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Saturday 06 June 2020


Pop-up popularity soars

Written by Peter Walker

The concept of temporary - or pop-up - stores is becoming an increasingly important strategy in how brands sell their products and services, and build long-term relationships with their customers.

This is according to a recent survey of 600 retail organisations around the globe, conducted by The Department of Retailing at the University of South Carolina, and Storefront, a marketplace for short term commercial rental space.

It found that more than 80 per cent of the respondents which had done at least one pop-up indicated the activation was a success, with 58 per cent saying they would be likely to do another.

Most online, bricks and mortar and hybrid retailers agree that the main reasons to implement a pop-up are not necessarily around a short-term increase in sales.

Instead, retailers are looking at pop-ups as a means to create connections with current and potential customers, to increase brand awareness, or to introduce a new product or brand.

While an increase in sales wasn’t a top reason to do a pop-up, it was still considered an important result, finishing just behind ‘improve market visibility’, which was cited by slightly more than half of the respondents as the most important result.

Other branding and awareness metrics such as social media engagement, website traffic and press coverage also ranked highly as both reasons to do a pop-up and measure results confirming a pop-up’s success.

“The retail renaissance is all about the customer experience,” commented Mark Rosenbaum, principle investigator and Department of Retailing chair at the University of South Carolina. “Sales transactions can be conducted online, but building personal relationships and lasting engagement is best done in person.”

He added: “Pop-ups are no longer about one-off promotions, sample sales or selling off excess inventory; they are about creating customer communities, instant and measurable buzz, and personalised experiences that require a physical presence.”

Stephanie Kidder, chief marketing officer at Storefront, said the survey reinforces what she has been hearing from clients. “Pop-ups give brands a flexible way to engage with the customers in creative ways, and at the same time increase their visibility in the marketplace through the buzz of the event that a new pop-up inherently creates.”


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