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Let's Go Alfresco

Pop ups and outdoor activations are a safe way for retailers to reach consumers.

The outdoor approach works for more than just dining

As New York City navigates phase 4 of reopening, outdoor dining has become a staple for those who haven’t fled the city, and a lifeline to the struggling hospitality industry. Restaurants have constructed charming patios adorned with twinkle lights, fans and hightop bar tables across the city, giving New Yorkers a much appreciated sense of normality. 

Bars have begun serving takeaway cocktails from their windows, quenching the literal and metaphorical thirst of their patrons. From St. Marks to Soho to Midtown Manhattan, certain streets have become almost completely pedestrian as people flock outdoors for an opportunity to safely socialize. 

The alfresco model can easily be replicated for other physical retailers during this extended period of uncertainty around indoor activity. Rather than having a line around the corner as customers slowly flow in and out of shops at half capacity, the “pop up” or food truck model might be more relevant than ever. Retailers who have suffered tremendous losses at their brick and mortar shops have an opportunity to pivot by bridging the gap between their online and offline experience.

In early July, Babe Wine, a millennial-led canned wine company, created a socially distanced manicure truck that offered free manicures through plexiglass windows in Brooklyn. Passersby stood six feet apart and waited for their turn, as manicurists outfitted in PPE helped each client.

Source: Babe Wine

In Orlando, the NBA created a “bubble barber shop” for the players to get haircuts, and Anastasia Beverly Hills activated in Southern California with a customized shipping container for outdoor shopping. This type of physical, in-person initiative might seem counter-intuitive during these times, but when done safely can generate invaluable PR. 

nba-popup-barber-shop
Source: CGS Premier

Food and bike traffic is up across the city as people continue to avoid public transit, meaning people in the city are more receptive than ever to OOH advertising and outdoor offerings. People have missed out on routine leisure activities like manicures, shopping and dining, and the alfresco approach is looking to be an increasingly viable opportunity for more than just dining.


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