Retail Pop-Ups: A $10 Billion Industry

Posted by Jocelyn Schoolsky on Mar 26, 2019 8:00:00 AM
Jocelyn Schoolsky
Bridging the gap between online and offline has been a topic of conversation for years. However, in order to thrive in today’s economy, new brands and pure play retailers must explore offline opportunities. Rather than signing a traditional three to five-year lease, brands are turning to pop-ups – the perfect avenue for online retailers to test new markets and increase brand awareness. According to CNBC, “Pop-up shops range in purpose from discovery, experience, and innovation to simply fun. Entrepreneurs are able to test a concept, while landlords get a stream of revenue, or a buzzworthy event on their properties.”

Advantages of a Pop-Up Shop:

  • Drive anticipation and brand exposure
    • Content marketing will play an important role in the weeks leading up to your opening. Get consumers excited about visiting your pop-up – create a unique offer or pop-up only special. This is a great way to tie in your online channel to the store while offering an extra incentive.

  • Reach your clients in person
    • There is nothing more powerful than engaging face-to-face with customers. A physical retail space is invaluable when it comes to building deeper relationships outside the virtual world. According to PopUp Republic, the top five reasons for customers to visit a pop-up store included finding seasonal products (61%), finding unique services (39%), to shop locally (36%), for optimal pricing (34%) and for a fun experience (30%) respectively.

  • Increased visibility
    • Pop-ups not only create a sense of urgency but also generate buzz around temporary offerings and can introduce a brand to new audiences. Another great thing about pop-up events is that they’re conducive when it comes to media attention (especially when an influencer is involved).

  • Test different markets
    • Short-term rental space allows for flexibility (to test new markets) without a long-term commitment. If you’re ready to experiment in offline sales, pop-up stores are a low-risk way to gain market share.

  • Cost effective
    • Retailers can save up to 80% by opening a pop-up instead of a traditional brick-and-mortar store. Just to name a few – shorter rental periods, less square footage, no extra storage needed (due to a limited amount of inventory) and a much lower overhead. Per Storefront Magazine, setting up a pop-up store costs an average of $2,000 compared to the $98,000 needed for a traditional brick-and-mortar store, while average sales per square foot are $1,230 for a pop-up compared to $341 compared to a permanent retail location.

10 Examples of Next-Level Pop-Up Shops:

  • Google Hardware – From October-December 2018, Google’s pop-ups in New York City and Chicago enabled customers to browse and test new products in person and participate in interactive workshops.
    Google Hardware
  • Winky Lux – “The Winky Lux Experience is what you’d get if Sephora and the Museum of Ice Cream had a baby.”
  • Donna Karan – A travel-inspired pop-up marketplace with pieces from 45 international artisans.
  • BarkShop Live – The world’s first retail experience where dogs do the shopping.
    BarkShop Live
  • Goop – From now until April 28th, Goop Mrkt is offering pilates workshops, beauty masterclasses, treatments and tarot card readings.
  • Fletch – On Saturday, April 27th, influencer JoJo Fletcher will launch her Summer 2019 collection with a pop-up party in Chicago.
  • T.J. Maxx – A multi-day, multi-city pop-up with an interactive game built around the idea of “Maxximizing”.
  • Timberland – In October 2018, the brand opened its first experiential pop-up store in New York City. According to PR Newswire, the concept store included living trees, natural earth terrariums, an over-sized living green wall and weather moments to inspire the community to embrace the outdoors in the city.
    Timberland Pop-Up-1
  • Dirty Lemon – On Valentine’s Day, Dirty Lemon brought back their full-service pop-up flower market. All purchases came with a complimentary Dirty Lemon drink as well.
  • Dolls Kill – Rather than a single city pop-up, the brand has been touring the country in a refitted ice cream truck. The tour will allow the retailer to test the waters in eight different East Coast cities.

Pop-Up Turned Permanent:

  • Framebridge – After a number of successful pop-ups, the custom framing startup is launching two new retail stores in the D.C. area.
  • Rowing Blazers – Post pop-up, the prep brand has established a permanent presence in SoHo.
  • Lip Bar – From a pop-up on Agnes Street in Detroit’s West Village to a full retail shop with swings and free champagne.
  • Wayfair – Over the holidays, the online home furnishings retailer held pop-ups at Natick Mall and Westfield Garden State Plaza. After much success, Wayfair has opened its first permanent brick-and-mortar store in Florence, Kentucky (near the company’s main distribution center).

Topics: Retail Tech News, Retail Industry Research, Omnichannel Retail

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