Retail Goes Pop!

When I first wrote about #Pop Up stores in 2009, I noted these temporary brick & mortar locations as responses to important market trends – widespread recession driven retail vacancies and the launch of unique fashion brands such as Gucci sneakers and Rachel Roy.

Nearly eight years later, as more shopping increasingly takes place online – at, or the virtual world of your favorite mall-based retailer – Pop Up stores are providing shoppers and brands with important opportunities to connect.

  • Pop Ups allows brands to create a unique shopping event for their customers, aligning the brand’s positioning with an IRL experience. And we know consumers are more likely to be interested in brands that provide an experience, not just the acquisition of “stuff”. When GOOP (Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand) opened a popup location for four weeks in Dallas, brand aficionados lined up around the block to experience the GOOP lifestyle the brand advocates in its online positioning.
  • Pop Ups can reinforce the customer’s connection through exclusivity. E-commerce is mass commerce – anyone with a credit card and an internet connection can shop online, even for the most luxurious products. But a popup Hermès launderette or Armani Beauté styling shop is available for just a lucky few Parisians, helping to solidify consumers’ alignment with the super-premium attributes of those brands.
  • A Pop Up shop can create opportunities for re-branding or re-positioning. Manufacturers can use these temporary retailers as a controlled environment for testing new products or service concepts. Amazon’s popup stores offerings have expanded from locations that focused a data-curated selection of books to outlets now highlighting the company’s devices such as the Kindle and Echo.These brand driven strategies are aligning with increased interest from commercial landlords in taking on temporary tenants. While the general economy has improved, property owners in cities like New York are facing rising retail vacancies. And malls across the US are suffering shuttered stores and declining foot traffic. The result is a greater willingness to consider (and even seek out) popup retail as a way to bring in some rental income.

Some thoughts for marketers:

  • Do you think this sales channel will increase in the future?
  • Are Pop Ups a way for brands to address the desire for “high-touch” among some consumers?

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