Pop up stores: the symptom not the solution

Pop-ups are popping up all over the place..arguably the novelty will wear out. So when considering a pop up, ask yourself…

Why you would:

It provides a chance to test a proposition or a geographic location with low commitment, and limited expectation from the public. Some shoppers like the variety and eclectic mix that a pop-up store can bring, especially for goods that are otherwise only available online. This enables them to touch and feel the product. Pop-ups feel new…at least for a while. They have a curiosity factor, which draws people over the threshold. This does not negate the need for high impact window displays, but does encourage a degree of transparency in them, so the inside of the store can be peeked at too. At their best, they have a kind of market-stall feel, with a sense of discovery that is often sadly lacking in the uniformity of a modern-day mall offer. The challenge of course is to be able to maintain this, and keep it sustainable, with fresh lines and displays

Why you wouldn’t:

Because your regular stores are so boring that you need to inject some sorely needed excitement into your brand.

This is where the real concern is with pop-ups – it’s one of the underlying reasons for their existence.  Yes, customers have shorter attention spans and demand more stimulation than ever before. Yes, you need to add the excitement of an ever changing store environment. Sure a pop-up can provide some oomph pretty cheaply, but wouldn’t you be better off adding  more compelling angles to your core offering?

Well go right ahead…with digital tools such as videowalls, tablets, interactive displays, managed music and lighting you can change your store energy and vibe every hour if you want! Explore the potential for surprise within your permanent stores which is where you need to delight 99% of your customers…whether you supplement that with pop ups or not.

Pop-up stores with limited stock can feel dangerously like an outlet. Customer service can be sacrificed. If you use temporary or promotional staff train them fully – including product knowledge. Even in a pop-up store, service still matters. Have enough stock to service the cuastom you attract. And have your solutions to returns etc worked out in advance.

Finally… leave the sledgehammer at home. It’s naff to leave a pop-up store in place for months, just as it’s naff to plaster a pop-up store with signs saying ‘pop-up store’. You as a retailer might be excited by this new retail expression but your customers simply want to experience it. Although it’s perhaps become fairly broadly understood, the term ‘pop-up’ is an industry term that adds nothing to the customer experience.

Pop-up is an attitude. It’s energy, surprise, informality, fun. Don’t ‘say’ pop-up, ‘be’ pop-up.

puma pop up store


Uniqlo pop-up