In the retail industry, there’s no buzzier buzzword than “pop-up”, but what exactly is a pop-up and how can it benefit a business?
Judith Treanor, a Sydney-based online retailer who last year launched the Pop Up Collective – a group of Australian makers, designers, artisans and vendors “shaking up retail through pop-up shops, curated events and concept stores” – says there are immeasurable benefits, from risk-reduced testing of a market to driving revenue.
Treanor explains the phenomenon and what it can do for a business.
What is a pop-up?
A pop-up store is a short-term commercial lease; (where) a brand or collection of brands rents a space or shop for a set amount of weeks or months.
They’re primarily used by smaller brands which don’t have a shopfront or retailers with commercial space elsewhere to “pop up” in a location for a brief time, from just one day to three months, and sell their wares.
The concept was borne out of “high commercial rents, chain stores, e-commerce and big shopping malls pushing independents out”, Treanor says.
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How popular are pop-ups?
The concept’s popularity is growing across a range of industries; fashion and design most notably.
Treanor says pop-ups have increased in prevalence in Australia in recent years and Melbourne has embraced them more than other cities. She atributes this to the city’s design and fashion-led culture.
“It’s easier for local brands to turn up for a short time and be accepted as a pop-up store in Melbourne’s fashion districts (compared to other cities),” Treanor says.
Unlike Sydney, Melbourne even has businesses dedicated to hiring equipment such as racks and changing rooms to pop-ups.
How do pop-ups benefit business?
For online businesses wanting to transition into a bricks and mortar store, pop-up stores can deliver financial and brand windfalls.
Permanent stores are often too cost prohibitive for small enterprises. A pop-up store gives the opportunity to test an area, gain exposure for your brand, talk to the public about products and the brand and, of course, to increase revenue.
“Many pop-up shops are run by entrepreneurs with home-based businesses. It’s a lot better to have your stock showcased on shelves in the big wide world than sitting in boxes in a garage or warehouse,” Treanor says.
For an existing business with space elsewhere, a pop-up shop offers a chance to test a potential new market or to sell stock they want to clear.
How long should you use a pop-up for?
Treanor says the ideal pop-up stint depends on the individual brand or business and tends to be on a case-by-case basis. Some pop-ups last for one or two days, others are for a few weeks or three months.
“My preference is to be in and out quite quickly and four weeks is the optimum,.” she says. “The public seems to love pop-ups; they love to see something new and fresh in their local area.”