Rethinking Retail: How Pop-ups Will Provide the Needed Change in Retail

Adapt to evolving consumer behaviors with temporary experiences

Society has been going through a spectrum of changes: from mobile ordering our coffee rather than waiting in line, to restructuring how we work at our daily jobs. However, humans are resilient and are ready for change — but we expect our brands to adapt with us. Brands should be looking for deeper ways to interact with their customers and bring something new to the table. If you’re a brand and you’re wondering “how can we be doing this,” the answer is simple: it’s time for your pop-up store.

Pop-ups come in all shapes and sizes

If you’re not sure if your brand is large enough for a pop-up store, we’re here to ease your concerns and show you pop-ups are for brands of all sizes: just starting out to well established! There are thousands of different shapes, sizes and price points of available locations, so you’re sure to find a space that fits what your brand needs! For example, our retail space on 7–9 West 8th Street has 5,000 square feet and can be used as a flagship location, or large pop-up store! We also have smaller locations like our 240 Mulberry Street space, with 700 square feet for a boutique or quaint retail store. With so many different spaces, your brand can find the perfect blank canvas to host your next pop-up.

Pop-ups are a new form of advertising

Not only is the hype surrounding a pop-up store great advertisement, but so is the pop-up store itself. We spoke to Eddie Yang from Visual Feeder that described this new trend: “Experience will be the new form of advertising. Catching people’s attention based on experience and not to sell them something in the advertisement itself.” Consumer behavior is shifting focus off of the physical product, and more towards the feeling they get when interacting with the product. Pop-ups become a new selling technique that places emotional appeal at the forefront, rather than strictly pushing goods. When a relationship is built, sales and loyalty will follow.

Pop-up stores meet these new customer expectations, exposing your brand to new people and broadening your customer base. These customers either didn’t know about your online presence or your permanent locations and are now excited by your pop-up store. Even some of the largest brands are looking for new customers: Lululemon Athletica Inc. announced that in April of 2019, its “seasonal stores” attracted tons of customers, and 35% of these customers were new to their brand.

Lululemon Athletica pop-up store in London (Getty Images)

Dive into this new trend of advertising through experiences, rather than just the product, to show your new and original customers why they choose your brand.

Pop-ups represent little risk

Because pop-up stores can be short-term, they allow for your brand to test out new ideas with little risk. If what you’re implementing does not receive the results you expected, good thing it only lasted 2 months! But, this isn’t a total fail — you’ve now collected data on your customers and the location you chose. You can use that to make calculated decisions in the future and be even more prepared to try again (market testing for the win!). However, when what you’re testing is successful, you can implement it far beyond a pop-up store.

Pop-ups make it easy to test out a location that you think your brand may thrive in, or a location where you’re trying to grow your customer base. They’re also ideal for testing a new concept. Before the explosion of pop-up stores, they were mainly used for experiential marketing tactics. However, brands are now using them to test an actual concept that could be implemented in permanent stores worldwide.

Pop-ups give your brand an offline experience

Although e-commerce sales have continued to grow in the past decade, it is still important to have an in-person experience: think putting a face to the name. Of course your customers love your products and will continue to shop via your website, but giving them an in-person experience adds even more customer loyalty.

In 2019, Polaroid wanted to provide customers with an in-person experience of their brand. Rather than shop online for the newest Polaroid device, customers were invited to immerse themselves in the heart and soul of Polaroid, while leaving with a piece of memorabilia.

Pop-ups give people a sense of community

As the world begins to recover from COVID-19, people are understanding now more than ever before that they appreciate a sense of community. This new appreciation comes with a desire to go back into stores to interact with others, as well as brands. We spoke with Rune Ricciardelli from Visual Display that said “Of course we have technology, we have social media, so we can buy everything staying at home. But I don’t think this is enough…they will need socializing, they need touch, they need to enjoy the space.” Moving forward, people will want to be back in stores. Although this may look different than what we are used to, we will continue to adapt to the new norms and look for new pop-ups.

So, what now?

Plan for the future. Take a deep look into your brand and think: How can I evolve with my customer? How can I build a relationship with them and not just push my product? Ask: is my online presence enough?

If these ideas pique your interest, it’s your turn to look into your next pop-up store.

Are you ready?

by Brielle Hoffman

Popshop is here to help you every step of the way. Popshop offers tons of spaces ready to be customized by your brand. Choose a space, join the community, and take your brand to the next level with a pop-up store.

popshop is an online platform for short term retail bookings as well as a global community for brands to interact, collaborate, and even share spaces.

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