Could a pop-up pet shop work in the UK?
A company called Bark & Co. have launched a pop-up shop called “BarkShop Live” in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood that lets dogs shop for themselves.
The shop allows dogs to play with toys in an open, specially curated space, using technology to help their human owners track what they like and don’t like.
As each dog plays, a BarkShop belt they are made to wear interacts with RFID tags in all the toys. It sends radio signals to a mobile app on the smartphone of the dog’s owner, allowing them to see what their dog prefers playing with.
The app also saves a recap of the pooch’s playtime, and allows its owner to simply tap and purchase their dog’s favorite item, which can be shipped directly to their home. The pop-up shop is running until Sunday.
“We made this investment as an experiment to see if there’s a way for dogs to do their shopping instead of humans,” said Matt Meeker, CEO and co-founder at Bark & Co.
The pop-up shop is available by appointment only, which dog owners can schedule for their pets for $30. The amount of the ticket can be applied towards purchasing products for their dogs inside the BarkShop Live shop. The brand has sold 150 tickets so far with the space catering up to five dogs at a time.
The play area features some of Bark & Co.’s most popular toys, which have been made available to its subscription box subscribers and through its e-commerce store so far. The shop is a test run for the brand as it looks for newer ways to expand its retail footprint.
“We may do more of this either as a permanent setup or more pop-up versions ,” said Meeker. “It’s really about extending the brand, attracting new and old customers in new ways and selling them the best products and experiences out there.”
Since launching in 2012 with BarkBox, a monthly subscription box of treats and toys for dogs, Bark & Co. has expanded its offerings. It has created its own products and launched BarkPost, a publication for dog owners that began as a company blog as well as BarkShop, an e-commerce store which opened in 2014.
Will Bark & Co. target British dog owners? If we hear anything, we'll let you know.
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