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Pop up stores thrive…


So says The New York Times (but what else ?)

Last month The New York Times ran another article on the prevalence of pop up (Pop-Up Stores Thrive in a World of Failing Retailers) – there’s quite a catalogue of “pop-up store” mentions within TNYT… they’ve been following the trend for some time.

The latest commentary started off with a slightly-odd story of a “counterterrorism advisor for the State Department” seeing women in war-torn countries with “little control over their finances”*. The advisor saw an opportunity to support those women by creating an on-line marketplace for “artisan works made by survivors of war, genocide, human-trafficking and abuses. The site… would put much-needed money into their hands”. She also discovered that by using “pop-up stores” (at refugee conferences, in yoga studios and women’s homes…) they’re able to enhance each item – handmade and with “a powerful back story”.

The NYT article goes on to say that “entrepreneurs… are helping revitalize pop-up stores, a decades-old retail concept. More party than hard sell, this new breed of pop-ups is becoming increasingly innovative and fun – far more than the seasonal pop-ups that once prevailed. And they are also increasingly profitable, experts say, since consumers crave these new experiences.

Using pop-ups does, of course, still help entrepreneurs stay nimble and lean. They do not need to sign long leases, stash away much cash or carry big credit lines. For their part, consumers can meet the designers and touch and feel their works, which cannot be done online. In the process, brands can be built more quickly, sales can be increased and new products can be tested.”

Pop up stores and e-commerce are certainly having a significant impact on older retail models – those “weighed down by high costs and long production schedules… Consumers are looking for new ways to shop and new brands” says Burt Flickinger III, managing director at the Strategic Resource Group. “They want better quality at better prices. Legacy stores, though, have a harder time changing their mixes” he says.

The experience of a pop up event also has wider benefits for retailers (on and off-line ?) – “pop-ups are great introductions for our customers” said Paul Trible of Ledbury (luxury men’s wear). “Typically, his best e-commerce customers spend the most money. He also uses pop-ups to test retail locations… (looking at) foot traffic, repeat buys and other variables”

But I’d say that handicraft stalls (and on-line markets morphing into temporary retail…) are really nothing new, and they’re probably not the best (most relevant or inspiring…) examples for pop up stories…

I’m not sure what TNYT article was saying… most of that story had been told many times before. The pop up tales I find most inspiring are the ones which describe the spontaneity, innovation or creativity of a pop up, report on event results (in hard-cash sales or increased market-share / profile), or the tangible metrics delivered from pop-up research and then applied to the business-at-hand.

I rather agree with the comment by Christina Norsig (founder of New-York-based PopUpInsider) – via LinkedIn… “I think this article lacks substance on the actual business of PopUp Retail but still highlights PopUp as a new retailing portal that is here to stay!”


*source : Pop Up Stores Thrive in a World of Failing Retailers – The New York Times



image : The New York Times – Google Images

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