The Lowdown on Holiday Pop-Up Stores

It’s no surprise that shopping numbers and spending dramatically escalate during the months of November and December. And in order to reach more customers in more places, many companies are using this holiday season to invest in pop-up shops.

What is a Pop-Up Store?

First popularized in the early 90s in big cities like London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and New York City, pop-up stores – also referred to as pop-up shops, or flash retailing – are temporary retail spaces that sell merchandise of any kind.

“From art to fashion to tech gadgets and food, pop-up stores are exciting because they create short-term stores that are as creative as they are engaging,” Storefront Magazine explains. “And, they come in all shapes and sizes.”

Pop-up stores typically last anywhere from three days to three months, are strategically located in high foot-traffic areas like malls, busy streets, or city centers, and are generally used to promote awareness, drive customers to a new product, or attach a “hip” factor to a brand’s name.

While used throughout the years, pop-up stores are particularly common around the busy holiday season where shoppers are willing to swipe their plastic for anything that strikes their fancy.

4 Practical Things to Consider

There aren’t really any concrete rules when it comes to pop-up stores. By their very nature, they’re eccentric outliers with plenty of room for creative input. But here are a few things to consider:

1. Simple to Complex

It’s impossible to put a label on pop-up stores and say, “This is how it’s done.” There are opportunities for small businesses and large corporations alike. It can be as easy as designing a custom kiosk and setting up in a town square, or as complex as renting out retail space on a busy street and creating striking window displays that attract people.

2. Face-to-Face Advantage

There’s something about being able to meet with people in person that maximizes engagement and creates a stronger connection for the brand. This is especially true for brands that primarily operate online.

“Last-minute holiday shoppers are more likely to head to brick-and-mortar stores and the mall to pick up gifts rather than browse for products online,” Shopify explains. “Having a pop-up shop also allow business owners to personally get to know their customers and build stronger relationships, which in turn, drive customer loyalty long after the pop-up and holiday season is over.”

3. Showcase for the Brand

In a traditional retail setting, a customer might quickly run into a store to buy a specific product and leave without ever pausing to experience in-store displays or interact with a brand representative. In this sense, it’s nothing more than a transactional relationship. But with a pop-up store, there’s an entire brand experience happening around the customer.

A pop-up store is essentially a showcase for the brand. It facilitates maximum engagement and drives customers to do more than just purchase a product. It almost forces them to breathe in the brand and experience the moment through multiple senses. And in this way, pop-up shops are far more memorable and noteworthy.

4. Planning Ahead

“Christmas can represent up to 60% of annual sales for brands,” Go-PopUp explains. “For many, it’s the most anticipated commercial season of the year where the traffic of people within the establishments and the opportunities for sale multiply. And a pop-up store can become your best ally for sales and lead generation.”

While there’s certainly space for spontaneity, a holiday season pop-up store is something that should be planned well in advance. The more you can strategize, the greater your chances are of fully realizing the positive return on investment that pop-up shops can be.

Have a Happy Holiday Season

For retailers, the holiday season is a happy time for many reasons. In addition to having the chance to spend time with family and friends, the holiday season represents a lucrative sales period where norms are shattered and rules go out the window. Pop-up shops can be used to drive sales even further through the roof. Why not give this unique strategy a try?

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.