David Pérez, CEO at Go—PopUp tells us about the Omnichannel Pop-Up spaces & projects for brands.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
David Pérez: I had a couple of close friends seriously ill by COVID-19 during the first wave. Fortunately, they could recover very well, and no one else was affected in my environment later.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Go—PopUp.
David Pérez: I studied computer science and an MBA. I worked as an engineer, consultant, and project manager at IBM for many years until I realized I wanted to create something by myself. I was very lucky to find an excellent co-founder and a great team during our company’s history, founded in 2014.
How does Go—PopUp innovate?
David Pérez: Our aim is to innovate with and for our clients. They are the ones who inspire our future and ideas. Of course, we also pay attention to what others are doing, trends, and a wide vision of future needs based on studying the business environment and emerging technologies. Our multidisciplinary team works with a very lean approach when innovating. Our development cycles are very short and oriented to fast results and continuous validation.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
David Pérez: At the beginning of 2020, all our business was based on organizing physical events (pop-up stores or marketing actions), involving F2F meetings of people. Of course, from one day to the next, this was impossible due to lockdowns. We had three options: close the business, hibernate or “wait-and-see”, and try to convert our business into a digital solution by applying technology to develop new products helping our clients differently. We chose the third option.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
David Pérez: Obviously, we had to cancel many outstanding events, reduce expenses and get more funding to cover the immediate gaps. For me, the biggest success was to be able to keep the whole team and their spirit, thanks to new challenges and motivation. However, the day-to-day cooperation and team dynamics have been more difficult doing home-office, so we needed to be creative and establish new routines and activities. We have learned that people are very resilient if there’s empathy and strong culture, but we must be more ready for the unexpected, have contingency plans in place, and apply proactive diversification. That’s what I call “flexible focus”.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
David Pérez: Internally, we worked completely remotely, using tools that we already used as standards, such as Google Drive, Slack, GitHub, and our own platform, which is process-oriented. We also established stand-up online meetings and more coordination routines.
We created two new, fully digital business lines. For our landlords, we started to commercialize our platform as a SaaS so that they can commercialize their spaces without our intervention; this is called Go—Logic Space Manager. For our brands, we developed “online pop-up stores”, a Livestream shopping tool where they can launch campaigns with their own mini-site, integration with social networks, and product catalog to sell online. With this solution, we approach physical and digital worlds in a unique omnichannel approach, called Go—PopUp Live for brands and ShopLive for consumers.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
David Pérez: We have competitors in each one of our business lines, but none of our old competitors made the same move to pivot to additional digital offerings, so we feel that we are more prepared to provide a truly comprehensive solution to our clients, either brands or landlords.
Your final thoughts?
David Pérez: Like everybody, we suffered a lot with the pandemic, as a company, and as persons. However, it’s true that the opportunities that allow you to differentiate are always related to crisis times because it’s when you have the chance to do things in a different way than the rest. We still cannot say that this will benefit or not us and society in the long term, but it’s something that made us learn for sure.