down-side of pop-up ?
On July 20, 2012 The Guardian (United Kingdom newspaper and on-line) published an article entitled “Are pop-up shops the answer to empty high streets ?“ – posing the question “… can shuttered shop fronts be an opportunity for budding businesses… ?” The journalist provided some background on the UK experience of pop up shops, also citing a recent government initiative allocating £100,000 to 12 British towns – aimed at reviving shopping strips. It’s too early to tell whether those funds will make any difference to the desperate situation of vacant shops and dying high street precincts… but it doesn’t seem too soon to attract some passionate comments !
The article itself attracted 29 on-line responses, ranging from the very positive first comment “Absolutely. It would freshen up the High Street…” to the next “Its cobblers…. this pop-up nonsense is always portrayed as young and vibrant, all facebookie and cuddly – when in fact what you end up is with shops selling shit….”
10 days later the Guardian invited an on-line poll “Will pop-up-shops revive our high streets ?“ – attracting a further 7 comments (including one from us at popUPshops Melbourne !). By the time this topic had gone to a poll it seemed to attract a majority of negative responses – mostly moaning a lack of money to spend on shopping anyway
The Guardian poll is now closed, and the results are in :
In your opinion, do pop-up shops – and small businesses embracing this way of starting up – have the potential to revive our ailing high streets?
|Yes – pop-up shops are exactly what we need to revive the high streets
|No – it’s not really a long-term solution
But did those negative comments really consider that pop up shops are not pretending to be anything more than temporary initiatives ? Of course they won’t offer long-term solutions (to a very complex and sustained economic situation), but at least a chance to breathe some life into suffering retail precincts…. Why shouldn’t it be a good thing if dark storefronts are given the opportunity to open again, at least for a short time ? Neglected buildings may be tidied up, foot traffic could increase, neighbourhoods come alive and consumers are at least offered something different (even if it’s only the entertainment of browsing !) – and all this is surely good for the community
If the concerns are really about the perception of poor quality products and “fly by night” operators (who are in it to make a quick buck, providing no recourse if goods need to be returned…) well those are certainly issues to be addressed. But THAT solution is easy – don’t support a dodgy pop up. If a consumer doesn’t like what they see then they shouldn’t buy – that will send a clear message to the trader to improve the offer !
And if the conditions are right (including the products and service, customer perceptions) we may just see some of those pop up traders staying on, contributing to an eventual renewal…..
featured image : The Guardian pop up poll
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