What is a Pop-up Shop?

Pop-up Shop Definition

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What is a pop-up shop?

Simply put, a pop-up shop is a temporary store or sales location in the offline world. Usually, pop-up shops come from ecommerce companies looking to bring their digital presence into the real world – if only temporarily. When done correctly, pop-up shops can be excellent for sales.

Offering a convenient middle ground between B2B and B2C ecommerce platforms, as well as brick-and-mortar stores, pop-up shops can give companies a wonderful boost in the competitive landscape. In this article, we’ll be providing a full pop-up shop definition to help you understand what this sales strategy can do.

Pop-up Shop Definition

A pop-up shop, or pop-up store is a retail space opened for a temporary period of time. These stories will only sell products in a physical location for a specific period, which helps to encourage buzz among customers and influencers. A temporary retail space can feel like an event destination, particularly when you’re launching a new product.

Pop-up shops give companies from all industries an opportunity to take full advantage of foot traffic for selling their items. Museums, music companies, food and tech brands can all experiment with pop-up stores. Because they’re incredibly agile and flexible, these short-term stores present minimal risk to the business owner.

Pop-up retail also requires very little initial investment on behalf of the business owner. You can rent a space for a short period of time in an existing marketplace or mall, without having to find large enough accommodations for all of your stock. Pop-up shops usually only sell limited amounts of products and may allow some customers to place orders online.

Where did Pop-up Stores Come From?

The era of the successful pop-up shop may seem like a new concept, but this marketing strategy goes back much further than you’d think. Even in the 1200s, countless retailers would set up temporary stores to sell products according to a specific season or time of year. These temporary locations were a little different to the new pop-up shops today, but they followed many similar practices.

The Ritual Expo marks one of the more modern iterations of the pop-up shop to appear in recent years. This 1997 event in Los Angeles provided an ultimate one-day physical store experience for customers. This concept of temporary in-person sales quickly caught the attention of larger companies. Pop-up stores emerged as a useful way to generate brand awareness and unlock new marketing strategy opportunities.

Countless companies started experimenting with pop-up retail as a way to get people talking about their brand, and the pop-up space started to see a lot more attention in various circles. Today, flash retailing kiosks and stores appear all over the world. Major designers and labels use them to attract attention, alongside start-ups and smaller businesses.

How Does Pop-up Retail Work?

The concept of pop-up retail is pretty easy to follow. Instead of paying for long-term real estate or brick-and-mortar stores, most companies will sell most of their products online. For moments when they need to attract more attention, like with the launch of a new product, companies can invest in short-term leases to reach their demographic.

A pop-up shop can last for as little as one day, and most come with very limited stock. This helps to create a sense of urgency among customers who want to be part of the “exclusive” experience. Some pop-up shops appear in shopping malls, vacant storefronts, or temporary retail spaces elsewhere in the physical landscape. These tools are a chance for an ecommerce business to sell excess stock, showcase new products, run giveaways and generate hype.

Pop-up stores can be a wonderful way for business leaders to create excitement around their company at important times in the sales cycle, without spending a lot of money. In some cases, companies might even choose to run pop-up shops for seasonal events, like holiday markets, and Halloween stores. Increasingly, the pop-up store environment is becoming increasingly eye-catching as companies strive to make their short-term events as buzz-worthy as possible.

Pop-up stores can come with limited-edition products, celebrity appearances, contests, and countless other factors designed to generate excitement.

What are the Benefits of Pop-Up Shops?

Although the ecommerce world is generally the most popular environment for shopping in the modern age, there’s something to be said for the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Bringing your business into the physical world for a short space of time will help online retailers to interact with customers in real life. The pop-up experience has a range of benefits, including:

  • Exclusivity: Most people visit pop-up stores because they want an opportunity to experience a limited-time event. Even if the products you’re selling are available on your website, customers want to know what it feels like to interact with your company in a temporary environment in the real world. There’s a sense of excitement and rarity that drives attention.
  • Branding: Pop-up shops are buzzworthy experiences that attract a lot of attention to a brand. They’re a chance for companies to demonstrate their ability to operate on the cutting edge of the industry, and experiment with unique experiences. You can use a pop-up store to interact with customers directly, gain feedback, and showcase your unique brand personality. Everything you do to highlight your pop-up store is a branding opportunity.
  • Minimal financial risk: Pop-up shops are much more affordable than launching a full offline store. If you’ve previously been selling on social media or amazon and want to extend your sales options, you can launch your store without worrying about things like the costs of a long-ease brick and mortar store. Reasons for this include the pop-up shop size being smaller, reduced need for staff, shorter leasing periods, and limited stock requirements.
  • Trial protection: An excellent thing about pop-up shops is their ability to allow you to trial your service with new markets and customers. You can take your retail store to New York City, or another country, and see how people respond to your products. Pop-up stocks are still a relatively novel concept, so they’ll attract more attention than you’d get just talking about your products on platforms like LinkedIn. You can also gain immediate customer feedback, making it much easier to determine where your stores will thrive.
  • Improve your channel options: Temporary storefronts are a great way to increase your number of channels for a better brand experience among customers. You can significantly improve your conversion rates from exploring multiple sales channels options. A multichannel environment will also make it easier to attract customers who might be otherwise missing out on your business. You could even use your pop-up shop to explore channels and markets you haven’t considered before, improving your ability to earn.
  • Seasonal and sale options: Pop-up shops are a great choice if you’re looking for a way to increase buzz around your business as you work on developing a sale or seasonal experience. For instance, a lot of companies open temporary storefronts for black Friday sales, or seasonal events. It’ll be up to you to determine what kind of shop location will have the biggest impact on your audience for the season that makes the most sense to your company.

Can Anyone Launch a Pop-Up Store?

There are plenty of companies experimenting with the benefits of pop-up stores today. If you’ve always thought you might be able to reach more customers with new retail locations, then a pop-up store could be the ideal solution for you. Pop-up shops represent one of the most exciting retail trends right now, particularly as customers look to build connections with the businesses they love.

Of course, to get the best results, you need to choose your retail locations and strategies correctly. It’s no good launching a shop in Soho if your customers are located in the USA. Statistics demonstrate that more than 30% of people who visited a pop-up store went because the location was convenient to them. Pop-up stores also rely heavily on marketing.

A temporary pop-up shop can only attract so much attention on its own placed in a traditional brick and mortar shopping center. You’ll also need to ensure you’re attracting as many potential customers as possible through things like word-of-mouth advertising, and online marketing. If you have your store for a two-week period, start a few months before the pop-up store launches with your marketing strategies.

No matter the types of pop-up shop you’re considering, the best marketing campaigns should help you to attract a wider range of customers, and even generate buzz for your online brand too.

Finishing Thoughts

Popup shops might seem like a novelty at first, but they can also be a wonderful way to strengthen your position online, and offline, with your target audience. Pop-up stores can give ecommerce companies a fun way to extend their existing brand into the high street, with a low-risk, high-reward strategy. You can even explore new customer bases.

Just make sure you do your research in advanced, and ensure you’re launching your pop-up store in the right location.


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