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Retail pop-ups: the next big thing?

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By Published On: June 21, 20230 Comments

With the way we shop ever evolving, we spoke to Emily Farmer, Market Manager at Peerspace to discuss retail pop-ups and their opportunities.

The market for pop-ups extends throughout the entire retail sector through to corporate and consumers. The opportunities and the benefits are extensive, from photographers and filmmakers requiring unique and creative spaces for rent for filming or screenings, to entrepreneurs and business owners looking for a local boardroom or offsite venue through to party organisers and event planners searching for that wow factor space.

With lockdowns forcing many retailers online, having to close their retail doors or new pureplay retailers perfecting ecommerce, are retail pop ups seeing a rise in popularity or are retailers sticking to online? Can you explain this trend? 

We’ve seen increased interest in retail pop-ups and the positive impact for brands, as it enables a ‘face-to-the-name’ approach. Pop-ups can help brands get in front of new customers, and increase trust in the brand by enabling new and existing customers to interact with products and brand representatives in person.

However, the traditional retail pop-up model isn’t accessible for many brands, particularly new and emerging ones. The timeframe for these leases can vary from several weeks to a couple of months or more, which is a much bigger commitment – and risk – for brands trying to test this concept on a budget. With Peerspace, brands can create flexible and on-demand retail pop-ups in creative spaces that they can book by the hour. This also enables businesses to reach even more potential customers by opening up the option to pop-up in different or changing locations. Many brands are finding new retail pop-ups to be an effective business model with plenty of flexibility built in and no long term financial commitment.

Are retailers more using pop-ups as purely promotional, or as trials for full scale bricks and mortar stores?

We’re seeing a real mix of brands using pop-ups in Peerspaces as a trial when considering a brick and mortar store, and as short-term promotions. For a lot of online-first brands that launched over the last few years, these pop-ups are their first foray into in-person shopping.

Retail pop-up stores can be a low-risk tool for emerging brands, providing a unique opportunity to incubate and drive revenue. Small and start-up businesses can trial a retail space without the challenge of massive upfront costs that come with a new store opening, and without a long-term commitment to a lease. Access to hourly venue rentals also enables growing brands to book spaces in high traffic areas that may otherwise be cost prohibitive.

Brands are increasingly choosing pop-ups to test out store locations and further capitalise on seasonal sales, engage loyal customers, and enhance the customer experience through novelty. It’s an opportunity for businesses to change the format for shoppers and provide a personalised brand experience. Cult favourite formal and bridal fashion retailer, White Runway recently held a three-day pop-up in Melbourne at Social Studio. White Runway offers hundreds of dress styles in a size-inclusive range, all designed and delivered to your door within one to twelve weeks. By hosting a pop-up event in a Peerspace, the brand was able to take their e-commerce brand values beyond the screen to deliver excellent customer service in-person.

These pop-ups also aren’t limited to traditional shopping – many brands plan special events in their spaces. For example, a UK sustainable jewellery brand recently planned a pop-up in a high traffic area of London which included a yoga class led by a local fitness instructor and content creator. Adding activities to your pop-up can help boost engagement and get more folks in the door.

Are you starting to see the cost of living increases affecting foot traffic in malls? Is this a negative or positive effect for retailers?

Prior to December 2022’s soaring inflation rate, Monash University’s Retail Monitor found bricks and mortar made a fashionable comeback as physical shopping returned to pre-pandemic levels. As in-person shopping returned, the e-commerce brands that blossomed in the pandemic began to introduce retail pop-ups to meet changing consumer demand.

While in-person shopping is making a comeback, Australians are still tightening their belts in the face of inflation. With consumers being more intentional about their spending, it’s more important than ever for brands to build trust with new and existing customers. Emarsys’ 2022 Loyalty Index reported that 79% of Australians are loyal to specific retailers, and over half only buy from brands they love and trust. Having a physical presence, even for a limited time, helps with brand awareness and loyalty. It’s not just customers facing these high costs; particularly with high inflation rates and the high cost of living, rentable venues and spaces aren’t always accessible to brands, which is why hourly venues can help make this possible.

With challenging economic conditions, and consumer confidence constantly evolving, a flexible solution such as Peerspace is a great solution for brands to navigate and pivot in order to better manage their sales, cashflow, and marketing strategy.

The ecommerce landscape is changing. With a Power Retail Switched On membership, you get access to current e-commerce revenue and forecasting, traffic levels, average conversion rate, payment preferences and more! 

About the Author: Rosalea Catterson

Rosalea is the Editor of Power Retail. With a keen interest in consumer behaviour and tech, she covers everything ecommerce and hosts the Power Retail Power Talks Podcast.

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