Approximately a year after launching its e-commerce platform for the Polish market, the specialized retail network created by Lithuanians is now expanding its physical presence there. The latest Candy POP store has opened its doors in the heart of Warsaw, situated within one of Poland's largest and most popular shopping malls – Zlote Tarasy.
"We sought a larger market, and naturally, our focus turned to neighboring Poland. There's no better place to test our potential than in the largest shopping mall with a massive flow of visitors. While Poland's market is indeed competitive, with numerous specialized stores, our unique offerings set us apart from the rest, providing an excellent opportunity to establish ourselves as a leading brand in Poland, just as we have successfully done in the Baltic countries," says Dovydas Juškys, co-founder, and CEO of Candy POP Group.
The Largest and most Expensive Store Yet
We confidently invested over EUR 150 thousand to set up our largest store to date, covering an impressive 116 sq meters. The shopping mall required furniture made from sustainable materials, fire-resistant and certified, ensuring the highest quality for our customers.
"Our selected shopping mall is highly sought after by retailers due to its large customer flow, leading to a rigorous selection process, much more stringent than that of Lithuanian shopping malls, for example. While we quickly received the premises offer, the negotiations took a record-long time, with the contract signed only after six months. We had to commit to staying for a certain period, achieving specific turnover, and adhering to numerous other requirements. Non-compliance with the rules would result in substantial penalties," shares D. Juškys.
Pickle challenge phenomenon and other TikTok trends
For the opening of the first Candy POP store in Poland, the company allocated a record marketing budget of over EUR 40 thousand. "Having experience with e-commerce in Poland, we know that in a large market, marketing requires its own set of rules – it's either bold investment or no investment at all, as small budgets simply evaporate without any results," claims D. Juškys.
Candy POP audience – youthful, active on social media, and resistant to traditional advertising methods. They can only be reached through gamification and engaging dialogues, with themes best dictated by the social media platform TikTok.
Two weeks before the opening, captivating activations took place daily at the Warsaw shopping mall. The longest queues formed right at the TikTok challenges, where visitors were eager to try out pickles with popping candies on top or exceptionally sour Candy POP treats. People video-recorded their challenges, shared them on social media, and thus contributed to the spread of excitement for the new store opening.
“For the opening of the store itself, we invited Natsu and Jasper, Poland's most famous TikTok’ers, who have enormous power among the youth. Some people travelled from other cities to the opening, and they were lining up from early in the morning just to meet their idols," says D. Juškys.
To get a popular Polish influencer to spend a few hours in your shop, it can cost up to five digits. However, their fan base is not counted in the hundreds of thousands, which is what most Lithuanian internet stars achieve, but in millions.
The Group's CEO says that entering the Polish market has opened more marketing opportunities that are not available in the Baltics, such as TikTok advertising or Google Shopping. "We believe that with modern marketing solutions and a physical representation in Poland, we will soon gain the trust of customers, which will be reflected in e-commerce traffic and will strengthen the basis for further expansion," Juškys predicts.
Candy POP is the leading specialized retail chain in the Baltic States. The company is also active in e-commerce and wholesale. The Group's turnover in 2022 was EUR 8.8 million. The company's range of products includes carefully selected sweets, snacks, and beverages, most of which come from the USA, Asia, and other exotic destinations sought after by customers in the Baltic region. Currently, Candy POP has a network of 21 stores, 12 in Lithuania, 5 in Latvia, 3 in Estonia, and 1 in Poland.