Pop-up is a term that describes a short-term tenancy, usually in a retail or commercial property location, but also found in novel, specialty and secret locations. The pop-up landscape is comprised of art galleries, fashion boutiques, concept stores, fashion launches, food trucks, all types of clothing/accessories shops and supperclubs (hush-hush or unique dining experiences). Pop-up implies shops that "are there and then gone." It is commonly defined as a shop, dining or interactive experience with a pre-determined start and end date. We believe this trend indicates the beginning of a lasting change of how commercial property works. These changes have opened up some unprecedented ways for creative entrepreneurs and people that own or sublet commercial space to innovate.
There are a lot of reasons why both new and established businesses choose pop-up. It is an ideal way to launch a store-front business and also helps describe ephemeral or specialized experiences that bring people together for anything from art to food to fashion. Most importantly for brands and businesses, the fundamentals of pop-up facilitate unique outcomes not achievable by other means. Here are a few:
Whether you're in East London wanting to try out West London, or in Paris wanting to try out Shanghai, retailers grow their community and production by testing new locations. A short term lease and a quick turn-around means that a brand can maximize exposure and minimize financial risk.
Online retail has many benefits, but also lacks qualities that help customers, followers and fans connect to the products and brands they love. Nothing replaces the need to touch fabrics, smell chocolate or see light reflecting off of marble. While much of the population is prepared to buy "on speculation," being able to learn about new things by the people that made them has a value of its own.
Innovators in fashion, food, art, design and events often work in series, seasonally, or thematically. The pressure of long-term leases often stunts the rate and depth to which professionals in these fields can iterate and evolve. With leases timed more acutely to realistic schedules, excessive over head can be kept to a minimum. This leaves more time for brands to develop what matters: cutting edge concepts and production!
A new generation of retail experience has emerged. Experiential retail is practiced by ambitious brands keen to engage their community and fans in unprecedented ways. It's happening now: Wine tastings based on emotions rather than theory, ping-pong tables in bars, and movie theaters in parks. Services, play, spectacle and product are now merging to offer an unprecedented quality of engagement. A narrow time frame is critical to their success as memorable, specialized and ephemeral.
While the number web and digital shoppers quickly rises, there are many opportunities to take advantage of this reality. Most of the retailers discussed above bring with them robust, enthusiastic and committed communities. The opportunity to experience their favourite businesses in a new way can bring any shop space renewed traffic, eyes and interest. Store-fronts disseminated to the world through photos and social sharing. The power of a business's community is better than advertising.
Empty shops don't indicate that less money is being spent, or that less people are spending. It indicates that people want a different kind of experience when they walk into a store. A new generation of retailers and shoppers are high on creativity and low on time, with sizable specialized communities that thrive on The New. Businesses that are quick, flexible and inventive are able to adapt quickly and thrive on the challenge of re-invention, discovery and reach.
An entirely new genre of 'store' has emerged, where the success of a space is not necessarily located in how much inventory is sold, but what parts of an experience can add value. Events, openings, extended use and space-as-a-destination all offer new ways to stimulate footfall, renew engagement and support meaningful relationships between businesses and their communities.
No matter what kind of retail space you have, there are always unexpected shifts. Tenants leave early, there are awkward pauses in between leases, or re-developing takes longer than expected. By facilitating a creatively curated variety of short-term tenants, properties can stay vibrant and active whilst going through structural, financial or legal adjustments.