The success of pop-up stores

Pop-up stores are everywhere, they’re one of the latest types of retail channel and a groundbreaking communication vehicle. We’re not talking here about a miniature boutique, but a whole new concept, so let’s have a closer look at why pop-up shops are becoming a brand favourite.

What’s all the fuss about pop-up retailing?

Pop-ups started in the noughties and haven’t looked back since. They’re mainly used for kickstarting new products and attracting potential customers through an original and entertaining brand experience. They help drive brand awareness and interaction with the consumer. Some companies use pop-ups to test a location outside their catchment area. For pure players, a pop-up store is a low-cost/low-risk way of testing the retail waters, while other brands set out to create an element of surprise for a one-off event, as part of a communication campaign. Pop-up stores are also used for collecting data, such as prospect contact details and feedback on new products.

How can you set up a pop-up store?

A pop-up store has to set out to be as exclusive and original as possible. It has to be attractive, striking and entertaining and the brand has to build its own pop-up ambience. Location is of prime importance and pop-up stores are set up in sometimes unusual spots, but which enjoy high visibility either in the town centre or in shopping malls. In addition to a strategic location, the timescale is also a major factor and has to tie in with consumer moods and brand product rollout schedules. Costs will depend on the location and the resources used. The pop-up store is a brand awareness driver and so payback shouldn’t be assessed purely in terms of direct sales. As a pop-up store is a temporary vehicle, communication is essential for its visibility, both to prepare for its opening and to keep interest up during and after the event. Digital communication fits in well with the experimental character of pop-up retailing, while most events are also backed up by a press campaign.

Phygitalisation of pop-up retail: combining brick and mortar stores and e-commerce

While an effective communication strategy is a must, it’s when the event goes viral that brand awareness starts to shoot up and this is why businesses are increasingly turning to phygitalisation. The Kiabi store in Paris, for example offers consumers new experiences, including a virtual window where a smartphone can be used to colour up Paris –tying in with a Kiabi ad campaign– or tablets which are handed to visitors so they can reserve articles on the website. To cap off the experience, consumers can try the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset and move between the in-store holograms for the Kiabi and Kiabi Kids concepts
The attraction of pop-up stores is their originality and their pulling power, which helps create a swift upward curve in driving brand awareness and image. It looks like pop-ups are here to stay!


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