Pre-coronavirus, the pop up concept had gathered momentum, highlighting the buzz of creativity surrounding the world of retail while, ironically, shaping permanent changes on our high streets.

During my in-brand career, I have headed up countless almost 100 door-opening projects.

After weeks of carefully planning each project, I have witnessed the huge levels of excitement and intrigue each pop up evokes as they are magically unveiled to the public.

When successfully executed, pop ups are powerful marketing levers that enable brands to enhance customer experience by sharing stories at a deeper level.

Through well-trained promotional staff, they can showcase and demonstrate new products, and gain traction in new markets.

But at times when brands are fighting to survive and shopping habits have significantly transformed, is there still a place for the pop up concept?

Despite the fact some brands decided to postpone certain projects, the nationwide closure of bricks and mortar stores forced retailers to rethink their approach.

As a result, new online pop-up initiatives have emerged bringing about fresh ways to authentically engage with customers.

Ted Baker launched its first-ever digital pop up on May 1, encouraging customers to make ‘stylish acts of kindness’ by purchasing limited editions t-shirts and beanies, donating 100 per cent of the profits to local charities.

Helping clients who have not been able to go to a salon for months on end, beauty brand Bleach runs online hair parties, providing step-by-step hair-colouring tips from celebrities and stylists.







Stellar has partnered with Sage Appliances to offer virtual coffee masterclasses in English, German and French to enable consumers to achieve third-wave specialty coffee at home.

By being adaptable, we are likely to see many variants of the pop up concept in the coming months, while brands adjust their tone and tweak initiatives to suit the new normal.

For example, virtual reality pop ups, enabling customers to digitally browse and shop via VR, have been talked about in technology circles for a number of years now.

Talking to industry publication Internet Retailing, the founder of VR shopping platform Obsess, Neha Singh, said: “The Obsess virtual shopping platform brings the discovery and brand experience, which is lacking in the current ecommerce interface, to online shopping in a very scalable way.”

Carefully paired with a virtual demonstration, this could work as an effective tool to further build customer engagement and brand loyalty, capture precious data and head towards a 100 per cent conversion rate.

Furthermore, with new health and safety rules for retailers to follow, we are likely to see physical pop-ups in new, innovative formats grow while social distancing is adhered to.

By being movable in nature, we could see the pop up going to its customers’ locations instead.

Swiss company Avec has tested its Avec Box concept, a pop up convenience store, where access, purchase and payment are all carried out via an app.

The Avec Box has now travelled to three different locations in Zurich since its pilot with great success.

In a nutshell, there is plenty of space and opportunity to adapt and reap the benefits of pop ups to meet the challenges the retail sector is facing – whether to extend customer reach, enhance shopper experience or overcome hurdles the pandemic has thrown in its path

We understand the transformational possibilities a pop up concept could offer your brand and we have the right people to ensure you make an impact.

If you are ready to unlock value with your next pop up project, get in touch.

More Insights

Find out how we can transform your retail performance