Our Thinking

There is no denying that pop-up shops, also known as temporary retail, are an effective way to build brand awareness for a retail business. The future will see more pop-up shops emerge in our post-Covid retail landscape, as they deliver many short-term and longer-term benefits. We have previously talked about the importance of pop-ups and how they can be conceived to play a number of roles for retailers big and small; but in order for pop-ups to be successful, they need to adhere to these four tips:


  1. Clearly define the business objective so that it can be built with purpose
  2. Clearly define the target to drive location and customer strategies
  3. Build it as a ‘lab’; imbed data collection and analytics to create a test-and-learn environment
  4. Invest in experience; think through the strategies and tactics of activation to ensure your brand makes a lasting impression


Pop-ups should be considered an important component in any retailer’s real estate and go-to-market strategy as it sits nicely in between physical and on-line formats. Its flexible and temporary nature make it opportunistic in many ways – localize the effort and integrate community outreach, introduce new product or brand partnerships and enhance e-commerce pick-up points.



Understanding the business objective will help define the overarching KPI’s (key business indicators) that should be expected as the desired outcome. With that in mind, how the shop is conceived, assembled, and the component parts within will guarantee that “if you built it, they will come!” This becomes the foundational building block in defining your brand, location, targeting, experience and measurement mandates.



Clarity on who you want to engage with will help clarify the proposition to deliver a compelling brand story and experience. To maximize effectiveness, the targeting effort should also include a multichannel sales strategy that engages shoppers both online and offline. For both physical retailers, but in particular online retailers, authentic engagements and experiences with your customers offline allow you to build a relationship and brand loyalty in a way that is more intimate and ‘sticky’.



Pop-up shops are an effective data-gathering tool for testing new markets or iterating on ideas before committing to them. Incorporating digital tools that can assess visitor profiles, on-site loyalty or promotional activations, and events and contesting components are some of a number of ways in which to collect valuable data that can be mined for key insights and used as validation against the KPI’s. The important thing is that the metrics are defined upfront, so they are properly conceived as part of the concept and properly configured as part of the experience.


An example of this is a collaboration between Gucci and Sephora in LA earlier this year to launch a new mascara in an experiential pop-up called Gucci Beauty Network Studios. While admission was free, consumers had to RVSP to gain entry. A similar strategy was used by Lego where they invited parents to book in advance for a retail experience that showcased the Christmas wish-list products. In a playful and escapist kids-only pop-up, Lego offered an experience that combined entertainment and education using Lego products. By booking in advance, brands can follow up with customized offers and communication suited to the customer’s store experience after they leave. With this strategy, Lego exceeded attendance objectives by 20%.



Pop-ups allow brands to get ‘up close and personal’ with their customers. The flexibility of a pop-up is one of its most appealing abilities. They are agile in their locations and are often smaller in scale, allowing them to localize their efforts and deliver greater relevancy to the customer and the local community. Pop-ups are often less susceptible to the more rigid mandates dictating the operational underpinnings of large retailers, both offline and online. A focus of any pop-up regardless of business objective should always be on optimizing that connection between brand and customer – impression should be at least equal in weight to transaction.


Taking a more diversified approach to your real estate and format strategy and including pop-up retail in the mix can strengthen a retailer’s competitiveness by enabling effective multichannel customer strategies that entrench brand loyalty and build brand affinity.