Are Pop-up Stores the Future of Physical Retail?

Are Pop-up Stores the Future of Physical Retail?

Pop-up retail, also known as pop-up store or flash retailing, is a trend of opening short-term sales spaces that started in Los Angeles and now pop up all over the United States, Canada, China, Japan, Mexico, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia.

The pop-up store has become a go-to marketing strategy for retailers looking to extend the brand and introduce new products. Pop-up shops are being developed in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as locations. They can be found in a traditional brick-and-mortar store, as a store-within-a-store, as a standalone kiosk or even via a motorized vehicle.

Pop-up shops are growing in popularity as a hybrid model to build more intimate relationships while creating unique, memorable 3D experiences that are aligned with the brand’s values. Consumers expect that the pop-up shopping experience will be different from the average brick-and-mortar visit. They also look to pop-ups for more specialized shopping. For example, 61% of shoppers list seasonal products as the main reason to shop at a pop-up store, according to a survey.

 According to PopUp Republic, the leading end-to-end service provider for the pop-up industry, “the pop-up industry has grown to approximately $10 billion in sales.”

“The great thing about pop-ups is that they have this ‘fear of missing out’ quality to them,” said Jeremy Baras, the CEO of PopUp Republic. “Customers are attracted to exclusivity. They’re attracted to a ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ type of concept.”

Choosing A Pop-Up Model That Works

Starting a pop-up shop can serve as a hybrid for businesses looking to ease their way into a new niche while minimizing potential losses. In fact, launching one is approximately 80% less expensive compared to opening up a traditional brick-and-mortar location.

For retailers unsure about setting up a standalone pop-up location, the store-within-a-store concept can be a viable alternative. Several brands have partnered with major retailers, such as Best Buy, Nordstrom and Sears, to showcase and sell related relevant items via in-store pop-ups. These partnerships enable brands to introduce their products in an atypical store offering, with the goal of broadening their appeal among new consumers.

Strategising For Standalone Pop-Ups

To create the exclusivity and sense of urgency necessary to build a standalone store, retailers must plan to cover all facets of merchandise buying, location, design and marketing. Since the pop-up concept offers a different retail experience, retailers must start the planning process at least three months before opening a pop-up location.

To promote the brand exclusivity, these shops generally remain open for just few months, making every minute count. For example, a couple of years ago J. Crew launched a pop-up shop inside its Prince Street store in New York City that only lasted 24 hours. To promote the event, the retailer launched an online presale for a few weeks prior to the opening, with some of the pieces almost selling out.

Attracting The Right Consumers To Your Pop-Up Experience

Location is arguably the most significant factor to consider when building a pop-up shop. With very little time in the spotlight, pop-ups must be located in an area that will attract the right attention from targeted shoppers.

Marketing also is a crucial element in pop-up store success. As more pop-up shops enter the market, competition is heating up and retailers must push the envelope when it comes to creative campaigns. Some brands have found success tapping social media or events marketing.

In a digital setting, these pop-ups are ideal for social media,” Eliason of Storefront, a pop-up retail company, said. “The brands are looking for compelling content to share and the consumers are looking for compelling content to engage with.


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