» Why Pop-ups are Popping Up All Over
“2017 is the year of looking outside of the traditional retail space: airports, parks & festivals!”
– Tweet from @GlobalShopShow, September 2016
The future of retail may be about bringing the shopping experience to the customer. From c-stores to restaurants to fashion boutiques, everyday brings a new story about another successful retail pop-up. This strategy has quickly gained momentum as a profitable way for retailers to strengthen their brands and set themselves apart.
5 reasons why brands are trying pop-ups:
- Take part in special events. Rue La La’s Boston pop-up was open for just two days. “It was more like a party than a shopping experience,” said Trisha Spillane, PR and Brand Communications Director, who emailed invitations to customers throughout New England to let them know about the “unprecedented event.”
- Enter a new market. ModCloth’s IRL (In Real Life) Tour included summer pop-ups in D.C., Portland and Denver. Each pop-up features “unique indie and vintage-inspired styles” for customers to “see, touch and try on.” They created a festive event atmosphere with concerts from local musicians and free consultations with stylists.
- Try a new merch strategy.com is using pop-ups to showcase brands that have paid a fee to be their partner in physical retail. So far, they have agreements with Clarks, Guess and LEF Industries. In essence, they are acting like a department store, using revenue from these brands to pay for a portion of their real estate but on a temporary basis.
- Transition to permanent physical retail. Warby Parker used pop-ups to see if they were ready for a store. First, they repurposed an old yellow school bus into a touring pop-up nicknamed The Warby Parker Class Trip that traveled to 16 cities. Then, they added the Warby Parker Holiday Spectacle, a Manhattan pop-up. “We tested brick and mortar for months… (Those) gave us the confidence to sign our first lease and build out a proper store in New York,” said Neil Blumenthal, founder and co-CEO.
- Introduce yourself to the fashion world. A new phenomenon taking place is celebrity/musicians using pop-up shops to sell high-end, exclusive fashion. Drake, Kanye West, Pearl Jam, Morrissey and Guns N Roses all set up pop-ups recently outside of their concert venues. Before, bands used to sell concert t-shirts, well, at concerts. Now, Guns N Roses sells John Varvatos-designed tees and custom leather jackets at a pop-up. Justin Bieber had a pop-up inside Barneys New York with $195 tees. Kanye West’s pop-up in March drew huge lines and sold through a half-million dollars’ worth of clothes in three days. It was so successful that he did it again in August with 21 pop-ups around the globe for one weekend only.
How can a pop-up expand your brand?
There are three ways to do a pop-up:
- Create a temporary stand-alone shop for an event, such as a festival. This is probably what most of us think about when we think of pop-ups. Shown is a shipping container that Circle K has used in Europe that’s convenient for taking to events.
- Co-brand your brick-and-mortar for an exclusive in-store event. Nordstrom does this frequently and calls them “pop-in” shops. Their partnerships have included Tesla, Alexander Wang, Converse and more. Other examples include an Etsy shop within Whole Foods (below) and the “Scare at Herald Square” – the Grandin Road Halloween vignettes inside Macy’s.
- Take over a vacant retail storefront temporarily. You’ll find lots of support from city councils and downtown coalitions who are excited about bringing life, albeit temporarily, to vacant spaces.
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