A recent noticeable trend in the shopping centre arena – unsurprisingly due to the initiative contributing approximately £2.3billion a year to the UK economy – are pop-up stores. These temporary, often small in scale, and ideally unique stores, are a great way for shopping centres and communities to ‘cash in’ on commercialisation opportunities. They are commonly used for events and marketing campaigns by a wide range of brands, Philippe Pinatel, President and Chief Operating Officer for Birchbox Beauty has discussed how pop-ups have evolved to become a core part of a retail strategy rather than serving as a one-off product launch activity.
Pop-up stores are often a great way to ‘test the water’, trying out different types of products and services on a short term basis, without committing to letting out a full retail unit. It can also be a way to test the best location for a certain product or service within the centre, as pop-ups are easily portable.
Pop-up stores are a fantastic and prime example of extending dwell time, giving shoppers the opportunity to try out a new brand or merchandise. Having these new and stimulating attractions to fill mall space encourages people to browse and spend more time in the mall. These stores should see an increase in shopper traffic as they have the opportunity to create an engaging unit, intriguing people with an offering that is different to the norm in the centre. A great way to attract customers to engage with pop-up stores is to bring energy and excitement such as having live music, a game to take part in or offering a free sample.
Pop-ups can create an element of urgency. Pre-warning visitors when a pop-up store is going to disappear can incentivise individuals to make a trip to the centre sooner than planned. Pop-up stores also create a fantastic opportunity to create loyalty scheme members and collect data. Offering consumers a small reward or perk related to the new product or service on offer will encourage them to ‘sign up’ to the loyalty scheme, giving the brand data to analyse and use for future marketing campaigns. This will also encourage individuals to spread the word of the store’s presence and ultimately drive repeat footfall to their store or next pop-up store in the future.
Pop-up stores can often be linked, and are a great way to engage with seasonal trends or events. For example, in December we often see Christmas pop-up stores in the form of seasonal gift units, Christmas wrapping and Santa’s Grottos. These units heighten the shopper experience and generates excitement around the season, encouraging customers to engage with strategies and ultimately, spend.
Pop-up stores not only improve the overall experience but provide a reason to visit a centre to see what new product or service is on offer. They truly maximise mall space, drive traffic to schemes and significantly increase dwell time.
Sophie Walmsley, Shopping Centre Management, Foundation Recruitment