While fads come and go, getting in at the right time can be a major boon for any retailer. From toys to t-shirts, hungry consumers will flock to stores to be a part of the latest trend. But once the trend is gone, the store goes quiet until the next big thing comes along. It is this natural ebb and flow that birthed the Pop-Up Shop, a new, exclusive and word-of-mouth driven concept that is sweeping the retail industry across the globe. With a few posters, a commercial furniture installation and a temporary lease, retailer can get in on the ground floor of a trend, make a bundle and get out before it gets stale.
Perhaps the most newsworthy pop-up shop in Australia opened this week. The effort was spearheaded not by retail professionals but by boy band sensations One Direction, who’s 1D World store opened in Brisbane this weekend for the start of a nine-day run. The tidy shop at 201 Elizabeth Street is the fourth 1D World to open down under. Similar openings in New Zealand, Sydney and Melbourne, as well as last week’s in Brisbane were greeted with mobs of desperate teenage fans looking to score a doll, a t-shirt or just a place on the One Direction autograph wall.
The boy-band-of-the-moment craze is perfect for a short-lived retail store. Without having to take on the risk of a long-term lease or storage of thousands of boxes of unsold merchandise, these stores can buy an inventory, create a short-term exclusivity pact with fans and get out of the game before it is too late. Overhead is minimal, with one short-term lease investment, a bunch of banquet tables and one round of inventory gets you ready for a brief deluge of hungry fans ready to buy before you close up shop forever.
The pop-up shop also offers a component that young consumers respond to. By utilizing a minimal advertising budget, instead turning to social media and word-of-mouth to spread the word, pop-up shops add an air of exclusivity, allowing the most obsessive fans taking to social media what they have always wanted: a private place to hang out with other fans.
Pop-up shops are not just for teenage girls. Samsung has used them to introduce new phone models, Louis Vuitton and Stella McCartney have used them to introduce new fashion lines and chefs have taken to food trucks in much the same way to introduce new varieties of street food to hungry passers-by. Getting with this fad could be easier than ever for retailers. They just have to hear the song.
- Retail Therapy’s New Rachel Zoe Pop-Up Shop Is Bananas! (fabsugar.com)
- FabTV: The 411 on Pop-Up Shops (fabsugar.com)
- ‘Pop-up’ shops set to revitalise high streets (telegraph.co.uk)