Pop-up stores are a great way for small and medium enterprises to take their online presence to the real world. It’s a low-risk way to promote their brand, make some sales progress, and grow their network of clients and partners. It’s also a way for larger brands or more established businesses to dip their toe in a new market and test the waters. They originated in large urban cities such as Los Angeles and Tokyo in the late 1990’s, but are really peaking in the 2010’s.
So what is a pop-up store? It says it in the name. It is a short-term retail space that “pops up” for a few days or weeks then disappears. With the growing popularity of this model, many establishments are coming up to offer temporary rental spaces for pop-ups. In The Netherlands, pop-shop.nl is a prominent platform for offering and renting spaces. One can also use the wider-reaching Storefront to find and list spaces in select global cities, including Amsterdam.
While there isn’t one way for a pop-up store to be, they certainly tend to maintain a “modern hipster” vibe to their aesthetic. Of course, that tag is open to interpretation – and they really do come in all shapes and sizes. But in general, you can tell when you’re in a pop-up vs. any other retail establishment. They can be simple with a sense of nomadness to all their elements, or they can be over-the-top extravagant. In either case, a good pop-up communicates the brand it holds – and it should stay with the customer after they leave. That’s not to say that your logo should be plastered all over the place. So, take a moment to consider how you can marry your brand to an existing space. A pop-up could really be a transformative moment for your business, especially if you’ve been exclusively online.
Pop-ups and Branding
Pop-ups are extremely innovative stores. In the age of Instagram, they have the power to completely shift industry trends on an incredibly wide scale. So, your pop-up has to be Instagrammable. More than a sales opportunity, a pop-up is the perfect opportunity for a brand statement. You’re either reaffirming, declaring, or changing your brand. In any case, you want to establish your business as one that is current, cool, and desirable.
If you have existing permanent fixtures or stores, then you want the pop-up to reflect your brand without making it an exact replica of your existing store. Your customers are expecting something different from your pop-up, and creating the same store experience might harm your reputation. A great example here is the pop-up store of LA-based fashion brand COS. The experience is similar enough to the experience of COS stores, but different enough to be exciting to visitors. More so, it centers their products. There is a lot of empty space that naturally takes the visitor to the main point of sale.
COS LA Pop-Up Store Centers The Product
If you are taking your online brand offline for the first time, then it is crucial that you spend some time considering how your graphic identity occupies a physical space. You don’t have to break the bank, but you also don’t want to completely rely on a color scheme to communicate your vibe. We can all learn from Glossier, a popular skincare and cosmetics brand that started online and slowly expanded offline. Glossier experimented with many successful pop-up stores and continues to do so despite having brick-and-mortar locations now. In its most recent pop-up in Boston, the shop appears almost as a 3D version of Glossier’s Instagram page.
Glossier’s Pop-Up Store Stays True to Brand
Market. Market. Market.
Ok, so you have your amazing pop-up concept ready to go! You’ve stocked products, hired personnel, rented out a space, and prepared your decorations. What’s missing? The customer!
The customer needs to know very well when and where your pop-up is happening, and also needs an incentive to go there. In addition to the branding we suggested above, consider having exclusive promotions for your pop-up. Also, be sure to market your pop-up as the exclusive and desirable place it is! Even Kanye West can fall victim to a lack of marketing, closing the pop-up of his Yeezy brand in a mere 45 minutes due to a lack of customers.
While Kanye may be able to afford the pitfall, your business may not. You may be selling a product that people want to buy, but people will need to know that you are selling that product.
When your pop-up is ready to go, you might want an easy, quick platform of sale for your transactions that doesn’t clog up your beautiful space. We recommend Countr POS, because you can use it on just about any device, and take it anywhere. Happy Pop-up!