Pop-ups are one of the hottest trends for retailers who are hoping to try something new. Whether they’re testing out the waters for a new location, offering a limited omnichannel experience or simply capturing a new market, they’ve become exceedingly popular with brick-and-mortar and online retailers.
The Party People are no stranger to the pop-up store. During Halloween, the retailer opened a major pop-up store in the old Toys ‘R’ Us store in Knox, Victoria.
“The reaction was great. We had thousands of people pour through the doors and sales well exceeded our expectations. We have not confirmed our strategy going forward as we still have more time to run on our pop up experiment, but certainly, our experience and results from Halloween builds a very strong case for us to provide more strategic focus on seasonal pop-up business,” explained Dean Salakas, the CEO of the Party People.
The Halloween pop-up store was a joint venture with Halloween Alley Canada, who is an experienced pop-up business that opens up to 30 pop up stores for Halloween annually. Following the immediate success of the spooky pop-up store, the natural best step was to create a similar experience for Christmas.
The Party People’s pop-up Halloween store. via The Party People
This was far from the average pop-up store. Typically, those who launch these stores opt for downsized versions of their original layouts. In The Party People’s case, it was ‘go big or go home’. “Typically, retailers do a pop-up as a smaller extension of their brand, and yes, we have done the opposite and gone bigger with our pop up concept. This all being done at a time when we are seeing larger retailers scale back their footprints and communicate to the market that smaller format stores are the way of the future. I think there are some situations where smaller is better and certainly, for large department stores with lots of “departments” this might be true; however, for specialist retailers, I believe bigger is better. I mean we couldn’t call ourselves a specialist Christmas retailer and then get a store the same size as a department store’s Christmas category,” Mr Salakas said.
The store is in the 3000sqm and is quite possibly the largest Christmas pop-up in the southern hemisphere. Dubbed ‘The Christmas People’, this new pop-up store will feature hundreds of Christmas decorations and costumes, complete with a Smart Mirror for those who want to turn themselves into Santa or a Christmas Elf. “The Party People has essentially operated its Drummoyne store as a pop-up Christmas store successfully for years. We convert around 30 per cent of the 1700sqm store into Christmas and pack a full range into that space. It’s very tight with every product only getting one facing.”
Within the store, there are Christmas decorations, costumes, Smart Mirrors and hundreds of seasonal products. “If you want a $1,000 Christmas tree with diamontes, we’ve got it. If you want a $20 tree and everything in between, we’ve got it. The variety is huge; everything you could want for Christmas,” Mr Salakas said.
The Christmas People pop-up store. via The Party People
“We are testing smart mirrors to learn more about how it might apply to our business, but I can certainly see an obvious application in fashion,” Mr Salakas explained. “The buzz word ‘experience’ is big at the moment and for good reason. So I think we can expect to see lots of bricks and mortar retailers increase the speed at which they adopt innovations. I think we have seen those retailers that are slow, begin to fall behind.”
The Christmas People pop-up store opens on Saturday, 16th November in Knox, Melbourne. “We have a giant tree in store for people to have photos with and we will also have a grand opening on Saturday 16th November,” said Mr Salakas. “Featuring Mrs Claus, lots of elves handing out freebies, face painting, jumping castle and lots more!”
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