Are pop up shops a new category of retail? Tough question at this point in their lifecycle, but what’s clear is that brands big and small are diving into this new format. Warby Parker and Levis are doing pop ups just like the smaller Made in America brands you might find at a Northern Grade event.
Originally, pop ups were a path for a small brand to try out in a city before locking down a multiyear lease. Now, they serve as a new retail experience – traveling retail – companies (often E-commerce-first ones) moving from city to city to bring their “brand experience” directly to their customers in the area. Faherty Brand (cover photo for this post) is one having great success taking their story on the road. Sure, you can buy their products from your local retailers or online, but the chance to “meet the band,” drives up awareness, local PR and social media buzz.
Pop up retail really is showing us the blurred lines between product and promotion, online and offline, as well as underscoring the desire from millenials and other retail consumers to have a more personal experience with their brand of choice.
To read more on the pop up phenomenon, check out this good instructive piece from Shopify.
We also wrote a post on 10 tips for getting your pop up booth right.
And one last article on why pop ups aren’t just a fad, but here to stay as part of the retail mix, and the new investment into the infrastructure underlying them.