Pop up retail is an increasingly attractive option for brands of all sizes, as well as businesses who have only ever traded online.
There are a number of reasons the concept is working and many examples of it being executed successfully by companies looking for new ways to enhance customer experience.
Amazon, who has long been accused of directly affecting high street sales thanks to its huge success online, partnered with Enterprise Nation last year to start a series of pop ups around the UK.
So far, they have appeared in Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds, with Cambridge next on the list – with plans for further locations too.
This is a brilliant example of an online company wanting to reach out to its customers and meet them in the flesh, while showcasing some of their more unique products in a forward-thinking environment, allowing the customer to enjoy a more personal shopping experience.
At the same time, the idea of the temporary stores is to provide a platform for smaller businesses who, otherwise, would not be able to get their products out to a wider audience and be more interactive with their client base.
At the end of the initiative, Amazon will hand its findings to the Government to analyse as part of the Future High Streets review.
Klarna, the online payment provider, has also delved into the world of the pop up, setting up in Covent Garden last year, again promoting brands who had only had an online presence beforehand, such as Asos and Swoon.
They also used the platform to give retailers an insight into how to best connect with their customers on a more personal level, by inviting them to get involved with a range of experiences.
Other brands use pop ups to launch new ranges. Primark opened their first ever pop up at Boxpark in Shoreditch in February 2020.
There they introduced their Wellness collection, featuring a host of products across many of their existing ranges from womenswear to homeware, said to be made either using organic cotton, recycled or sustainable materials.
During the pre-Christmas period of 2019, high street stalwarts Boots set up three interactive pop ups called Bootiques.
In an interview with Essential Retail, Julie Bentley, Senior Marketing Manager at Boots, said: “We’re living in a time when more and more of the people around us are joining new social tribes, taking up different interests, changing up their lifestyles, and becoming part of new subcultures.”
“This is exciting but it can add extra pressure at Christmas when trying to find gifts that show we truly ‘get’ the most important people in our lives.”
UK-based entrepreneur Ross Bailey saw the potential in the pop up market as early as 2012.
His company Appear Here, dubbed the ‘Airbnb of Retail’, matches up stores or spaces offering flexible leases with brands or businesses looking for a short-term let, from small independents to major players such as Apple, Chanel and Coca-Cola.
Since launch, more than 200,000 brands have rented space in locations thought the UK and the rest of the world, which speaks volumes about the changing face of the high street.
It is clear consumers are still passionate about shopping in stores, but are eager to experience something unique and exciting from the brands they either already know and love or are yet to discover.
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