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The Power of Pop-up

Overall, pop-up retail is becoming more and more common, challenging the traditional brick-and-mortar retail of long leases and large transaction-based flagship stores.

A pop-up store can look like a regular store, but many brands use them to create unique and engaging physical shopping experiences because they provide flexibility and the opportunity to experiment with less risk.

Pop-ups are getting more and more popular and they often look like regular stores. Many brands overseas run travelling pop-up shops which they install in a location and then move it to another retail location every few months.

What are the benefits of a pop-up shop?

Pop-up retail is hugely beneficial for customers, retailers and landlords alike. They are often situated in places with high foot traffic and while they are definitely a way to increase sales (or quit stock), there are other benefits:

Customer benefits

  • More diverse and fluctuating retail stores, high streets and shopping malls. Wider variety and more excitement.

  • Opportunity to explore new brands and products.

  • Pop-up shops are more likely to offer discounts, giveaways and event specific opportunities than traditional retail establishments.

Brand benefits

  • Reach potential customers – a pop-up store in a new location with high foot traffic enables a brand to get in front of a new audience.

  • Experience – “pop-up retail” can be used to deliver delightful short-term experiences or reinforce a brand message with positive customer engagement. 

  • Brands can position themselves as cultural influencers, expand their reach and build brand loyalty. As powerful as ecommerce can be, nothing compares with a physical face-to-face interaction.

  • Market research – using promotions, events or competitions, a pop-up event provides the perfect contact point to help you gather insight to better understand your target customers. This information can be critical in guiding future activities right across a business. (eg. In and Out Burger pops-up in Auckland for a few days every few years)

  • Sell more or clear stock – it remains a fact that a huge number of transactions are still done in physical stores. A temporary storefront in an area with high foot traffic for two weeks can provide a sense of urgency and drive sales or help fashion brands shift stock before it reaches the end of its shelf life.

  • Launch a new product – a pop-up event is a great option to showcase a new product or range with a bang. 

  • Test physical retail concept or test a new retail location – brands looking to expand their footprint can test new neighbourhoods, locations and communities.

Different types of pop-up stores

Temporary retail space: a pop-up shop is a way to simulate the retail experience and gain valuable insights into considerations such as operations and demand... without the risk of commitment and overhead.

One time event: Even if you're not testing the local retail market, an event-style pop-up where the press and public can attend can generate a ton of buzz for your brand. By leveraging the exclusivity of the occasion, you can use the event to pique interest. Make it a party! The Warehouse and Briscoes use these types of pop-ups.

Experiential:A physical space gives you the opportunity for customers to see, feel, and experience your brand. With that in mind, you can use your pop-up shop to provide a unique, immersive environment. That might mean interactive displays or other unexpected physical elements that add a wow factor. Think about what types of featured workshops, speakers, and individuals work best for your brand. Nike are the king of these types of pop-ups (as well as many fashion brands)

Sponsored event: While even a one-off piece in the media can be advantageous, investing in a sponsored event can land you even more coverage. A partnership with a local magazine in your niche, for example, can provide you with coverage before, during, and after your pop-up happens. The likes of DTR do this at the Warriors games, Lululemon at Wellness Festivals, even Field Days is an example (somewhat) of this.

Critical considerations

  • Frontage: Does the storefront have a sidewalk for walk-ins and foot traffic?

  • Signage: Check to see if the shop location you’re looking at comes with signage and, if you can utilise it. Some spaces may already have branded entrance or storefront signs, which could prevent people from noticing your shop. Other spaces may not allow signage at all. Determine what you need and how customers are going to find your pop-up.

  • Condition and cleanliness: Landlords typically ensure the interior of a pop-up space is pristine, but the exterior can be susceptible to the elements.

  • Parking and access to public transportation: The easier it is to visit your store, the more customers you’ll have. On-site parking lot is ideal, but not always realistic.

  • Browsing space/square footage: Make sure that the space is big enough to allow shoppers to browse while keeping a distance. Also it needs to be a pleasant shopping experience, not a jumble shop or have the feeling of a garage sale

  • Internet access: Wi-Fi is usually included with most spaces, but double check to make sure high-speed internet access is available. This is critical for your point-of-sale software to run smoothly, but also for your customers to be able to browse your online sales channels while exploring your physical store.

  • Stock space: Visible inventory not on display can make even the largest spaces look cluttered, so make sure you have a storage area. Many spaces won’t have a back stockroom, so see if it’s possible to create a makeshift separation or partition a room divider. This will make the space seem more professional and tidy.

  • Lighting: Proper lighting sets the mood and makes your merchandise stand out.

  • Anti-theft features: . Surveillance cameras and alarm systems are both great tools for preventing shoplifting.

  • Display space: Every space is different, so make sure the spot you’re considering is equipped with whatever you need to display your products or materials.

  • Speaker system: Music is important for setting the mood in your store. It’s a big bonus if the space comes equipped with a speaker system. If not, make sure to bring your own bluetooth speakers and do a sound test before you launch. It’s a more intimate experience than a bigger store and the silence can be deafening.

Pop-up close to home

Ryobi One+ has launched a pop-up store at Syliva Park Shopping Centre in Auckland in preparation for Father’s Day and Spring. This is a wonderful way to drive engagement and interest in the products and categories, and provides a mini temple to the brand in a location where men (predominantly) may have time to shop and linger longer. While this store may not convert every customer that crosses the lease-line, it serves as a powerful marketing tool for the brand which will potentially drive customers to other destinations to buy the product. Win win!

Inspiration | An array of pop-up stores

If you need help developing, designing or imagining what a pop up store can do for your business contact the team at RX. OR

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