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Not all pop-up is created equal


Is pop-up one of the most over-used terms in retail ?

I saw an article recently at, in which the author (contributor Chris Walton) declared “not all pop-retail is created equal… (and) ‘pop-up’ retail is one of the most overused terms within the retail industry right now”. He went on to say that ‘”pop-up retail, unless there is an innovative twist involved, is really nothing new. As it is currently constituted more often than not, pop-up retail is just a variation on an age old theme, or, as I like to call it, it is just old school retail on shorter-term leases. If left unchecked, it is like expensive plastic surgery designed to make one look and feel young again. It may work for a time. It may even bring some newfound excitement from friends and family, but at the end of the day, there is just no way to slow down the aging process”#

On the face of it I’d say that article might have a point – there is so much “pop-up” being bandied about that it seems the excitement and interest is starting to wane… perhaps the concept is getting a little tired (?) So I was curious to see where the author was going with his discussion of the “pop-up game”…

It seems mega-retailer Macy’s (669 stores across USA, Puerto Rico and Guam*) is currently trialling a pop-up concept within 10 stores – and LA’s Westfield Century City will be next, opening in October.^ The Market@Macy’s space “provides brands and other companies exposure, while helping the retailer stay relevant especially to younger shoppers enticed by the limited, exclusive nature of the concept. The marketplace, featured on the ground floor of high-trafficked Macy’s allows companies to gain additional exposure to Macy’s customers without having to enter into a long-term agreement. Vendors pay a fee to Macy’s for the space at locations of their choice, with pods of varying sizes starting at approximately 100-square-feet, while keeping all sales revenue. Space is rented for a minimum of one month up to three months, with rates based on location, season and size.”^

Oh, okay, that’s what the Forbes author was getting excited about – especially if it incorporates his “three most important ingredients to distinguish good pop-up retail from bad pop-up retail – ‘store worthy products’, ‘technical architectures’ (ie. cloud-based POS systems) and ‘lower inventory / labor requirements’ ”. “I have high hopes for the further rollout of the The Market@Macy’s concept… Retail as a service, meets experiential retail, meets the benefits of legacy scale. What’s not to love ? It sounds like a match made in heaven”# he says.

But what’s so new about that Macy’s pop-up retail concept – where’s the “innovative twist” Chris Walton is looking for ? Isn’t it just a variation on short-term concession spaces ? (see / retail concessions)

The Forbes article concludes by saying “retail, despite its recent performance this past quarter, still remains in a tough place. Pop-up retail, when done right, could cure some of what ails the industry. But, in order to unlock its fullest potential for all involved – the entrepreneur, the retailer, and the consumer – it has to be done differently than it has been done in the past. It can’t just be more of the same”#



# source : / not all pop up retail is created equal

* source : / Macy’s

^ source : / Macy’s set to debut LA pop-up




World's largest store - Macy's

Market at Macy's


images :    Google Images – Macy’s, pop-up retail


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