Tuesday 11 August 2015


I think the words ‘pop up shop’ have been a little overused recently. It seems this label gets tagged onto any temporary retail offer whether it is an innovatively designed market stall or a brand concession within a big store or shopping mall. Labelling aside, I’m a massive supporter of pop up retail, it has many benefits for bringing new ideas to the high street and is a great way for new business to test whether or not a bricks and mortar shop is right for them.

By definition you could say a market stall is a pop up shop, here one day and gone the next, but I think a pop up shop is a whole lot more.  Whatever you think a pop up shop is, in today’s retail landscape I see it as a retail offer that temporarily resides in a physical building, preferably within a high street.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen many pop up shops pop up and then quickly pop off again.  As with mainstream retail to succeed pop shops need to fill a gap in the marketplace. The retail offer needs to be exciting with lots of product choice, the customer service needs to exemplary and above all else the shop needs a strong visual identity.

I think the reason many pop up shops fizzle out before they’ve had chance to make their mark is mainly down to poor preparation and under delivering in many of the areas that contribute to a successful retail operation. The best ‘pop up’ retailers are innovators, they know who their customers are and they know how to inspire them. They have a clear vision of what they want to achieve and how they are going to deliver this, everything from visual merchandising, to product edit and stock control, to customer service, to marketing, is delivered to a high standard which sets them apart from other more permanent retailers. There are many good examples of pop up shops on our high streets but one of the best is, ‘We Built This City, on Carnaby Street in London, go check it out and you’ll see what I mean.

We can learn a lot from pop shops, especially when it comes to innovation and clever use of space. See what you think of the five pop up shops I’ve included below....

This is the benchmark for what I would call a great pop up shop. A bricks and mortar shop with a strong brand identity, great product edit, beautifully merchandised and delivering a first class customer shopping experience

 Lisbon Lovers
Great piece of design demonstrated in this mobile unit but, is this a pop up shop or a posh market stand?

This is a truly well thought out retail concept and shows just what can be crammed into a tiny space without it looking overcrowded or messy. Great style, befitting to their marketplace.

It’s in the box! There have been many variations on this theme over the last few years.  Well designed and innovative small lock up box units in various shapes, sizes and finishes offering just about everything you would find in a traditional bricks and mortar shop. 

Kate Spade
This great concept from Kate Spade harks back to an earlier era when the shop was delivered to you. Every centimetre of this vehicle has been thought out to deliver this visually exciting shopping experience.

All the best

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