Local media comment on pop up businesses
Around the middle of last month a couple of articles appeared in our local media, once again analysing the value of pop ups…
On 18th July the Sydney Morning Herald ran an article under the banner of Pop-up shops lasting too long: a gimmick for corporations (why are there permanent popups) – questioning the motives of some retailers who open “temporary stores and call them pop-ups”. The author suggests there’s a problem with Myer, Trenery and Uniqlo doing pop up (they’re not in the “pop-up spirit”). A source is quoted as saying “it is gimmicky and an example of corporate giants trying to be culturally relevant”. Another source – a retailer consultant in New York – says “large national or global brands should only do pop-ups if they are promoting an exclusive, limited supply, or a collaboration”.
Sure, I was also critical when Myer ran TVCs last year, announcing their Pop Up Sale… “and nothing actually “popped”, it was just their usual mid-year-clearance-sale format…- the pop up tag was meaningless and out of context”. But Myer has done other short-term (pop up) retail events which I believe were clever and relevant, such as the last-minute gift outpost at Melbourne’s Southern Cross railway station leading up to Christmas 2012 – “not only did they capture a few passing sales, but sent out the message that Myer is keeping up with trends in retail, and willing to consider the way (and places) they do business”
A little digging into the motives of Uniglo would reveal how they use pop up globally as a means of announcing the arrival of a new store. Ahead of their first Australian outlet (Uniqlo to pop up where ?) they opened a shopfront on busy Swanston Street, with spruikers out on the pavement to lure the customers… In other cities they’ve planted curious pop up cubes and shipping containers (which un-fold to reveal Uniqlo apparel of course). Pop up is indeed part of this brand’s strategy, aiming to raise awareness (and anticipation) of their new store openings. As the New York consultant said…”one of the main reasons to do a pop up is to reach people you might normally not be able to reach, creating buzz…”
Across in South Australia the Adelaide City Council seems a little at odds with the concept of pop up… Indaily.com.au reported on a lively committee meeting on 21st July, in which City Councillors argued for and against pop up businesses (mostly mobile food trucks) which set up within the square mile of the CBD. Are pop-up businesses a cancer on Adelaide ? reported how Councillor’s views were pretty divergent, from the harshly-negative “Pop-ups are something that happens when you haven’t got a healthy business environment… it is a cancer – a necrotising fasciitis (flesh eating bacteria)…” – to a more reasoned opinion from Lord Mayor Martin Haese… “we want to bring different things into the city whenever we possibly can, and we want to transition them wherever we possibly can to a permanent outcome. Sometimes city traders… like to trial a new concept, and they like to do that in a low-risk, short term environment which might then give them the confidence to do something permanent and expand their business. I don’t think we want to dampen that spirit”.
The committee meeting was debating the fees charged to mobile food operators and setting new exclusion zones separating “bricks and mortar” (ie. permanent) businesses from the temporary vendors – eventually a motion was passed to increase the mobile food vendor fees and limit them to a distance of 50metres (unless existing businesses formally agree to shorter exclusions). The InDaily article has (so far) attracted 35+ comments… mostly positive about the food vendors – and a few quite critical of the Councillors !
images : tstoaddicts.com, Sydney Morning Herald, Fairfax Benefits, InDaily
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