Case Study

Creating A Virtual Pop-Up Shop – Case Study

I came up with a Virtual Pop-Up Store to change up the shopping experience and introduce the brand in an innovative way.

Gooddogs Clothing Company is a solo-passion project dedicated to Doing More Good by donating 25% of the proceeds to local animal shelters.

Building up to the first clothing release in April 2020, a well anticipated video game known as Animal Crossing: New Horizons launched. I found this to be an amazing opportunity to market the brand to an audience that loved animals and found themselves in lock-down. 

I came up with a Virtual Pop-Up Store to change up the shopping experience and introduce the brand in an innovative way.

One of the most difficult aspects of this concept was trying to progress inside the actual game story to get the items I needed to make the space feel much more like a pop-up shop.

It was important to keep the entire pop-up mobile friendly, as most traffic stems from Instagram.

Virtual Window Shopping

It was early March and the rapid spread of a well known virus was the talk of the town. I had just spent the last few weeks running around tirelessly to different suppliers entangled in a string of emails that felt never ending (is it even possible to finish writing emails?). Riding off the fumes of the previous sticker launch just a few months prior, I wanted the first clothing release to be a huge deal/event so my initial idea was to sling the 100% cotton products face to face through mini-pop-up venues at tradeshows and dog parks.

Flash forward a couple of weeks later and announcements of shelter in place quickly placed any hope I had of publicly releasing, into the trash. Despite the project being mainly e-commerce, it was less about sales and more about community for me and meeting those who supported my brand. 

Defeated, yet motivated by the obvious hole in my bank account, I entertained the idea of moving the entire opening operation online. What initially was thought as a hail mary ultimately became a more full idea the more I thought about it. Thus came the idea of taking the physical pop-up shop to the digital realm. 

Why this tactic is viable: 

Bullet Journal Entry 
Plotting out ideas + random thoughts that came to mind (bonus)
  1. A digital pop-up shop is incontestably cheaper than running a physical one. 
  2. The pandemic and subsequent shelters in place increased popularity of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
  3. This opportunity presented itself with an ideal demographic crossover between Animal Crossing players and Dog Lovers. 
  4. Creating a virtual shop inside the site meant that customers did not actually have to purchase a Nintendo Switch or physical game.
  5. I could integrate Instagram’s new feature of tagging products in the photos so I could create a similar experience on Instagram as well. 

Construction of the Virtual Pop-up

Virtual Carpentry

I began prototyping by recording a single clip of the standby animation inside the game. The clip was recorded and edited on Adobe Premiere to create a seamless loop. I then popped it inside Slider Revolution, a plug-in found in WordPress to create dynamic hero sliders. (Not a sponsor, just a genuinely cool plugin)

I chose Slider Revolution because it contained the bare elements such as automatic resizing for different browsers as well as the core features of custom interactive buttons to click on. 

Initial Concept of Pop-up Shop

Initially the pop-up shop was going to consist of one looping animation of my Animal Crossing character standing still. After prototyping the core functionality, the animation felt static and less dynamic than I planned. I then decided to add a layer of complexity to the already short deadline, and record additional clips of my character walking to various positions, stopping, and continuing.

These clips were then recorded via Nintendo Switch’s share feature and uploaded to the computer via SD Card. After recording these clips through the Nintendo Switch share feature, they were brought into Adobe After Effects, where little inconsistencies were ironed out (like how you the HUD appears when your character is idle) and stitched together into one seamless clip.

The separate parts were then rendered individually to be processed and further color corrected inside Adobe Premiere. 

The clips were going to be assembled as followed: Breathing Animation loop -> Transition Clip -> Breathing Animation Clip
Clips were loaded into Slider Revolution as different slides with custom buttons on the appropriate products.
After FX Composition [Masking and Compositing] (Top)
Adobe Premiere Clip Stitching / Color Correction (Bottom)

Virtual Community

The fully interactive Virtual Pop-Up Shop opened its digital doors on April 3rd with hundreds of users logging in. An important aspect of this project was that it reflected a sense of community like those of its real-life counterparts.

I then included a customized Animal Crossing chatbox in which users would be able to connect with each other by leaving their own Nintendo Switch Friend Codes.

Social Media Marketing

Utilizing the new instagram shopping features, we/I included a separate but similar experience on the Instagram platform.


Vir(tu)al Models

With lockdowns in place, getting a photographer to shoot product shots was almost impossible. So I decided to make do with the character models.

Overall: Successful Launch.

Overall, the posts garnered a lot of positive attention with over 1,500 unique visitors, posting in various Animal Crossing Facebook pages as well as Animal Crossing forums and various paid advertisements.

Problems in paradise: Oversights of wearing too many hats. (It wasn’t hat hair)

Despite being a really cool marketing project there were some large oversights on the back end of things. 

  • The initial virtual pop-up shop, although functional for mobile, was not optimized.
  • MOST paid advertising done was made through the platform of Instagram. A LARGELY mobile platform.
    • Luckily I wanted the store to feel like a pop-up shop and issued opening hours which allowed me to work on the site on its down time.
  • I did not set up Google Analytics properly so I lost out on some important data. I was able to recover some data through plugins installed through wordpress, however.

One hell of a fun learning experience.

All in all, it was a very difficult yet rewarding project. The drive I had to just create something entirely innovative trumped all the little roadblocks that were in my way and I look forward to the next set of challenges that I can put my creative mind to.

The marketing campaign lasted from the start of April 2020 and ended early May. Gathering data from the statistics of WordPress showed that the project garnered:

  • 1,500+ Unique Visitors (peak)
  • 11.8% conversion rate
  • Gathered global attention and an increase of 232 followers.
  • Average sale of $46.38 raising a total of $256 donated directly towards our partners at AZCare Rescue.


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