POP Up Shops

When, Why, How and What Now?! For POP Up Shops

There has been a growing trend in recent years for the so called POP UP RETAIL or POP UP STORE concept that is just making its presence felt here in Australia. This phenomenon started in early 2003 in Europe and the USA. Some examples of these early success stories for short term innovative and surprise retail spaces were ‘Target’ a fashion retailer, who created a floating pop up store over the frozen Hudson River open for one Christmas season. Others have made the contemporary permanent by switching locations of their temporary sites continually as in the case of the exclusive retail concept and exhibition store ‘Vacant’. These stores pop up in empty spaces around the world’s famous cities, think New York, Paris, London etc. (source: Trendwatching.com)

The next step to this physical pop up concept naturally was the virtual POP UP STORE. These have spread around the World Wide Web and the idea of having the exclusive virtual retail site up for a short period of time to create excitement and urgency has been born.

Major benefits of a POP UP store:
Innovation, excitement and attraction
Major buzz and exclusivity on purchases
Short term leases = low risk
Market testing
Brand awareness


With turbulent economic times upon us now this trend for short term leasing is becoming wide spread here in Australia also. Major shopping hubs are becoming increasingly aware of the need for spaces to be leased based on this concept, and are actively allocating full tenancies and kiosk areas, for the purpose of letting to POP UP Retailers. These retailers may have a number of reasons to procure such spaces. One of the obvious advantages of short term is limited risk through having to break long term lease contracts should the venture fail in a particular location. Other attractive reasons are to clear stock by creating urgency around the store: only here for a month! Be quick and buy! Further with some retailers having only an online presence, the building of Brand recognition and awareness is a challenge. Having a pop up space to push the brand in a brash innovative larger than life way is a fantastic way to capture instant attention. Product testing is always fraught with pitfalls. Often the best researched product and merchandise may not deliver to the market as expected. Having a low risk space for a short period allows the market to be tested to see if an idea or product is a win for the target market demography or specific location. (design gallery)

As mentioned earlier, times are changing in the retail world due to a number of factors. GFC, GFC Mark II, the European debt crises etc have all spooked shoppers. Further the march of online retailers, particularly outside of Australia, is threatening some sections of the retail industry. Hearing about a well known surfwear store’s woes of profit downgrades will spook even the most adventurous would-be retailer to research before plunging in. People within the industry however do understand the need to innovate, move with the times and try new ways to deliver the demand of the savvy shopper. Coupling online retailing with an innovatively designed concept pop up store is a sure way to further the market awareness that all brands are striving for. Having a professionally designed, eye catching store with that much needed WOW factor will allow the retailer to achieve higher brand awareness. As shopping centres are also gearing towards this concept of short term retail we will be seeing more and more exciting new ideas and concepts emerge in the near future to excite the shopping consumer.

In summary POP UP RETAIL has arrived and is here to stay. Coupled with online this trend will emerge into the forefront of retailing concepts for the benefit of all parties- retailers, shopping centres and consumers alike. Watch this space for further insights into how this new concept within the industry will be evolving and strengthening into the future.

Design Gallery have begun focusing on how this concept can take-off in Australia and we are all very excited to see how POP UP stores are implemented by retailers all over the nation. If you would like to speak to our team about creating a pop up store of your own, please contact our office.

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