm. Once in awhile, we heard someone exclaim “I got it!”

After an hour, I moved forward a little bit, and I got a chance to see the outside of the donut shop. At this point, the staff started to turn people away.

While we were waiting in a line, there were a couple of staff members keeping us in order. One of the ladies gave people a piece of paper with random questions all started with “Hey Google.”

For example, one of them was “Hey Google, where can I find the best Hamburger place in Madison?” She told us to pick one and when we entered the house, we could push a button inside and ask the question of our choice.

Another thirty minutes passed, and I finished the task of remembering a simple question “Hey Google, can dogs eat donuts?” Fortunately, at this point, the lady who gave us the question sheet said to me, “I will let you skip the line because you have a toddler.” How lucky we were! We skipped the whole line ahead of us (maybe around 200 people) and entered the house.

Beware! If you don’t want to spoil your own fun of enjoying this donut shop experience, please skip the following part!  

There were four slots windows for four people at one time. I was the first. Up ahead and behind the screen, there was an assembly line with giant plastic donuts circling around. Each window also had a slide that connected the inside and outside of the window. For sure, it is a playground for those donuts. The whole experience was so surreal. And the button I needed to push was actually the speaker itself!

I was so excited to get out of the house with one of the pink boxes they were handing out. Outside, a lady was distributing delicious donuts to people who just finished the experience.  Right on time for this freezing day!

After I got home, following the instruction, I downloaded the Google Home App from the Apple app store and set it up.

First, I asked, “Hey Google, tell me a joke.”

She replied, “Ok, here you go. How do you keep warm in a cold room? You go to the corner because it is always 90 degrees.”

Boy, that is the right joke for a person who lives in Wisconsin…

(I discovered that you can also switch the voice to a male voice if you like)

Then I asked her again, “What is my pet’s name?”

She said, “You never told me.” with a pout.

I said, “His name is Bumble.”

She said, “Ok, now I know.

I asked again, “Hey Google, what is my pet’s name?”

She said, “You told me that his name is Bumble.”

I said, “WOW, you are so smart!”

She replied, “Thank you, I am blushing inside.”

(Can you believe it! A device is self-conscious and shows it! What a smart and learning device!)

With all the technology advancing, artificial intelligence is progressing rapidly in self-driving cars, strategic games, and many other fields. I remembered one or two years ago, I would use  Siri, but I was never too excited about it. After Google separated the voice feature from the search engine of the desktop, laptop, phone, and spun this off as an individual product, defining itself as a modern add-on to the house, I suddenly now have a strong interest in the technology. Though this is not surprising, a standout product does not always have to use the most advanced technology but must have the capability to fulfill a missing consumer need in the market. Through the creative donuts shop channel of marketing and distribution, Google created a unique experience for consumers to engage with their product. This strategy is successful for launching products of this kind as this campaign generated great word of mouth and favorable brand loyalty toward Google. Following up on this marketing strategy, this month, Google lowered its price from $49 to $29, a strategy called pricing for market penetration I believe with an aim to gain more market share from Apple.