The pop-up revolution

The pop-up revolution was brought together by a combination of three things: the love for shopping, a wealth of local creativity, and cost effective short-term leases due to the downturn on our high streets. There is a plethora of start up ventures, poor in funds but rich in imagination, introducing their offers to the public, fuelled with gut instinct and raw passion. Big brands have jumped onto the bandwagon, seeing pop ups as a perfect opportunity to reach out to new and existing shoppers, whilst for many e-commerce/online retailers, it has became an essential way of demonstrating their brand’s personality in a more visceral way.

Pop-up spaces are here to stay; by nature they are a perfect platform for brands to start something from scratch, try out a new look, reframe a product offer whilst creating a more intimate conversation with shoppers. It is something of a retail speed dating event, if your offering turns out not to be right, you’ll soon find out about it. 

For the original punk-like (Do-It-Yourself) mentality of pop-up creation, there are some rules that have surfaced. Whether you’re a new or established brand, the savvy shopper quickly reframes their expectations and demands, and it’s your job to respond to this changing behaviour.

Examples of successful pop ups:

Magnum: Almost every year, Magnum ice-cream open up their very own ‘Pleasure Store’. The concept of the Pleasure store gives it’s consumers the unique opportunity to ‘Build Your Own Magnum’. This involves the ability to choose from various different elements – ice cream, chocolate, sprinkles – and then you indulge, only pausing to Instagram the heck out it. This year they even let you double dip your ice creams in two different chocolates! Amazing, right? What makes this pop up extremely clever is that Magnum becomes a brand that is synonymous with pleasure and what is more pleasurable than creating your very own ice cream in the warm summer months?

IKEA Café: The Swedish retailer IKEA had opened a fully immersive DIY dining and shopping experience in the heart of Shoreditch. This became a great place for customers to enjoy the much-loved meatballs, along with other Swedish favourites, including pulled-salmon rolls and Smorgasbords.

Not just a shop – University of the Arts (London) ­­­ The University of the Arts opened a retail and working space called ‘Not just a shop’. The store sold artwork produced by the university whilst doubling up as a space for students to get support that are developing their own business. The space also held networking events and workshops on topics ranging from pricing artwork to intellectual property. This is a good example of how spaces can be utilised for different purposes.

Pantone Café (Monaco) Pantone have been exploring the ‘Taste of Colour’ through a series of pop up cafés in Monaco during the summer months. The menu sells a range of colourful pastries, lunch options, coffee and fresh fruit juices branded with Pantones’ signage colour swatches.

In Conclusion

The 5 must do’s for a successful pop-up:

  1. Show up & Show off

All businesses are ‘show business’ so be unique and innovative, but about all entertaining and creating an unforgettable experience for its customers.

  1. Here today, gone tomorrow.

Create a sense of urgency. Fear of missing out on a good deal, opportunity or experience is a major motivator.

  1. Share the love

Experiences are social currency, prompt shoppers to share with friends and broadcast on-line. When your pop-up is all over social media, it gives you great brand exposure.

  1. Fish where the fish are

Pop-up where your audience hangs out, and keep on top of the next place they’ll want to be seen.

  1. A back stage pass

Provide access behind the scenes. Allow shoppers to experience something intimate which isn’t available on the high street.   Written by one of our Designers, Rachel Taylor.