Let’s get (temporarily) Physical: The Rise of the ‘Pop-up’

22nd Aug 2019

Retail gets a ‘Pop-Up’ of Fresh Air.

“Bigger is always better,” a mantra engraved into people’s mentality when it comes to launching a new product. But that is no longer the case when it comes to the retail industry. Brands are now exploring new ways to reinterpret the traditional perception of the high street; enter the rise of the ‘Pop-up.’

According to Independent Retailer, pop-up shops generated more than £38 billion last year. It is a trend that has seen as explosion of popularity across the UK, with hotspots such as BoxPark to Bristol’s Wapping Wharf attracting millions of shoppers every year. Now, both bigger retailers such as Magnum and Louis Vuitton and smaller e-commerce alike, have begun to take notice and get stuck in with the action.


Why the Pop-up?


Offering both relatively low costs for retailers and reduced commitment when it comes to securing a physical space; the Pop-up is an ingenious way of immersing experimental products, brands and lines without the risks that can come with full bricks and mortar.

Whilst the concept of a Pop-up shop allows brands to create relationships with customers- engaging with customers and collecting critical data and insights. Many thriving e-commerce brands have found a happy medium with Pop-ups; a meeting of the digital and physical. By thinking outside the box, retailers can create memorable experiences that excites consumers, without signing long term leases on expensive high street properties.

Thus, Pop-ups are being embraced by a wide variety of brands from e-commerce retailers looking to establish a physical presence to traditional retailers aiming to generate buzz without excessive risk.


Shift in shopping


As retail develops, so have the shopping behaviours of consumers. No doubt, this is partially driven by social media and the ‘like’ culture it has created and with the demise of big retail brands such as Debenhams, the culture of retail has shifted. Physical locations have become less focused on stocking and more on communicating the brand values and customer experience.

Pop-up’s which are around 80% less expensive than the traditional bricks and mortar retail outlet capitalise on the need for consumer experience. They are a way for retailers to develop their relationships with consumers in person, whilst ensuring their conversion to sale is still over the more cost effective digital channel. Thus, the key driver for pop up shops is not the sales, but an increase in customer engagement with the brand- bringing the usual digital format to life.


The pop-up is just one wave in the new era of retail, already embraced by a wide variety of brands from Louis Vuitton to Amazon. They are a two fold for traditional retailers aim to generate a buzz around a new launch of a product, whilst for e-commerce it is a cheaper way to establish a semi-permanent physical presence within the consumer world. One thing is for sure, the pop-up trend is far from dying down.




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