There was a time when pop-up shops were a tool of scrappy entrepreneurs, but in 2018, pop-up shops are a mainstream marketing tool used by retailers of all sizes and specialties. Today, there are pop up theme bars, pop up Kardashian stores, to pop-up Pop Tart shops. Pop-up shops are trendy, for sure, but when they are executed well, they can be a strong branding and marketing tool that can help retailers reach new audiences and create new experiences in a brick-and-mortar setting.
What Makes Pop-Ups So Popular?
According to a survey by PopUp Republic, 61% of shoppers say the main reason they shop at pop-ups is for seasonal needs. This concept is certainly not new. Halloween costume shops and Christmas-themed shops and kiosks have been around for decades. But shoppers have evolved with the times, and now they cite a host of other reasons for seeking out pop-ups:
- 39% are in search of unique products and services
- 36% are looking for localized product offerings
- 34% are looking for deals
- 33% want convenience
- 30% seek a unique experience
Consumers believe pop-up shops serve a real purpose, so as long as a shop meets their needs at the right time, they will patronize the event.
Retailers are able to cash in on the popularity of pop-ups because of some critical market conditions:
Unused retail space is plentiful
According to data, there are as many as 42 square feet of retail shopping space per capita in the US and one in ten stores currently sits vacant. Retailers have endless options for pop-up shops, and mall owners are open to short-term lease agreements for vacant spaces.
Shopping Habits are Changing
Each year, Americans shift more of their annual shopping spend online and they are getting choosier about where they spend their time and money with brick-and-mortar stores. Millennials are after a more urban, boutique-style experience than their older counterparts and large retailers and brands can create a much more intimate experience in a pop-up shop. Pop-ups also allow brands that are strictly online to create a brick-and-mortar experience without expending too much overhead.
Large Events Hold Captive Audiences
Pop-up shops are becoming fixtures at music festivals, film festivals, fashion events, and large conventions. By rending space in, near or around these venues, bands and retailers can connect directly with a large subset of their target customers.
Pop-Up Shops Reduce Testing Risk
Retailers and brands that want to test new ideas, products, store designs, technologies, processes or markets can dip their toes in and hedge against risk with pop-up shops. Traditionally, retailers and brands would test in a specific subset of stores, but pop-ups allow for testing without disrupting their existing customer experience.
Strategizing a Successful Pop-Up Shop
When it comes to the success of a pop-up shop, location is one of the biggest factors to consider. Because a pop-up is only open for a limited time, it’s important to be in an area that will attract attention and foot traffic. It is necessary to engage in some crucial site selection investigative tactics to get a good feel for the traffic of a location before simply setting up shop.
A lot of the marketing around a pop-up is grassroots and guerilla by nature – retailers typically leverage their biggest social media influencers to spread the word – but it will be impossible to attract customers if the shop is in an inconvenient location.
When gauging success, it’s necessary to study the right metrics, as well. While the goal of any pop-up shop is to increase revenue, many only look at in-store sales when determining success. However, it is important to broaden the scope. If new shoppers sign up for email lists or engage in through social media thanks to the pop-up, this is also an important success factor.
By studying the most relevant data before, during and after a pop-up shop event, retailers in almost any category can cash in on this fun and exciting trend.