The pop-up shop era

If you think pop-ups are for startups only - think again. Today, everyone from emerging designers and ecommerce merchants to global luxury fashion houses are getting involved and temporary retail is currently estimated to be a $50 billion industry globally.

Brands are utilising temporary retail space as a unique route to experiment in the traditional brick-and-mortar environment and to keep their presence fresh and relevant. This can be in the shape of a store-within-a-store, showroom, event venue or a short-term store rental.

A pop-up is a great way to build brand awareness and if you play your cards right, customers will help spread your name on social media for you through user generated content.

This article covers everything you need to know about retail pop-ups; the commercial benefits, key things to consider if you are planning on hosting one and where you can find a suitable space.

The benefits of hosting a pop-up?

It's cost effective

A temporary retail space means no long-term retail lease and requires less investment in inventory. We have listed some pricing examples of renting a space in central London below.

Test new markets
Experimenting how well your products are received in different locations and to different target markets before committing to a permanent store involves significantly less risk. It also gives existing customers new reasons to interact with the brand, all while gathering valuable feedback.

Boost brand awareness and customer loyalty

Engaging with customers face to face is an effective way to build brand loyalty and convey the ethos of your brand. By coming up with a creative, engaging and forward thinking concept that creates a buzz, you are able to show your target market what your brand is all about.

In our opinion, the most exciting part about a pop-up is that they can bridge the gap between designers and consumers. Brands can reveal inspirations behind their latest collection or a new part of their story.

Clear out old stock

From a business perspective a pop-up is a great opportunity to sell off old inventory that is collecting dust on your shelves and very likely costing you money. If you have high volumes of stock, a sample sale over a few days only might be the best option.

Promote new products
One advantage physical stores have over ecommerce is that shoppers can see or feel a product before buying it, so it's imperative that products are demoed by knowledgeable and engaging Sales Assistants. These brand ambassadors, whether you've hired them on a temporary or permanent basis, can influence the customers' buying decision.

"Here today, gone tomorrow"

The icing on the pop-up cake is of course that you are likely to generate revenue. Because a pop-up store is temporary by nature, customers are less likely to delay purchases; a sense of urgency is created. This principle works even better if what you’re selling is a unique product that can't be found anywhere else.

Dior set up shop in luxury holiday destination Mykonos where they sold a limited edition capsule collection.

Visitors could personalise products in-store which has been a solid retail trend the past few years.

Useful tips to ensure your pop-up is successful

When it comes to the actual store space it pays off to go big, be creative and produce something worth sharing online. It should be an extension of your marketing strategy and overall branding. The design, floor plan, customer service and even music needs to coherently represent your brand’s identity and most importantly engage your customers.

The best fashion pop-ups we've seen over the years have two things in common; they don’t overwhelm customers with products and tailor their offering to the specific location and audience. Bringing awareness to your mission or services is often the main objective, not selling.

Other specific tips are to...

1. Strategically plan your pop-up around a holiday or relevant event to spur press coverage.

2. Let customers try your products and present them in an engaging way. If you hire temporary staff make sure they are product trained and knows how to embody your brand.

3. Partner with another brand to add value, reach a wider audience or boost credibility and sales. This is also a way to re-position your brand image.

4. Invite existing customers to a VIP night / launch to enhance loyalty.

5. Show customers a side of your business that might not be as well known.

6. Partner with a non-profit that complements your business and give them a way to showcase their work.

7. Keep payments simple and opt for a tablet-based POS solution rather than a traditional one, for example iZettle.

How can we find a suitable space?

Appear Here is an online marketplace for renting temporary space that makes the process 'as easy as booking a hotel room’. They advertise thousands of locations around the world and in all price ranges.

As an example, these are some of the price options advertised on their website in London for the Marylebone area (November 2019):

        • Bond Street kiosk = £223 / day
            • Mayfair retail space £110 / day (cheapest option)
        • Mayfair retail space £3847 / day (most expensive option)

The 'Fendi Caffe' on the Fifth Floor of Harrods was a two month takeover in 2019 with a specially curated menu, taking inspiration from Italy.

Over 3000 people posted a picture of their visit on Instagram.