Despite filing for bankruptcy last year and struggling with the closure of hundreds of stores, it appears Payless ShoeSource still has some fight left in it–especially when it comes to competing against high-end labels. The discount retailer decided it would conduct an interesting social experiment for its holiday campaign by setting up a fake luxury pop-up shop and seeing what people would pay for its shoes. Under the guise of a former Armani store in Los Angeles, Payless rebranded itself as “Palessi” and dressed the location to make it appear as if it were selling designer shoes. A group of influencers were invited to the grand opening of the store and asked how much they would shell out for the “luxury” footwear.
As expected, the unassuming shoppers were willing to cough up hundreds of dollars over the retail price of $20 USD, some even willing to pay up to $640 USD. “Payless has gone to great lengths to create a portfolio of fashionable and high-quality shoes, but perceptions of the brand lag far behind this,” quoted Sara Couch, CMO, Payless.
According to Adweek, Payless was able to sell $3,000 worth of merchandise in just a few short hours of operating its fake store. Although the marked up prices were rung up, Payless gave the influencers their money back. Watch how the experiment went down in the video above.