How Pop Ups Are Changing Retail

Ecommerce to Bricks & Mortar

Gone are the days when high streets and malls dominated the retail landscape. Today, there’s a new paradigm on the scene, and the focus is on excitement, exclusivity and entrances that are high impact, and short term. Pop-ups are shaking up retail markets across the globe, from London and Dubai to Sydney and Los Angeles.

So what does this mean for retail as we know it? The impact has been profound, for both customers and retailers alike. Here are some of the ways pop-ups have categorically changed the face of retail…

Affordable ‘bricks and mortar’ presence

For many retailers, a bricks and mortar store simple isn’t a reality due to sky-high rents, inflexible leases and a constant influx of overheads. This means that brands remain trapped in the online market. That is until the concept of pop-up stores arrived on the scene. Fleeting by nature, pop-ups allow online retailers to tap into the benefits of tangible stores, without sending themselves broke in the process. Ultimately, they empower brands with physical personalities to connect with customers, both old and new.      

Connecting with customers

Fundamentally, pop-ups allow brands to create meaningful relationships with customers. Even globally recognised brands now use pop-ups to connect with their customers on a deeper level. Take Volvo for example. At its recent pop-up café in Korea, ‘The House of Sweden’ served up a host of cultural experiences, Scandinavian treats and more.

Intrinsically exciting

Pop-ups are underpinned by an intrinsic sense of exclusivity and excitement. They deliver a ‘one off’ experience, and are exceptional opportunities to engage customers on a level that they can’t resist. 21st century consumerism is driven by the innate human attraction to things that are new. Pop-ups play on this anthropoid characteristic, and use the ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ element to push interest, and sales.

Driving impulse

What about brands that have already established a strong physical presence? Pop-ups are still an incredibly powerful tool, as they spark impulse and spontaneity. Their transient nature makes them a great way to launch new products, and create a sense of urgency and excitement.  This ‘fear of missing out’ quality can resonate deeply with customers, and influence their buying behaviour to create a positive sales impact.


From a customer engagement perspective, the temporary nature of pop-ups empowers brands with the scope to tailor experiences. Right down to neighbourhood stereotypes and preferences, pop-ups can be strategically customised to maximise impact, and augment customer responsiveness.

While the name ‘pop-up’ has temporary connotations, the trend itself is by no means transitory. Pop-ups are here to stay, and will no doubt continue to transform the retail landscape as an increasing number of both independent and globally recognised brands get on-board.

Need help getting your pop-up off the ground? Reach out to our team of organisational ‘pop-up’ experts to chat about retail opportunities in hotspots across Dubai, and London.

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