Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Flash Retailing or Pop-up Retail – an Interesting Marketing Trend

Flash or Pop-up retail, also known as pop-up store (pop-up shop in the UK) or flash retailing, is the trend of opening short-term sales spaces in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. It is also popular in Western Europe, more specifically Paris, France.

This breed of pop-up shops typically host fledgling businesses which were previously selling online, in local markets or at craft fairs. Since so many shops (even at Main Street) are empty due to the economic turn down  savvy entrepreneurs can negotiate profitable deals relating to rent. It also presents them with the opportunity to gain experience and conduct market tests without having long-term lease agreements.

This phenomenon is also known as "flash retailing". Even big retailers love it due to its obvious benefits. It allows them to showcase their new brands or test the waters for their exciting and/or innovative products.

According to Emma Jones,the genuine pop-ups are bringing much-needed variety and flexibility to our high streets. They are not just a passing fad."

The concept is not new. Vacant of Los Angeles, CA was the first company to develop the concept of pop-up retail or temporary retail shops way back in 1999. A limited edition of products was on sold. Once those products were sold out (usually within a matter of hours) the store would be closed until shop owners received more products that would enable them to reopen the store. Vacant considered closing stores permanently after the merchandise was sold, and then move on to another targeted destination. This made sense since its consumers traveled long distances to niche retailers to purchase items. Up till now, Vacant still provides pop-up retailing and brand marketing.

Real estate companies and landlords are looking at leasing short term real estate since it gives them income until the market picks up. Pop-up stores fit the bill perfectly.

Some brands, such as Target CorporationKate SpadeGucci, and LouisVuitton, use pop-up shops as part of their campaign since it is highly effective within a reasonable budget.  Incubator program such as Boxpark in London, UK and PopupHood in Oakland, CA are incubator companies that have also embraced the concept to get noticed.

So watch out for a pop-up shop success story near you! If you were involved with pop-up shops or flash marketing, please share your thoughts! I will be happy to cover you in my next blog!

(Image courtesy of Richard James at ftape.com)

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