During fashion week in London’s Soho district this past February, Lego opened a pop-up store with nothing in it. Well, nothing except for a pedestal displaying a QR code. When visitors scanned the “Snapcode,” linked to Snapchat, their phones displayed an augmented reality-enabled fashion boutique where they could interact with arcade games, a DJ and a bouncer. They also could view an exclusive limited-edition apparel collection, available for purchase through the social media site’s “Shop Now” feature.
Pop-up concepts like this are becoming essential in retail, where consumers’ insatiable desire for the new and different requires constant testing and experimentation. Pop-ups lend an air of exclusivity, an of-the-moment excitement and Instagram worthiness that generates top-of-mind brand buzz in crowded markets. Their success has driven the pop-up industry to approximately $10 billion in sales, according to PopUp Republic.
Retailers create pop-ups for a variety of reasons, and their run times vary from just a few days to months or more. Common purposes include the desire to:
- Explore potential new markets; Goop recently opened a London pop-up for this purpose.
- Test new products/concepts/services and experiment, such as Wrangler trying out a new global high-end line in London.
- Try out brick-and-mortar, for e-Commerce-only retailers.
- Attract a new customer base, such as House of Fraser’s recent pop-up.
- Promote the brand.
- Engage directly with customers, especially for brands that sell primarily through retailers. Superdruginvited social media influencers to select the products for its ethical makeup-only pop-up.
- Study and learn from customers.
- Tie in to holidays or events, such as Waterstones’ International Woman’s Day pop-up featuring only female authors.
- Take advantage of an opportunistic lease in a prime location.
- Serve as a click-and-collect/BOPIS location, as Zara did at Westfield Stratford in east London.
Some pop-ups run their course and close down, but retailers have also adopted pop-up only business models — generating excitement by temporarily setting up shop at locations suggested by their social media following, for example — or moved on from the pop-up concept to full brick-and-mortar sites, as Amazon is now doing in the U.S.
“Pop-ups are a physical media channel much like the Internet, TV and radio, and can be used as a tool to tell a brand’s story,” said Leon Goldwater, Chief Executive Officer of We Are Pop Up, a firm that helps businesses book pop-up spaces and ShopShares in Europe.
“Many brands and retailers have realised the impact of using physical locations as experiential concepts and that they are essential to activate and keep customers engaged. The pop-up needs to be seen as part of the brand’s marketing strategy and as a great way to test out new concepts, ideas and formats.”
Written by: Andrew Gaffney
With the Christmas trading period over, retailers are redefining their strategy which should reflect new trends, concepts, and their new merchandise. There is not a second chance to make a first impression, therefore storefront windows and interior design are a vital part in ensuring effective visual merchandising and store presentation. The season kicks off with Valentine’s Day followed by Mother’s Day and for many retailers, these events are just as important as the run-up to Christmas. To help prepare the store for Spring/Summer 2019, we explore nine ways retailers can prepare the store for Spring/Summer 2019:
A Journey of Discovery
Embrace the seasons, reinvent traditional themes, create excitement and add some retail theatre. Attract customers by offering quality products, as well as exceptional service provided by your experienced and professional sales team and the overall store presentation. With the ever-increasing popularity of online shopping, retailers need to create a novelty, a sense of attractiveness to entice customers back to the High Street and into their stores. Customers need to feel that shopping in your particular store is a pleasurable experience. There needs to be a sense of excitement with the range of merchandise on offer and how it is presented. The merchandise needs to be presented in a way that enhances its qualities and increasing its desirability, making it an instant “must have”. To lure them into the store there must be a sense of urgency, event or something that creates that fear of missing out (FOMO).
Trends for Spring / Summer 2019
This is an exciting time of the year to seek out and source the trends for 2019. Integrating new themes and reflecting seasonal trends in changing your colour palette are just of the key areas to look into. Across every kind of store, this year’s fixture trends are enhancing the experience through mobility and modularity. For ABC, this comes in the form of flexible fixtures and the flow from brand to brand. Hogan draws on a sculptural interpretation of movement for its design, while Fly Pony incorporates fixtures as props to support the brand story. In all instances, it’s a blend of immersion and in-store experience. However, it’s done – from shape-shifting shelving to the future’s AR display cases – fixtures are driving the change.
The launch of the Spring Trade Fairs
This year kicks off with the launch of the various Trade Fairs in London, Birmingham, Paris and Frankfurt. Pure London, Maison Objet, Ambient, Top Drawer are just a few of the key events you don’t want to miss out on. Whether you are a fashion, home or gift retailer, this is an ideal time to visit the fairs, review the new trends and purchase the right merchandise for your store.
Create a 2019 Marketing & Visual Merchandising Calendar
To ensure the implementation of your strategy create a calendar that will help you and your staff to be up-to-date with what events are planned for the store. The calendar will help with planning, budgets, sourcing new merchandise, signage. It might also help to track your progress.
Your Store Layout
Re-plan your store by moving fixtures to create a fresh layout. Consider zoning and categorizing areas to give your store a new look. Even the smallest of changes can make a big difference, inviting your customers to rediscover the merchandise.
Watching paint dry?
Refresh your store by giving it a fresh coat of paint. Colour makes a strong statement, particularly if you are creating a feature wall with either paint or wallpaper. This will be very eye-catching to the customer. You now have a new setting for some great merchandise that you have bought from the trade fairs.
If your budget permits, consider sourcing new fixtures. These could be ready-made from a supplier or bespoke to your specifications. Use your imagination to create an inviting layout but most importantly ensure that the fixtures are stable and can be used for a variety of merchandise. To allow for product shift and brand evolution, designers built-in flexibility and mobility by using a system of modular fixtures. In the jewellery department, for example, fixtures can be reconfigured into different shapes as needed. In the cosmetics department – a section that’s notoriously heavy on brands – flow is paramount. Fluidity and clarity can be maintained throughout the store, via glass cases and scaffolding-style product displays that allow shoppers to open sightlines.
Geometric archway fixtures provide a magazine-like backdrop for selfies, while constantly changing windows are part of the journey from online to in store. In the kid’s section, fixtures like peg walls and cut out trees have a pop-up book look that’s interactive and engaging. In the pipeline for future in-store elements are digital displays that integrate virtual reality (VR) with physical products.
Adapt your current fixtures.
If the budget is tight, consider giving a new look to existing fixtures. You could simply repaint them to give them a new lease of life. This will be an inexpensive way to freshen up and give your store a quick make-over!
Create focal points around the store
Create focal points around your store. This will allow you to guide your customers’ journey as they browse the store. These sites can be just a display but if possible use this site for merchandise. These sites are perfect as promotional area, or event space.
Use the services of a professional Visual Merchandiser
You might be quite surprised to find out how inexpensive it is to hire a visual merchandiser. They will be able to advise on you on store layout, window concepts, product presentation and they will be able to create VM Guidelines to help train your staff. VM is not always about being creative, it is about being commercially minded to help you push specific product in your store.
Written by: Iain Kimmins
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