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What is a pop-up shop?

A pop-up shop is a temporary storefront space operated by an online merchant. Pop-up stores have become more prevalent in recent years and continue to grow in popularity (1). These short-term retail environments enable customers to experience products firsthand. Ecommerce merchants often use pop-up shops to reach new customers and test out a physical retail environment.

Big cities have more pop-up shops. Los Angeles, New York, London, Stockholm and Berlin all have big pop-up retail scenes. Brands large and small have experimented with temporary retail establishments, including Amazon and Google.

The pop-up model is flexible, and there a number of ways to do it. Businesses can partner with an established retailer or gallery owner and rent out a portion of their space. They also typically choose to have a booth at a craft fair, farmers market or other event. It is also common to rent a vacant storefront for just a short period of time. Business owners may choose to sell a wide variety of merchandise or just just a small selection.

Because they are small-scale, pop-ups provide an opportunity for business owners to be creative and use innovative merchandising techniques to attract passersby. Pop-up stores are often characterized by an engaging appearance and innovative design. Successful pop-ups combine a good location and retail concept to create an experience that customers will remember.

Hosting a pop-up attracts customers because of the concept of scarcity. Since the shop is in place for just a limited time, customers are more likely to come out and see it.

A pop-up space helps business owners test out what it would be like to have a retail location at just a fraction of the cost. When merchants are considering adding a brick-and-mortar store, operating a pop-up shop provides insight into the marketplace.

Why it's important for merchants

Pop-up locations provide an opportunity for ecommerce merchants to interact with customers in a way that is unusual for them. A pop-up shop can be an extra branding tool for retailers that don't normally have a physical store presence, enabling fans and potential customers to interact with the brand in a physical space and actually handle merchandise. A pop-up shop also gives merchants an opportunity to communicate in person with their customers and create a deeper connection.

Merchants use pop-up spaces as a strategic means of clearing out stock or excess inventory or promoting a new product. Pop-up shops also drive sales and act as additional sources of revenue.

1. Meteoric Rise of Pop-up Retail: A look at significant facts and stats around pop-up stores

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