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How Pop-ups Contribute to the Retail Mix

By Joseph Scaretta

Pop-up shops have taken the retail world by storm. While the traditional store model has worked for some, it’s not the ideal fit for most. Large spaces with long-term leases are quite an investment and risk for new retailers. Plus, with consumers looking for added value in their shopping experience, a pop-up store is a great option for retailers looking to provide a short-term experiential shopping environment to test customer reception to a new product/brand or to test the market. The result is a low-risk, yet high-impact way to dip a toe into the traditional retail experience, without having to commit to a full plunge, allowing retailers to cover a larger geographic footprint for marketing and client growth with a reduced cost per store.

With this new pop-up trend in e-commerce that's sending online retailers into the physical world of sales, brands now have the chance to better grow their enterprises by meeting the expectations of consumers — who demand the best of both worlds — without overextending or risking too much. Experiential retail offers an ever-changing interactive experience that takes shopping to the next level. It might be hard to accommodate that within a traditional retail space; however, pop-up stores allow established and up-and-coming brands to refresh their presentation more frequently. One of the main benefits to this fairly revolutionary retail strategy is the opportunity to quickly get to know the consumer on a very intimate level, while obtaining data to grow the brand accordingly.

Location, Location, Location

It’s all about the location. Unique foot traffic is especially important when trying to create a buzz. Pop-ups often find success at historical sites, pop-up vans, mobile display options, and pre-established pop-ups like Simon Malls. Recognizing that these types of retail experiences add tremendous value to their locations, Simon Malls has developed “The Edit”— a dynamic showcase space for startups and e-commerce sellers. Simon provides various footprint sizes, displays, security, and an ideal location for a short-term commitment. 

Often the retail centers that offered pop-up shopping options were those that were struggling facilities. Empty stalls were a sign of a retail center that couldn’t provide enough clientele and traffic to keep stores in business. That’s certainly not the case anymore. Today’s consumers are looking for innovation, which is why all retail facilities should be interested in pop-ups, as they provide a whole new platform and make the shopping experience more modern and fresh. With the proper advertising, social media presence and promotional opportunities and giveaways, pop-ups have the potential to not only excite shoppers but to create a viral experience attracting customers from a larger-than-normal radius. 

Retail facility owners and managers considering adding pop-ups to their store lineup should know the pros of bringing in this type of seller:

• Pop-ups can be great at attracting positive attention and excitement.  

• There is potential for the pop-up to become a long-term renter by offering a “try before you buy” option. 

• Having a pop-up in a vacant space will reduce the cost of carrying that vacancy until a full-term tenant is found and helps market the space for the landlord. 

• Having someone occupy the space can prevent vandalism that occurs in empty stores. 

• Sometimes retailers can negotiate a higher cost-per-square-foot rental agreement. Larger companies using the pop-up to advertise a new offering will be willing to pay more for a desirable space and will put more into making it attractive to their customers.

In the end, retail facility owners and managers should know that it’s all about their customers. Owners should know detailed information about their shoppers: what they find interesting and what will excite and engage them. A pop-up can be a great opportunity to generate buzz and draw traffic to retail centers, as well as shore up vacancy loss. As long as pop-ups are thoughtfully introduced into the retail mix, they should provide a win-win for both the retail center owner and pop-up retailer. 

Joseph Scaretta is co-CEO and co-founder of CS Hudson, a project and program management firm specializing in turnkey services and purpose-built facility solutions that help clients with dispersed portfolios deliver consistent, high-quality brand experiences. 

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posted on 5/21/2018