What You Can Learn From the Pop-Up Store Phenomenon

January 20, 2012

Several years ago, pop-up stores were a new retail trend, an answer to filling space in emptying malls. Today, the pop-up trend is more sophisticated and still going strong, as retailers have discovered it’s a productive marketing tool.

What’s more, the restaurant industry is serving the pop-up approach on its menu of offerings, too, as young chefs try their creative chops in temporary spaces that require little upfront investment.

Whether you’re a traditional retailer using a pop-up store-within-a-store to showcase new or temporary products, setting up satellite locations to extend your brand, or an entrepreneur (or chef) with a new idea, there are lessons to be learned.

Spontaneity and surprise are the lifeblood of any retail brand. That’s why pop-ups are such customer magnets — and locations are typically a big part of the surprise. Using geo-locating capabilities can help you pinpoint which high-traffic neighborhoods are hotbeds for your customer profile — inside select, existing stores; inside specific malls; or as new stand-alones.

Sometimes it’s not the location that matters, but whether your concept matches audience needs and wants. We can tell you which it is, quickly. Using a drive-time analyses often surprises store and restaurant owners when they discover that customers will drive much farther than they ever expected, or bypass competitors.

What may seem like a youth-oriented approach to shopping may not be. Some pop-ups are youth-oriented, but everyone loves a new twist in their shopping or dining experience. Questions about your existing and potential customers’ mindsets can be revealed through household-level analytics.

Cost-effective experimentation is a good thing. Without a huge investment in bricks and mortar, you can quickly learn how customers will react to a new product, brand or marketing approach before you commit to it. Then, like the pop-ups themselves, you can move on, all that much smarter.


After all, the energy and constant change is what keeps us all engaged in the retail world, isn’t it?