After a debut last year that kept its wheels rolling mostly in Seattle, Amazon is expanding its “Treasure Truck” retail popup to other cities nationwide, according to a video posted last week to Amazon’s YouTube channel.
The trucks are packed with curated selections of food and merchandise, including meal kits, snacks, gadgets, electronics and apparel, including some items local to the place where a truck is parked on a given day. Customers can text "truck" to 24193 to find out when the truck is in their area and what "treasure" is on board, according to Amazon’s website.
The e-commerce giant’s Treasure Truck patent, first filed in 2015, was granted earlier this year, according to Verge.
In the past decade or so, pop-up retail has been honed to a near-scientific art used by chain stores, brands and e-commerce companies to test new products and ideas. It can be especially effective for e-commerce retailers, which are using pop-ups (or in this case, a truck) to provide shoppers with a rare opportunity to touch and feel the goods.
For Amazon, the trucks highlight the company's vast merchandise assortment and another way to vacuum up information on shoppers' preferences. "It’s a much more entrepreneurial component of retail," Jerry Hoffman, president of real estate services firm Hoffman Strategy Group, told Retail Dive last year. "It’s a living, breathing focus group, and it tests your mettle in terms of how you get your brand into the market, tracking where your customers live, what kind of lifestyle profiles that kind of customer might have, and how you do the outreach."
Amazon claims the truck concept has been a hit in Seattle, and the retailer is teasing out locations rather than announcing them all. Shoppers who have signed up for the Treasure Truck's texts will be notified that the truck is nearby and told what's for sale. They can shop for items via the Treasure Truck app and pick up their purchases at the truck's location.
The company so far has kept things festive, with movie tie-ins, participation by celebrities and live music.