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The sticky pop up label

This article first appeared on the members’ blog of the Australian Gift & Homewares Association, 26th March 2013


Pop ups have captured the imagination of many retailers, entrepreneurs and event designers – now it seems that every other temporary installation is called a “pop up”. Which is understandable, the pop-up label is pretty cool right now – anyone can put out that banner to announce they’ve arrived (briefly).

This sticky label seems to apply to many events – a warehouse-style clearance sale, the seasonal speciality shop (eg. selling chocolate bunnies for Easter  – or should that be “hop up shop” ?), funky brand promotions, strategic events and even corporate functions.

The common theme in most of these events (which distinguish them as “pop up”) is that they’re open for a defined length of time, offering a limited range of products or a certain message to sell. Often (hopefully) they’ll present something different and memorable, injecting a sense of fun or adventure to the experience. Pop ups may take months in the planning, and be well promoted prior to the opening – but generally they arrive suddenly (set up the day before or overnight) – and they’ll leave just as swiftly. The philosophy behind pop up is very much here today, gone tomorrow.

And that’s what feeds the concept. A clever pop up will create a sense of urgency and energy, encouraging visitors to get in quick and experience the installation while it’s there… also to spread the word. Facebook and Twitter are perfect vehicles for public pop up – it’s a huge branding bonus if the message goes viral on social media !

Most pop ups will have a certain objective… and it’s not always about revenue. Clearance sales and seasonal stores exist to move inventory quickly, while other installations may also display product but not actually sell (such as Toshiba in Sydney’s Martin Place, or the Kellogg’s Tweet Shop in London last year). They’re using the intrigue of pop up to talk about their brand and connect with customers, rather than take their cash (today…)

Other pop ups serve a more strategic purpose. Retailers may take advantage of a vacant location to “test the waters” – in order to gauge the demographic and footfall of a neighbourhood prior to committing to long leases and expensive fit-outs… Last year in Exeter UK, major retailer John Lewis opened a pop up shop as the teaser of what was coming with the opening of their permanent store. Other corporate giants have used pop up to make clever brand statements (eg. during the 2012 London Olympics, Nike opened their +Nine store in Sydney, with sophisticated technology and imagery rather than lots of running shoes – open to the public on London time… 9 hours behind Sydney !) Brands may also create a unique (and memorable) pop up theme for their product launch to distributors, partners and media.

And for us humble consumers – do watch out for those hop up shops at your local ‘mall (but don’t go looking on Easter Tuesday, they’ll probably be gone…)




Featured Image : Chocolate Easter Bunny – Google Images


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