Pop up shops are literally popping up everywhere and whilst it has been independent artisan businesses and smaller retailers that have pioneered the concept, larger retailers are beginning to embrace this latest evolution in retailing.
The temporary stores are mostly found in high footfall areas such as city centres, shopping malls and busy streets. The main purpose of a pop up is to create an impact and attract customers with something exciting, exclusive and different. So what are the benefits to established retailers in embracing the flexibility and innovation of the pop up shop concept?
- Experimentation – Road testing a new business concept can be costly. A pop up shop provides retailers with the ultimate flexibility in test marketing new products, promotions or concepts, before going fully to market. This allows the retailer to gauge future demand and incite customer feedback without incurring the high set up costs associated with a fixed store.
- Flexibility – Responding quickly to trends is not always easy for larger retailers. The flexibility of a pop up shop allows brands to adapt quickly and be in the right place at the right time. The temporary nature of a pop up shop allows the retailer to locate to where the action is, set up shop for key moments and more importantly, move on when interest wanes.
- Brand awareness – The act of launching a pop up shop creates buzz and hype that consumers love. The short-term nature of a pop up shop creates a sense of urgency, which often attracts big crowds. By appearing in an unexpected location, retailers can both surprise existing customers and excite new ones. Plus people are more likely to visit when there’s a limited time scale – and this often leads to an increase in sales.
- Educate new customers – By trying something new, retailers can widen their customer base by reaching consumers that may only be aware of their traditional product lines. When Microsoft launched their RT Surface tablet they opened a host of pop up stores in locations where they didn’t have a permanent presence. This enabled them to increase public awareness and educate customers on the product.
- Unload old stock – the majority of sales are still completed offline and a pop up shop in the right location can be the ideal venue to host a flash sale. The temporary nature of a pop up shop creates a buzz and excitement because people are interested in the sudden existence of a new store, especially if they look unique.
Flexibility in times of uncertainty
It would be remiss of me to write a blog about retailing without mentioning Brexit. It would be hard to argue that the current situation hasn’t created a certain amount of uncertainty. However, I am a firm believer in seeing opportunity in any situation and the pop up shop concept is a perfect answer to retailers looking to expand without incurring too many costs. It offers the opportunity to take on a retail space and set up quickly without the long-term commitment.
The retail landscape is evolving and for retailers that want to keep pace with trends, pop up shops offer the ultimate in flexibility and testing innovation. However, to maximise on the benefits retailers need to be able to set up till solutions quickly offering consumers the same transaction options they expect in fixed retail units. By investing in an electronic point of sale solution with remote capability, retailers ensure they have the flexibility required to scale their business operations and the reporting functionality to assess the success of their new business venture.