Pop-up retail…

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Screen Shot 2019-11-24 at 8.02.25 PMA few weeks ago while I was on holiday, I wrote a blog post titled, “A Reset at Sea Level“.  I talked about the value of getting away from the everyday routine…about shaking the cobwebs in the mind so that maybe some new, creative ideas may creep in. I think a seed of an idea did find its way in, but I will have to mull this over for a while longer before I get ahead of myself…

No matter where I am, I love to shop.  Because retailing has been such a huge part of my life (on both sides of the cash register!), it’s important to me to stay in touch with what’s out there.  I’m not an online shopper (unless absolutely necessary), preferring to partake in the sensory (sight, touch, scent, personal relationship) experience of shopping.  I’m always curious about what a merchant chooses for a product mix and how it’s displayed.  My hope is that all their efforts result in a profitable bottom line.

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What is disconcerting is the empty storefronts in malls and strip shopping centres.  Another major home decor store is closing shop in the largest mall in my city.  Is this a result of a weak economy or is there something else affecting foot traffic and sales for these businesses?  Have shopping habits changed so drastically that retailers have to adjust their business model in order to stay viable or is it the box stores or online shopping?  As consumers, we should support local retail if we want a unique shopping experience with lots of options to entice us.


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Although we may view “pop-up retailing” as a new concept, the Christmas markets in Europe could be considered “pop-ups” as early as the 1300s. This trend, however, gained popularity in major cities like Paris, London, and New York in the 1990s after the recession had a negative impact on retail. More and more I’m seeing “pop-up” stores opening often in locations and neighbourhoods that are most unexpected.

“Pop-up stores” are temporary locations that help launch a new product/brand providing exposure that can make a real difference to the future success of a business.  It gives the entrepreneur an opportunity to test new markets with relatively low risk, no long term lease, limited inventory, and minimal upfront investment.  A “pop-up” can also provide a venue for existing businesses to unload aging or seasonal stock which in turn frees up capital to buy new inventory.

The success of a “pop-up” relies heavily on word of mouth and a strong social media presence.  This suggests (to me, anyway) that this is the marketing strategy of a younger demographic.  Traditional retail seems to be struggling.  Is “pop-up retailing” the brick and mortar of the future…

There are more questions than answers in this post…I’m just thinking out loud…

xox Judy

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