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Why Are Pop-Up Shops So Popular?

Ryan Willis

From one-off food spectaculars to seasonal Christmas stores, pop-up shops are increasingly becoming all the rage. In fact, there were 10,000 pop-up shops in the UK in 2015 alone – and those numbers have only got bigger over the last few years.

But with the recent surge in online shopping threatening to close down our high streets, how are pop-up shops managing to swim against the tide and become more popular than ever? We delve into the world of pop-up to find out how these smart shops are riding the online shopping storm.

Experience Over ‘Things’

 As we explored recently on the Nabco blog, experiential shopping looks set to be one of the top retail trends for 2019. Pop-ups are perfectly geared towards creating an experience for customers because their short runs mean brands can go all out with a high level of innovation, excitement and service that would be hard to maintain in a permanent setting. They’re also great for events like workshops, talks, demonstrations or exhibitions that automatically turn shopping into an experience.

Perfectly Seasonal

Since pop-up shops are only around for a limited about of time, they’re inherently seasonal. Rather than undergo the cost of redecorating a permanent store for every new season, brands are turning to pop-ups to create exciting seasonal experiences that arrive only when customers need them and can be packed down or turned into something else as soon as they’re no longer required.

They’re Exclusive

As most shop owners will know, nothing drives sales quite like a sense of exclusivity and urgency. By their very nature, pop-up shops feel exclusive and ‘one time only’, encouraging customers to make purchases on the spot for fear of missing out. Best of all, shoppers won’t feel like they’re being sold the age-old line of ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ about stock that will, in fact, be sitting around the shop a week later. Pop-up shops really do disappear, taking all their produce with them, so the sense of urgency feels more real to customers.

They’re Mobile

One of the great advantages of pop-up shops is that they’re extremely mobile. Smart retail shelving innovations mean that displays can be easily packed down and set up elsewhere – perfect for a brand that wants to take its pop-up on tour to raise brand awareness around the country. Even better, when pop-ups run their course, these clever modular retail displays can be reused to create other pop-up shops in the future, giving great return on very little investment.

They’re Affordably Experimental

For brands without a physical retail space, a pop-up is a much safer bet than investing in a full store right off the bat. Pop-ups allow brands to take risks and experiment with more unusual or innovative displays with very little lasting effect if they prove unsuccessful. New businesses can also use pop-ups to experiment with different set-ups in different areas to find their market before investing in a permanent physical store.

They’re Social Media Friendly

Along with the rise in popularity of experiential shopping comes sharing those experiences on social media. Social media influencers thrive on sharing their experience of exclusive, time-limited events, and pop-ups are super share-friendly with their quirky, select nature. Making sure pop-ups look good on social media will ensure that your marketing takes care of itself with organic, word-of-mouth promotion that can be huge for brand awareness.

Retail can be a dangerous place for new or small businesses, especially those fighting against the rise of online shopping. Therefore, arguably one of the biggest benefits of pop-up shops is that they create a safe, flexible and risk-free space for these businesses to flourish.

We love pop-up shops for their innovation, experiences, and the opportunities they create for smaller businesses, and we can’t wait to see what 2019 brings in the world of pop-up.

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