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The Rise of The Pop-Up Store

The rise of the pop-up store continues to make an impact on consumer spending patterns this year. Here’s a look at how the pop-up came to prominence, and some interesting ways it has been used over the last few years. 

Although pop-ups were gaining popularity before the pandemic, they have really come into their own as a way to combat the flight to online shopping. Traditional high street stores are now seeking ways to compete for the attention of younger consumers, who are seeking out fresh experiences, and need something new to tempt them back to the mall.

A pop-up is an in-person store that operates for a limited time only. This may be in a vacant retail outlet, or in a designated street space outdoors or within a mall. Brands often use them as a test-run, before launching a more permanent store. It enables them to test out the demand for their product, and the best ways of engaging consumers.

The retailer can use a pop-up to increase brand awareness, and create a sense of novelty and urgency for their products. Research proves that if consumers believe goods are available for a limited time only, they are more likely to be prompted into making a purchase. It creates a sense of exclusivity, and thus desirability, about the goods.

They are often also used as a bridge between an ecommerce store and a physical store. For example, if an online retailer feels as though there is an untapped market among customers who prefer bricks-and-mortar shopping, a pop-up can allow them to test the water without fully committing to the demands of a permanent store.

Some ecommerce retailers may use the pop-up temporarily to generate buzz, do live demos, gain social media traction, or give customer the chance to have a ‘hands-on’ shopping experience with their products. Other retailers use them to carry out market research, and help them decide on the best location for a physical store.

You may think that not that much effort goes into the design of the pop-up store, because of its temporary nature. However, this is not the case at all. Brands are now very image conscious, and will want their store to look eye catching and distinctive on social media sites such as Instagram.

The more Instagramable a store is, the more like they are to gain that authentic word of mouth exposure that is a powerful marketing tool in the digital era. Consumers now trust recommendations, reviews and likes from other customers more than traditional advertising and marketing techniques.

A great example of a pop-up store design is Louis Vuitton’s outlet in a Tokyo shopping mall. While not all brands will have the budget of a luxury high end retailer, it is a great source of inspiration. The design references their flagship store in Paris, with a cluster of utility pipes in bright primary colours forming the centrepiece.

This is echoed throughout the store in the display units, and contrasted against neutral grey flooring.
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