Pop ups are now a mainstay of retail life, said the Financial Times this week. They asked our CEO Nick Russell to estimate the number of pop up shops in London. Read his reply and the FT’s take on the rise of the pop ups…
Pop ups are now a mainstay of retail life, said the Financial Times this week. They asked our CEO Nick Russell to estimate the number of pop up shops in London. Read his reply and the FT’s take on the rise of the pop ups…
What is the future for retail real estate in 2013 and beyond? MAPIC Vision #9 look at four trends from 2012 that have the potential to strengthen bricks and mortar shopping, but only if retailers and shopping centres are prepared to look at their business model.
Just when you were beginning to think that online retailing would take over the world here we discuss a range of new digital initiatives that keep retail estate fresh and up-to-date:
– How customer service has reached new levels of sophistication
– How pop-up retail has developed from old fashioned market stalls to truly surprising and profitable elements of the retail spectrum
– How mixed use can take on a new meaning with the addition of culture to our shopping habits
– How bricks and mortar retailers are bringing the digital revolution into their stores; innovating and developing ways of enhancing the retail experience to offer more than online or traditional retail alone
Peter Clucastalks popups with WAPU’s own Dr Alastair Moore with other great insight and contributions from APSYS, EKKi, CLEAR CHANNEL – and our favorite pop up specialists Pop-It-Up.eu
Pop-Down Square Cinema Area, Mike Lim, Shoichi Sado, Olivia Wright and Isobel Davies @PopDownSquare
The internet changes how we buy and think, but old memes and behaviours take time to change:
“Thus we suppose that shopping and walking are somehow connected, and Americans suppose that shopping and driving are somehow connected. And everyone thinks a shop is a place — a place in a place; a place you go to and, being a place in a place you go to, will thus be either a specialist shop in a mixed cluster, or a “supermarket” or “department store” with the cluster under one roof. The news that these places can now be virtual, accessed on your screen, hardly needs to be laboured. “
As the role of the shop – a place in a place – changes, so no doubt will the way we search, select and transact real spaces. Does it alter the value of space? Does it change the ability or desire to ‘sell’ in real spaces? Whilst an increasing number of our transactions become virtual, our desire to meet and experience the real world, real things, real people, real products seems more permanent than the ‘form’ this engagement might take.
Thats where WeArePopUp.com can help. By enabling people to say what they mean by a shop – by allowing people to propose what a ‘shop’ should be – for what use, over what time at what price, with what activity with which collaborators.
“But still that hand from the past grips us… [finally] online shops (though not online shopping) will prove — like the out-of-town shopping centres that the internet killed, like the traditional high streets that the shopping centres killed, and like the street vendors and markets that the high streets killed — merely transitional.”
Offline shops are changing but activity, offline shopping, will transition to new forms – the shop is dead, long live the shop.
Samsung is a master at consumers choice. Samsung offers a mobile phone to suit every customer’s requirements, at all price points, on a variety of different operating systems, while its rivals offer a restricted or – in the case of Apple – no choice.
Analyzing the products available from the top five handset and smartphone manufacturers tells a very interesting story. In the US alone, Samsung offers 153 different cell phones! Samsung also knocked Apple off its perch to become the best-loved smartphone vendor in the US-based Brand Keys 2013 Customer Loyalty Index.
Will we see this sort of thing soon in the m-payments/pos/retail space? What if you could plug any merchant account or and banking facility into a set of tools to help you run your business rather than sitting in one particular silo? What about customer service – click & collect, browse online, buy offline, vise vera.. As in mobile, retailers that offer their customers a widest variety of options possible, for them to pick which ever is most convenient, will provide the best retail experience.
In a previous post, we shared the story of Finchittida Finch’sdf pop-up: a shop developed from scratch by a previously online-only business. This week we’re happy to introduce Atomica Gallery (@atomicagallery), one of the few truly pop-up art galleries which ran from December 4th – 24th this past holiday season. They’ve recently secured a long-term space in Hackney and we were eager to know what the journey has been like to go from pop-up to full shop.
We met up with Atomica Gallery founders Orla and Holly over coffee and brownies to hear more about what it is like to be a start-up gallery, and how the pop-up model has helped facilitate their goals and opened new doors. Holly is an experienced gallerist, working in both Sydney and Los Angeles with a number of the artists they currently show. And Orla’s background in promotion and events ensures that their openings generate a healthy buzz. Their penchant for the strange, retro, punk and pop combined in curious and lovely ways at their December pop-up. The relentless attention to detail both within the works themselves as well as their weird and simple curation proved that big explosions can be contained in small packages.
Orla and Holly came to their selected artists in an unconventional way, “Some of the artists we show have been close to us for a very long time. But we also love showcasing previously un-seen artists or those that may never have been shown in London before.” It was clear that a real challenge of curating a show with so many great artists to choose from – especially in a concise space – is the selection. For their pop-up, Holly and Orla printed out copies of all of their favorite artists’ work (hundreds!) and went through the process of whittling down to just a select few. But they are constantly on the hunt for yet-to-be-discovered artists in the UK and beyond, “We have a huge list of artists that we want to work with. We stumble across a lot of amazing artists through blogs and circumstance. So it’s not like we only want to work with established names, and we are always open to chance.”
The Inside of Atomica Gallery’s Pop-up in Shoreditch
An Advisor at Hackney Business Enterprise encouraged Atomica to do pop-ups as a way to ‘test-trade.’ By launching a new project this way, fresh businesses are able to develop a strong sense of themselves and learn through experience without the risks and investment required for longer-term rentals. But sourcing a great space, for the short or long-term, is always a challenge.
Holly explained the difficulties they had locating and accessing the right spot for their pop-up, “When we were looking for our December pop-up space, it was really stressful. We thought of many potential places around East London initially, but as it was our first big showcase we wanted an area with high traffic, and that was already warm to the idea of a pop-up. Getting exposure and building a following was one of the most important things we hoped to achieve with our pop-up. Shoreditch seemed like an ideal part of town to get the kinds of visibility and interest we needed.” And so they set about with an unconventional campaign: dropping 1-page offers reading “We Would Like To Rent Your Shop,” into the mail slots of every suitable shop.
Atomica’s Elegant Solution To Driving Footfall
Orla explained, “We got quite a few calls back, but a lot of people didn’t even know what a pop-up was, or else they expected that we would want the space over many months, and expected us to provide full fit-outs. A few weeks with minimal developments to the space was a hard sell. But we found a great place eventually.” While their pop-up was a success in terms of sales and exposure, their extensive list of artists and a growing catalogue of work meant that a longer-term space was in order.
Their new shop is part of a series of newly converted shop-spaces managed by Hackney Downs Studios. These new locations are playing host to a series of new businesses, from bikes to a bakery and all within 5 minutes from Kingsland Road – one of the busiest streets in the area. Their full-time shop will launch soon (stay tuned on the Atomica Gallery website), but future pop-ups are still a part of Orla and Holly’s future plans, “Because we’re off the beaten track in Hackney, it will give us a great opportunity to connect with a local audience. But we also want to make sure Atomica Gallery can travel to other parts of London and beyond. Some in West and South London, and we’re also thinking about Brighton. We haven’t confirmed anything yet, but doing a kind of tour would be great – a few days or weekends in new locations. We really want to make sure we have a chance to showcase our artists in places that wouldn’t see their work otherwise.”
Atomica Gallery’s Founders: Orla and Holly
We asked where Atomica Gallery saw itself a few years down the line. Holly shared, “we have done this all on our own. We’re slightly in debt but it’s working. Our new shop is quite a small one. Our dream is to have two, so that we could have simultaneous projects on. The initial plan was to have ‘art for sale’ in one location seven days a week, and then a second with rotating exhibitions. We’re learning as we go. Every week is a learning experience. Anything can happen, really.”
We’re eager for their new shop to launch, and we’ll see you at the opening!
In previous posts we have highlighted some of the recent changes to bricks-and-mortar landscape: increasing vacancy rates, reduced consumer spending and lower footfall.These trends are contributing to the rise of short-term “pop-up” retail both in the UK and internationally. However, We Are Pop Up also think this is the beginning of a structural change in the way we use space, rather than just an economic cycle which will fade in time.
Some of the social and technological forces that are changing consumer activity will have profound consequences for both shop space and brands, and offer a great opportunity for those that can capture the imagination of a new audience. For facts and figures about the Rise Of The Mobile Audience, see our overview here.
There are an increasing number of retailers seeking to enhance engagement, from Levi’s Craft Of Music campaign, to Westfield’s Future Fashion events, exciting fashion start-ups like TheEdit @wearetheco and the Vogue-sponsored Fashion Night Out across London’s West End. Even pure-play online retailers like Capital One or eBay are increasingly experimenting with physical spaces and pop-ups to build engagement.
It may seem obvious, but physical engagement with a brand or community or product is the core advantage that a ‘shop’ – or increasingly ‘pop-up’ – enjoys over an online experience. Mobile computing is an agent in this physical to digital (or vise versa) journey.
The number of ways in which we can participate in a shopping experience is multiplying. We can share our experiences with our social media audience and are provided with digitally enhanced forms of service in-store. Just see how John Lewis bridges this gap with digital kiosks and incentives that cross platforms. For a new generation of retail, these steps are the key to engagement and profitable loyalty.
Hot Tub Cinema – a traveling theater and hot tub experience in London.
How To Engage In The Digital Age
It is estimated that the Vogue Fashion Night Out, for instance, increased footfall across Bond Street by a remarkable 92% – and a recent conversation with Caireen Wackett at Yellow Door reminded me what Mary Portas said back in September 2011:
“The only way for bricks and mortar retailers to compete with online is brilliant real life shopping experiences. Retail is no longer about number of units on the shop floor – it’s about offering a playground for your customers. Throwing big exciting events is one way to draw a crowd – but I believe the High Street should invest in better experiences for their customers every day.”
Big exciting events – the “theatre” of the retail world – don’t scale particularly well on the marketing and PR budget line. But mobile is a channel that can deliver personalized and exciting engagement everyday (remembering the late Steve Jobs’ caveat to “start with the experience, then work back to the technology”). A solution that can combine someone’s recent search history and preferences, the time of day, a particular location or even the last thing they bought, opens up the potential for far more nuanced and meaningful business-to-consumer journeys.
This more nuanced engagement delivers a more ‘authentic’ experience that all parts of the retail spectrum are currently seeking; from a start-up’s first steps into retail – like those working with Pop Up Britain – or an online retailer taking seasonal space, and even fully fledged independents and brands. A new generation of retailers is thinking not only about what they can provide to augment our lives, but also what kind of self-contained experience might captivate us most meaningfully. This indicates an exciting move away from old advertising models that told us what we wanted, and instead is built around what we actually do and care about.
Deloit predicts that over the long-term we will see a significant downsizing of store portfolios:
“This will vary markedly depending on the retailer’s category but reductions by as much as 30-40% are foreseeable over the next 3-5 years.” However some retailers, notably Apple and Nike, have led the way by showing that brand only stores can deliver great customer experience and provide a physical corner-stone to their consumer engagement. As vacant retail space grows more and more flexible, it is only a matter of time before the capacity and liquidity problems in the market are resolved. We can imagine a platform where all retailers have the opportunity to create active digital communities around the physical in-store experience, however short-term or permanent their presence.
This is where We Are Pop Up can play a vital role – enabling great physical experiences, reducing transaction costs and making the process of having a shop as easy as paying for a product online using PayPal.
Kellogg’s Ran A ‘Pay With A Tweet’ Campaign at a Soho, London shop in 2013
The CBRE (the world’s largest commercial real estate firm) observed that in the 1970’s, a retailer needed approximately 200 stores to access 50% of the UK’s population. Today it only needs 90 – sometimes less (assuming, of course, they are optimally located). Let us stretch the theatre analogy further to that of a traveling troupe – how many stores are required globally, over what locations and which time periods, to make sure a significant percentage of the world’s population enjoys your show?
I was recently asked to attended a meeting of the Small Business Statistics group at No. 10, hosted and chaired by Lord Young. The group was discussing the fragmentation of parts of the economy as an increasing amount of trade is transacted by e-commerce platforms like Ebay – and what challenges that this poses for measuring activity and productivity – in the first recession in living memory where unemployment has gone down! The conversations in the room were enthusiastic, and focused on new ways to transact and how to make the most of current market shifts.
Capturing mobile audiences represents an unparalleled opportunity for brick-and-mortar retailers. From start-ups to independents to brands – those that embrace mobile platforms in an intelligent and timely manner have the chance to create and sustain real competitive advantage.
Perhaps with the rise of the mobile audience are we about to see the rise of mobile retail itself.
The Changing Face of Retail – Deloit
M-shopping: Final nail or final hope for the High Street? – Sponge
This post kicks off a weekly series where each of We Are Pop Up’s team members will take a turn applying their expertise to the concept of pop-up. This week features Alastair Moore – COO and Co-Founder of We Are Pop Up. You can ask him questions on Twitter @latticecut.
Eric Schmidt of Google said, “If your company doesn’t have a mobile strategy, it doesn’t have a strategy.” This is a prescient observation but one that really rang true this year as London played host to the 2012 Olympic Games. Among the 430 million visits to Lonond2012.com, the 4.7 billion page views and 4.7 million social follows, the number that stands out is that 60% of this occurred from mobile devices. To visualise the growth rate of smart phone adoption and use, here’s a chart:
If charts aren’t you’re thing, here’s a summary: The US and UK have the most engaged smart phone users, which comprise between 30% – 40% of people in either given country. In real numbers, over 150 million people in America and 24 million in the UK download roughly 20 apps-per-phone today. Some reports indicate that over half of UK residents now have smart-phones, which would make that 24 million closer to 35 million. The challenges of data accuracy aside, the point is that this rise in the mobile audience undoubtedly influences our retail spending behaviour. Online sales now represent around 12% of the UK’s annual retail spend. Research by Barclays Corporate in 2011 predicts that mobile will come to represent around 5% of retail spending in the UK by 2020. Between now and 2016, they predict compound annual growth of 55% for mobile-based commerce (mCommerce) vs 8% for eCommerce (shorthand for online sales) and just 1.6% for in-store sales. But the attention of new mobile audiences is still notoriously difficult to capture.
Around 80% of branded apps get less than 1,000 downloads – and its very far from the simple case of replacing the online desktop experience. To quote Matt Biddulph @mattb, co-founder of Doppler, “mobile gives everyone superpowers!” Its always with us, and there are signals, and more signals, AND MORE SIGNALS telling us about what’s happening in the world. We can see what’s around the corner in the same feed next to what’s happening in Mumbai. And with a couple clicks we can see both points on a map, and chart a journey via bus. Mobile allows us to see, find, explore, share and transact in ways that we simply couldn’t previously: faster, with better curation and with limitless connections to like-content.
LIVING IN THE AGE OF ENGAGEMENT
In 2000, £50 out of every £100 we spent went to High Street retailers. Today, it’s just £42.50. But mobile isn’t about replacing a pound for a pound, and it is one of the “channels” by which customers and retailers engage. Deloitte estimate that for every £1 of purchases made via mobile, the channel will directly influence £23 of spend. The challenge is finding the best ways to influence a mobile audience.
I was inspired by a recent talk by Alex Meisl, co-founder of Sponge at the Mobile Academy about living in the “age of engagement”. I found the following statistics particularly engaging:
– 81% of smart-phone users search for local data
– 34% of US smart phone users have cancelled planned purchase in stores due to information they got from their mobile phone;
– 25% claim to intentionally carry a smart phone when shopping to compare prices and find information (an activity commonly referred to as “showrooming”);
– 46% say research conducted on their phone led them to make a specific purchase at specific store.
Where previously a retailer would have had us captive once we crossed the threshold of a shop, now they are in constant competition for our attention – locally, nationally and globally – an observation that Simon Forster of Debenhams described in June 2012 as “effectively heralding the end of online versus in-store shopping”. It is not about which of those you are, but how soon you will be both – something that the UK’s 150k online-only retailers should take note of.
So what do people currently do on mobiles? Here is another chart. This one shows a recent breakdown of behaviours from Google:
Figure 2. User journeys from discovery to purchase. Source: thinkwithgoogle.com
Understanding this complicated journey of conversion is not only the key to understanding mobile – and channel conversion – its key to understanding the changing role of bricks-and-mortar.
Notice that 4 out of 6 journeys involve the physical store in relation to mobile. The temporal aspects of this engagement are also important, but not captured by the figure. For example, there is the immediacy of mobile, as Ashley Highfield @ashleyhi observers: “On average, the time difference between first search and purchase is one month on the web and one hour on mobile”.
However the main point is that the biggest opportunity lies in leveraging mobile AND the physical store AND online to shape the overall shopper journey.
The potential of journey and engagement was highlight at a presentation from Hellicar & Lewis that I attended recently at WhiteLable’s Future Gallery. They gave some wonderful examples of how people are willing to interact with different digital installations to enhance the emotional and social aspects of engagement. And it is the role of social advocacy and endorsement that is critical to the journey of conversion.
Unsurprisingly, Amazon research shows that 83% of us won’t buy having been exposed to critical comments. But much more interestingly, their research also found that 75% of us are unlikely to buy if there are no reviews.
Only one journey in the figure above ends in an in-store sale – but bricks-and-mortar plays a critical role in creating a platform for engagement to support discovery.
We first met Tida and Lisa Finch via their entry for the BOXPARK Shoreditch “Free Pop-up Competition”. Their great photographs and unique jewelry were eye-catching at first sight. Now, about a month into their free winter pop-up, we paid Tida a visit at Finchittida Finch HQ. We are very pleased to (re)announce our pop-up shop interview:
Finchittida Finch at BOXPARK Shoreditch
For all of us over here at We Are Pop Up HQ, it was very exciting to have a chance to spend some time with one of the very first businesses that we put into a shop. In support of the forward-thinking team at BOXPARK (@BOXPARK) we were able to give an excellent opportunity to a great brand. For Finchittida Finch (@FINCHITTIDA) Unit 7 at BOXPARK Shoreditch is the first physical space to host their line of jewelry and home wares. Tida happily shared her enthusiasm about their pop-up, so we started by discussing some of the best aspects of setting up a brand as a destination and what it’s like to be at BOXPARK.
Finchittida Finch seems to be right at home. Tida told us, “We love it, we feel like it’s our HQ. Being in Shoreditch is great and the East London line has just opened, so travel is easy.” And some of their online customers have come to visit as well, “when we had our launch party, a few customers came especially to meet us and check out our products in real life. It was really great to meet them. This shop has given us the opportunity to extend our brand and products to people who just walk by. And sharing BOXPARK’s newsletter announcements with our social media networks has been really valuable. BOXPARK has been supportive and quite a lot of people have come in from their announcements alone.”
Their winter pop-up, titled The Monozygotic Temple, has offered Finchittida Finch a new way of getting to know customers – by watching them relate and respond to their products in front of their eyes. By running the shop themselves, they have had the opportunity to answer questions, monitor their demographic and request customer feedback quickly.
Even though they had cause to worry with the forecast of a post-Christmas slump, sales have been going well. Tida explained, “because our products are really affordable and unique it hasn’t been a problem. We have learned a lot from watching people in the shop; most are shocked at the massive [necklaces], and say ’I love them but I couldn’t wear them.’ ” Nevertheless, the large works are intricate and beautiful, ideal for costume designers and those looking for a striking addition to their collection.
We asked whether the feedback had changed the production line at all, “It’s really important to keep the balance. The larger-scale products grab attention, but the smaller ones are affordable and fit with a variety of styles. We’ve learned a lot about how to balance our line and have realized that we need to offer a real range with every collection. This has been the kind of learning we couldn’t have achieved without being in a shop near our customers.”
Tida and Lisa are a two person team, coordinating everything from the laser-cutting of their jewelry to promotion, as well as managing their social media accounts, running the shop, doing admin and providing customer service to both their online and offline customers. And they just recently graduated from university.
Keeping both an online and offline presence in harmony and thriving is something that even the most established and stable brands have trouble with. Tida’s solution for Finchittida Finch is to find great stockists in the UK and internationally that can help get their designs more widely distributed, while also using pop-ups to connect to new parts of London.
“It’s been hard work, but absolutely worth it and introduced us to pop-ups. Before I never would have wanted to take a shop. But because of this opportunity, we’ve really got a taste for it.”
For us at We Are Pop Up, visualizing Finchittida Finch at BOXPARK didn’t take much effort. Their name alone was intriguing, their story unique, their products innovative and it is obvious that they care deeply about what they make – from design to development. We always feel fortunate for the opportunity to connect with the people behind an innovative brand that also manage to triumph an entrepreneurial spirit. Lisa and Tida are an inspiring duo – sticking to their roots and making their vision real.
You can also read their December feature as one of BOXPARK’s X-mas staff pick features.
This week’s post is a guest feature by Sohaib Siddique.
The Gingerline gives you a deep, disguised, and hidden overground dining experience on the East London line. If you happen to be on the train which takes you from Highbury to Crystal Palace, then keep a look-out for people glancing to check the time every few minutes. As each station arrives and the train halts, you’ll find these curious faces explode with confusion, excitement, and curiosity at the same time.
For two years now, the mysterious Gingerline dine has been showing up at irregular destinations on the ginger line. The tube line is nicknamed as such because it’s orange on the Tube map. If you book a ticket with Gingerline HQ and stay somewhere close to one of the stations, you’ll get a text with directions at around 6pm. You’ll have one hour to get to the location before drinks are served.
The same concept was seen back in the 80’s, when rave culture was popular, late into the early mornings. DJs started playing shortly after the venue was revealed which allowed them to stay ahead of the police without getting caught. The same excitement has carried through to an exclusive dining experience, apart from the illicit details. You’ll be served with four courses of excellent indulgences, and the Gingerline delivers nothing short of spectacular. An evening of underground dining and theatrical entertainment promises not to disappoint.
Kerry Adamson is one of the original founders of the Gingerline. Her craving for big adventures was the inspiration behind the whole project. She believes that the secrecy involved with the Gingerline gives them the creative freedom to do what attracts guests the most. It’s not the usual wine and dine, but by taking away the ability to choose, guests are more excited. The open-mindedness has influenced the Gingerline team to incorporate designers, musicians, artists, and costumiers with the experience. Theatre productions are an extra addition to your quirky evening.
The first ever Gingerline was held in Crystal Palace. A folk singer, top hats, and a menu of coddled eggs and braised hogget shank was all that was needed to get things going. It was all rumours and whispers from there as the Gingerline’s unseen mystery started gaining popularity.
If you’re not sold on the curiosity of the Gingerline alone, then there’s definitely something wrong. The tickets are released twice a month, available at www.gingerline.co.uk. Prices vary depending on the type of production they are running—at the moment, it’s £50 per person. As for directions, all I can tell you is to stick to somewhere around the ginger line—and don’t forget to check your phone!