FÖMO Store, the physical lifestyle magazine debuts in Gothenburg

The new innovative retail concept has debuted in the Swedish city of Gothenburg earlier this year. FÖMO, short for “fear of missing out”, a new shopping experience in Mölndal Galleria, is as a physical lifestyle magazine, which provides a platform for brands to use it as a gateway into Sweden.

Similar to a micro-department store, it features anything and everything from clothing, accessories, footwear, jewellery, home decor, art and handcrafted goods. The difference, however, is that it’s not a typical store, it is anything but. It is an event focused destination for brand activation and for entrepreneurs to use the space to create a different type of experience. Its main focus is the ever-changing offer, with brands having a limited time to showcase their products or service, meaning that every time customers visit the store they will see, smell or taste something new.


‘The FÖMO concept can be considered the WeWork of retail. It offers convenience and a wow factor by providing limited editions and space as a service,” says Ilona Taillade, CEO of BrandSpots, and founder of the FÖMO concept.

So what does it mean for retailers?
FÖMO is breaking down the barriers for international brands to enter a new market and provides Retail As A Service (RAAS). It is practically risk-free for the retailer and provides the environment to test and launch new products or services. It is a place where retailers can engage with the customer to showcase and showroom their products. Brands are able to book space in the store through the We Are Pop Up online platform.


“There are many international brands that want to enter the Swedish market, but don’t want to make a half a million investment without testing the waters. With FÖMO it’s a flagship pop-up store where brands get the chance to test the market without the risks,” says Ilona Taillade, founder of FÖMO.


‘FOMO want to enrich the shopping experience in a way that feels exciting and innovative. Its urban location in Gothenburg and modern design makes Mölndal Galleria a suitable setting for brands to maximise brand awareness and activation,” says Magnus Bergman, Property Development Director at Citycon Mölndal Galleria.

Want to join FÖMO? Contact the FÖMO team!

Register your interest here

Reflections on Brussels, data and where next from We Are Pop Up’s COO, Clara Maguire

Start-Up perspective on the European Parliament

I joined the September techUK and Coadec delegation to Brussels alongside a group of start-ups whose data-driven businesses are offering new services across health, digital identity, and city planning. We wanted to better understand the implications of new EU policy on the growth of our businesses and the start-up sector as a whole. 

This was the fourth delegation bringing together policy-makers and startups techUK and Coadec have organised. It’s clear to see why the formula makes sense. We met with over a dozen MEPs and aides to explain everyday examples of how key policies massively help or hinder our business. An open space for conversation and shared understanding between those directly affected by policy, and those creating it. 

This was my first time inside the EU Parliament and it’s filled with all the quirkiness you’d expect in trying to build a base of operations for over 700 MEP’s representing 28 different countries from a range of political parties. The EU Parliament lives with its own rules and conventions. The quirkiest aspect is the array of fashion styles – for any people-watchers out there the EU Parliament is where it’s at.

Building the Digital Single Market

MEPs have a challenging job with national democratic mandates and a remit to shape and maintain the EU project.  Right now it is a project under stress, with outdated processes and a need to reform in the face of social, economic and technological pressures.

The focus of our delegation was on both the Digital Single Market (DSM) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the impacts they have on our startups.

The DSM and GDPR are two major priorities of the European Commission and will have a significant impact on digital technology growth companies. The DSM aims to streamline the administrative and regulatory burden of operating across member states. The GDPR is a mechanism to reform the data protection regime of Europe created in 1995 and badly in need of modernisation.

techUK and Coadec believe that current EU proposals fall short of making it easier for consumers to understand and manage the use of their own data; and in providing the more harmonised and predictable regulatory environment that small businesses need. 

As the conversation unfolded it quickly became clear that in Brussels, data has become a hotly debated topic, and Uber is a dirty word. It is used as a short cut to describe fear of technology as a disruptive force. Everywhere from employment practice, corporate taxation, and data privacy wafts distrust of large US tech giants such as Google.  They are accused of anti-competitive practices, and failing to pay into the social programmes of countries where they profit.

Legitimate and credible objections, however creating the GDPR is like cracking a walnut with a sledgehammer. Start-up tech companies suddenly find themselves affected by prohibitive EU policy created in response to the footprints of tech giants.

“Data is our currency. It’s central to how we understand our users and necessary to how we innovate”

– Jonathan, Shaping Clouds

GDPR and Legitimate Interest

Part of the GDPR discussion centres around a clause of ‘Legitimate Interest’, allowing tech companies to use data collected on customers for reasons not explicitly laid out in original consent. This isn’t about selling data or spamming customers with affiliate advertising, this is literally about how we develop our product.

Data must be free to flow to a new place of value. The proposed new wording of the clause would mean that every time we want to change features or use data to respond to customers’ requests, we have to ask for consent again.  Not only costly, but both impractical and anti-competitive.

Data usage versus data abuse

Tech firms innovate by creating Minimum Viable Products (MVPs). They launch a basic feature, they look at how their users respond, then optimise the feature in response to customer behaviour and feedback.

Presumably under the new wording of the legislation we will have to ask for consent before the MVP stage. We ourselves won’t know what behavioural insights will tell us about how we evolve the feature. So I guess we’ll need to ask again in a couple of weeks, and again, and again, and again. Not only will this cost us a fortune, slow us down, and irritate our customers – it would in itself be anti-competitive as we’d constantly be announcing our next move to competitors. 

The Critical Disconnect

The critical challenge here is a fundamental disconnect between the policy process and the crux of our innovation process. One is emergent and responsive, the other planned and top down. This disconnect is being felt in many aspects of how we now live. It’s been evident for 20 odd years. Take for example planning and neighbourhood policy that limits the use of buildings to A1 (retail) or B1 (offices), when the reality of city densities now require much more everyday flexibility. We’ve had to shift from a zoning mentality to a curatorial one.

Many of the tech companies affected by this legislation are attempting to create a more equal playing field. They are innovating in the worlds of fintech, green tech, health tech…the list is endless. They are creating real solutions to the compelling challenges of our time.

Platforms such as Google, Amazon, Kickstarter and Etsy are more than corporate entities, they are the engines of small business. In the EU, SMEs represent 99% of all businesses and 85% of all new jobs. These platforms give them the tools to set up inexpensively, to reach sales and distribution channels, and to create those new jobs. 

The MEPs we spoke with recognise this, they are intelligent, articulate, and passionate individuals with a desire to see the EU thrive. Yet they are following a regressive legislative position based on a historic vision of innovation not a future one. Why? 

Some of it is based on a legitimate concern for data protection and consumer rights. Some on a sense the EU is being ripped off by US tech giants and losing competitive advantage. Some about protecting state revenue from cab and hotel tax systems amongst others.

How we move forward

The real issue is a breakdown in communication, a breakdown in articulating common interests, and a breakdown in creating a system where all actors have responsibilities and ethics.

This isn’t a one-sided debate. Tech companies also need to step up. It isn’t enough that some generate value – we can and should do more. 

What would it look like if instead of top down legislation – tech businesses and policy makers worked together, closely together, to create codes of conduct to address data protection and transparency? Ethical standards that recognise a centralised taxation model in decentralised, peer-driven business models requires a new application. Competition models that level the playing field. Auditing rather than regulation. What if the process of forming policy could be more like the process of developing a new tech product – iterative and committed to finding new forms of value. 

There are many things we can do but it starts with conversation not with legislation. This is why the work of techUK and Coadec is vital – but it is just the first step. As tech companies we need to be much more active in leading this debate into a progressive space. 

This starts with being honest with ourselves. The internet has democratised access to knowledge, resources, and connections. Dominant business models are creating the ‘on-demand economy’. You can pretty much rent anything from cars to puppies. At the same time jobs are increasingly short-term, contract based and outside traditional employment benefits. It’s all very liberating, but it doesn’t take a big leap to see some of the consequences of these models.

Whether intentional or not we are developing models of utilisation that are divorced from models of ownership. It’s no secret that social inequality creates social instability.  The push and pull for policy is to recognise that antiquated models of protectionism create their own market distortions.  The Digital Single Market is an opportunity not only to create a richer and more robust European market, but also to make sure that we have the right incentives in place.

Real rules for real people

We can take collective effort and do something about this. We have an arsenal of tools to deliver new fit for purpose pension and equity funds. New insurance products based on use not ownership models. New employee benefit trusts. These can work with the existing systems as opposed to against them.

The reality is that no amount of legislation will halt technological progress. It will affect where businesses succeed. A hostile regulatory culture from Brussels, taken together with the partial response of the DSM to make it easy to do business across member states, will not, put bluntly be good for the citizens of the EU. There is an alternative.

What Now?

The session in Brussels was enlightening for me and I’d urge others in start-ups to participate. What may feel like a distant game in which your voice is powerless is actually a useful tool for your business.

Go to Brussels with techUK and Coadec and have your voice heard.

Bring the debate to London.  Email clara@wearepopup.com and let’s discuss tech’s new responsibilities to solving legacy problems we are actively creating.

Step up.  We as businesses need to think beyond product – we need to think about the communities and people we serve.

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Local shopping spots win out over shopping centres

Half of consumers prefer shopping local to visiting out-of-town shopping centres. The overall experience heavily factors into where they shop, meaning a failure by shopping centre managers to adapt the environment will inevitably lead to a loss of market share.

CBRE commissioned the groundbreaking ‘How Consumers Shop 2014’ report, surveying 21,000 shoppers in 21 European countries.

When it comes to consumer motivation, the high street wins on price and convenience – as well as the presence of independent shops and speciality retailers.

Importance of different factors when choosing where to shop
“What makes a shopping centre attractive?” Differences by type of centre

It pays to attract – and keep – local consumers entertained

Over half the people surveyed travel 15 minutes or less to their favourite shopping spot when it comes to non-food shopping, so it clearly pays to concentrate on attracting local customers.

Shopping areas that invest win greater consumer loyalty – especially high-earners

This week, Regent Street in London launched in-store Beacons that connect shoppers with loyalty discounts in real-time. Commissioned by The Crown Estate, Regent Street is the first shopping street in Europe to launch a co-ordinated effort across retailers, using a mobile app and Bluetooth Beacon technology.

Neighbourhood-level initiatives show the hidden advantages of high streets. Shopping centre rivals increasingly need to look beyond retail leasing, to the fundamental shopping experience and environment:

The contemporary battleground for shopping centre market share is increasingly focusing on what a shopping centre can offer in addition to pure retail sales – food and beverage, entertainment, and events – all designed to create compelling experiences for shoppers.

John Welham, Head of European Retail Investment, CBRE

Distinct clusters of countries share shopping characteristics

The survey found three major shopping trends split by geography.

‘European Mainstream’ – Europe’s core retail markets, including Britain along with France, Germany and Poland.

‘Shopping Centre Socialites’ – Ireland falls under the Mediterranean trend, who see shopping centres as ‘good places to meet friends’.

‘Utilitarian Consumers’ – Scandinavian countries who value cleanliness and retail mix over additional events and activities.

More broadly, 90% of consumers prefer to visit shops to buy, rather than purchase online. A minority – less than 20% – use tablets or smartphones during the buying process.

Shopping centres look to urban trends

Out-of-town malls are looking to trends in urban cores. Diversification and innovation are high on the agenda – with “business hub” work spaces about to open at Meadowhall.

We Are Pop Up launched the Pop Up Village at the Corio’s Boulevard Berlin earlier this year. The village shows what’s possible in shopping centres beyond traditional leased retail, providing emerging fashion labels with instant access to consumers. These brands in turn provide consumers with fresh, engaging content. The Pop Up Village showcases how shopping centres can embrace the innovation currently rising on High Streets.

Pop Ups are not just for Newcomers…ask Cadburys

For 2 days only Covent Garden became a bit more colourful – a hint of purple was spotted in Endell Street. For 48 hours only, Cadbury’s Joy Boutique opened to the public and exhibited an exquisite and very delicious selection of footwear – crafted from Cadbury’s chocolate.

Cadbury shoe

A purple window frame grabs the attention of the public, and Cadbury hostesses encourage passing people to come inside for a visit to the Cadbury Joy Boutique. Inside they find themselves in a store dressed in purple and gold, recreating the Cadbury colors in the store design, and an enchanting chocolate smell welcomes them. Beautiful designed chocolate shoes fill the wall and give customers enough reason to stay a while and admire the delightful artworks. Renowned food artist Prudence Staite has spent an incredible 860 hours hand-sculpting the chocolate footwear for the pop-up boutique.

Shoe store front Cadbury
While customers are in the shop, they are offered to take one of Cadbury’s chocolate bars – the lucky bar could win them something that gives them joy- in chocolate form. This gets people excited about the chance to win, but also allows potential customers to sample the product which can lead to increased sales.

Cadbury went one step further and created an additional chance for visitors to win. Tweeting a picture of the shoes or the shop with the hashtag #FreeTheJoy could win them a pair of shoes – and simultaneously gained Cadbury’s user-generated-content on Twitter and enhanced the marketing reach.

Myleene Klass
Myleene Klass

To ensure the maximum PR coverage about the shop, Cadbury shows to use a celebrity to open the shop and gain attention, especially crucial as the shop was just open for 48 hours. TV presenter Myleene Klass launched the Pop Up Boutique and just a few hours later the newspapers were filled with pictures of her in the shop.

Speaking at the event, Myleene said: “Show me one girl out there that doesn’t love chocolate or shoes so the combination of the two is little over a dream come true! That’s what makes the aptly named Cadbury Joy Boutique a winning combo.”


The outcomes of the pop up boutique were more than satisfying for Cadburys. Thanks to the prime and easy accessible location in Covent Garden, customers could react quickly to the media and pop by the shop. The idea of combining chocolate and shoes drew not just women into the shop, but the novelty and maybe even the promise of a free chocolate bar saw even high attendance by men. Finally engaging the customers in the #FreeTheJoy social media campaign maximized the reach for the campaign and ensured maximum interest in Cadbury’s Joy Boutique.

Thanks to the We Are Pop Up the organisation beforehand was made easy – the shop front in Covent Garden turned out to be the perfect location for the Joy Boutique helping Cadbury to achieve its objectives. This is an excellent example of using a Pop Up Space to draw attention to your brand, generate online buzz and increase the brand awareness.

Pop up shops rise to the challenge

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 up stores rise to challenge of reviving retail, says Financial Times
Pop up stores rise to challenge of reviving retail, says Financial Times

Re-imagining what a pop up shop can be

Aaron Shapiro has written a great piece over on Fast Company about how larger retailers can re-imagine the role which physical stores play in their business, as customers shop more and more online. We agree with Aaron that shops are becoming venues for all sorts of exciting new activities, and the pop up movement is a big part of this. Whether you’re an online business which has never thought about going bricks and mortar, or you’re looking for new ways to energise your existing store, here are five useful twists on what a pop up can be.

Pop up as showroom
Even if your business operates mostly online, a physical shop or pop up allows customers to see your product or service in the real world, meaning they’re more likely to make that online purchase. Apple stores operate like this.

Pop up as community
Your pop up doesn’t have to sell physical products, or even anything at all. Use the space to run workshops and events, and bring people together. The School of Life and Rough Trade East both build communities around their stores.

Pop up as collection point
Perhaps you’ve run a Kickstarter campaign, and now it’s time to send out rewards. Instead of splashing cash on postage, why not set up a reward pick-up space where your funders get to connect with you instead of their postal worker?

Pop up as maker space
This is a really exciting area for pop ups, as 3D printing and other technologies are enabling design and craft types to create custom items. Best of all for customers, they get to watch their purchase being made. Tatty Devine has lasercutting machines in all its stores.

Pop up as billboard
You could buy an advertising hoarding, but a shop space is so much more effective. Your location, your signage, a peep through the windows into what’s going on inside – everything is a message to customers.

We hope this gives you some ideas for your next real world retail adventure…

Hotdogs, beer and pop up property

Last night We Are Pop Up had an event at IdeaLondon. We were joined by landlords and pop up space owners, pop-up brands and curators, and others with an interest in tech, the city, and independent culture – a powerful and disruptive intersection.

The alternative way to rent commercial property

We chatted to food scientists ready to leave corporate life and looking to our community for inspiration and the owner of a well known group of bars planning to run pop-ups in fresh, exciting locations to bring something new to their clients. We heard from a brand on the hunt for a 350 sqft retail space who also owns a 5000 sqft warehouse – and did we know anyone that might be interested?

You couldn’t turn without starting an engrossing conversation with someone full of pride and passion for their venue, their brand, their programme, or their product. With an enthusiasm and a sense of urgency, we shared stories and discovered new opportunities.

These opportunities are what Nick, in his talk, referred to as resulting collectively in a movement. We Are Pop Up has consciously identified itself with this movement since the start. Our values are those of the sharing economy and true marketplaces. We aren’t always outspoken about it – but relish opportunities where we can be. These values underpin every conversation and every decision we make – concerning our growth, our culture, our role in our community, and our product.

Introducing the evening, Nick mentioned that two years ago We Are Pop Up set out to create an online marketplace that made it possible for landlords and tenants to directly connect and rent commercial property without the need for an intermediary. Now it exists. To the best of our knowledge it is the only platform of its kind in the world focused on commercial property. How people end up using it continues to be a source of inspiration for us, and over the course of the evening we were lucky to hear more.

Jude is pop up curator at Camden Collective C159 – a creative marketplace that serves as a retail incubator for brands. Jude talked about how being part of our community has amplified C159’s voice and introduced her to thousands of innovative businesses looking for space. In searching for the first 10 brands for launch – she received over 100 enquiries. This meant that she could select the very best mix of brands and talent. Putting them together means they learn from one another, compliment each other and result in an awesome consumer experience.

Tim, the founder of BrewBar Coffee House at 11 Camden High Road, rented his shop for 3 months via We Are Pop Up. He talked about the speed at which he found the shop, made an offer and signed an online commercial licence. The whole thing only took 8 days, and 1 day of that was because the landlord temporarily backed out – something Tim attributes to the speed and ease of getting the deal done actually seeming ‘too easy’! After opening his shop Tim re-listed it as a sublet opportunity to lunchtime food pop-ups to compliment his coffee offer. This recursive aspect of the We Are Pop Up licence meant that he could move from being tenant to landlord in a matter of days.

One of the most interesting shifts Nick highlighted, is a new type of relationship that we are helping faciliate between landlords and tenants. Traditionally this could be a somewhat adversarial one, with both sides stuck in a persona and an agent in the middle mediating a technical and rigid process. Nick described how the messages that pass between landlords and tenants on our platform are now in a different tone. They are a negotiation, and more often look a lot like a collaboration.

We see people using We Are Pop Up in a multitude of ways, to achieve a diverse set of outcomes. Hearing these stories not only inspires us, but helps us feel connected to a shared set of aspirations and values. We want to thank everyone that came along and hope to see you at the next one!

We are pop up, the alternative way to rent commercial property

Big shout out to all our friends who took part:

Monty and Lisandra at Popdogs for the amazing hotdog bar complete with neon sign and literally one of the best hotdogs I’ve ever had. Check them out at their more permanent Camden Lock home (http://www.popdogs.co.uk/).

Annabel and Andrew from Honest Brew who brought a selection of delicious ales, stouts and larger (you can order them here: http://honestbrew.co.uk/ (And of course Honest Frank to oversee proceedings!)

Tim from the BrewBar Coffee House for an amazing tale of breaking bad inspired coffee brewing methods – check out his antics at 11 Camden High Road (http://twentysomethinglondon.com/brew-bar-coffee-house-in-mornington-cresent-camden/).

Jude from C159 for her second We Are Pop Up good deed of the day (you may spot her in a We Are Pop Up film production premiering this week!) Jude we love you! And if you haven’t been already, get yourself down to C159 (http://camdencollective.co.uk/159-2/).

And finally to the brilliant Chloe from IdeaLondon (http://www.idea-london.co.uk/ ) for letting us come, cook hotdogs, drink beer, and generally make a pop-up ruckus!

How curation is changing the way commercial property works

At We Are Pop Up HQ we’ve been talking a lot about curation recently. Our most popular spaces – the ones opening their doors consistently to the brilliant projects listed on We Are Pop Up – are proving there is a new model for short-term use of space. It’s making a killing. At the heart of most of these projects are entrepreneurs – stand out individuals with real vision.

Often inspired by financial requirements, some inspirational space managers are starting to intensify their use of space and shift their focus from selling space to selling time in space. This is bringing a new set of capabilities into commercial property and has made room for a new role: that of programmer – or curator. We love the idea that the answer to many commercial property problems lie in the creative, flexible and collaborative.

These forward-thinking space curators are proving that space can be re-conceived as a platform in itself. Suddenly, spaces are able to host multiple projects simultaneously, transition quickly and constantly re-invent themselves. The history of a shop is now shaping so quickly that even the most agile data companies have no factual data on what occurs month-to-month. This is a brand new concern, thanks to the pace and innovative power of today’s businesses. Pop-up is breaking things.

As a result our community of projects can access bigger and better spaces, in bigger and better locations. Previously inaccessible units, spaces that were too large or too expensive, are finally becoming porous.

This month we support the launch of Camden Town Unlimited’s new space: Collective 159 on Camden High Street. 3,000 square feet which intends to host dozens of projects per month, simultaneously. We are helping place tenants in a new, massive and sharable retail space on Shoreditch High Street. The economics and capabilities of short-term commercial space are changing quickly, writing entirely unique stories for uses of space. We are watching it all happen, and looking forward to capturing as many of these stories as we can.

– Clara Maguire

At We Are Pop Up, Clara helps commercial space managers connect with a community of unique brands and businesses. 

The new psychology of space: longer than a day, shorter than a year

Dr Alastair talks “retail futures” at the Digital Shoreditch festival (#ds13) and discusses how some of the changes we are living through might affect the retail landscape.

“This is going to be a 7 minute deluge of ideas. Hold tight.

Firstly, I’d like to say how amazing We Are Pop Up is.

We Are Pop Up is a platform for finding and transacting short-term commercial space – pop ups! And my talk is about why short-term use of space will play an increasingly important role in our retail landscape.

But I’ll start with what I’m not going to talk about. I not going to talk about mobile or e-commerce. Although both currently see double digit growth and are very important for a changing retail landscape.

There was an excellent talk from Roger Wade the founder of Boxpark (and client of We Are Pop Up) yesterday about the importance of customer experience and the shifting pattern of interactions that these e/m technologies facilitate. But I’m not going to talk about multi-channel or omni-channel or any other trendy retail philosophy.

I’m going to start by talking about information. (Channel theory itself having its origins in Information theory). If we want to think about retail futures we have to start with information in social and economic activities.

We’re currently sitting somewhere in the middle of two important revolutions.

Its quite difficult to categories revolutions when you’re experiencing them, as the boundaries of when something started or stopped seem clearer with the perspective of history – and then only sometimes – so I’ll be deliberately woolly on the dates.

However, we can think of the ‘information revolution’ as starting post-war maybe even sometime in the 60s, with packet switching for instance, and lasting up to the mid-00’s post the ‘internet’ bubble. This is when we worked out a whole load of technologies and protocols for moving information around – the plumbing and pipes, so to speak, of moving data around the modern world.

Overlapping this we started to see, say late 80’s to the present, the beginning of the ‘inference’ revolution. The pattern matching, the AI, the machine learning that starts with data and information and begins to turn it into usable knowledge – by ‘inferring’ things.

This revolution will, in our life times, do for the ‘white collar worker’ what the Industrial Revolution did for the ‘blue collar worker’ – ie. slowly replace them. The inference revolution means that things you largely assumed to be the preserve of human level reasoning are automated. Now we probably have 20+ years still to go but we already take a considerable amount of its output for granted, whether that’s product recommendations on our loyalty cards to the response to our limb actions from a device like the Kinect on a shop manikin.

So the first revolution is ‘inference’. And at this point I’d like to remind you that We Are Pop Up is an amazing tool for helping find short term space – a bit like a search engine it can help recommend potential tenants to landlords.

The second revolution is about the means of production – 3D printing if you want.

Again this started some time in the 80’s  – first reported account 81 – but additive layer manufacturing is a technology that has only really begun to be commoditized in the last few years.

To think how transformative this will be, consider ‘modern’ 2D printing.

If you imagine the transformation of the Dot Matrix printer from the 70s to the full colour photo-realistic printers of the late 00s it took less than 30 years for the commoditized product to go from something amazing, but quite primitive, to nearly professional grade processing for the lightly skilled amateur in their bedroom.

Extrapolate this a little bit and in less than 15 years a new digital manufacturing revolution now opens up the possibility of everyone being their own manufacturer. Multiple materials, fully functioning products, embedded electronics, smart materials, all at the click of the print button in a bedroom.

What has all this got to do with retail futures? Is We Are Pop up going to do for the commercial real-estate industry what 3D printers will do for manufacturing. Maybe.

Let’s put this discussion about information in context by going back a decade or so and looking at the music industry.

The music industry was arguably the first industry to be totally transformed by the means of digital production and dissemination. It’s founded on a 1D signal with a comparatively small byte size so the techniques for creating, copying, distributing and selling (or not as the case may be) came along first.

And how it has been transformed. Free downloads, to file sharing, to paid streaming and the resulting P&Ls from red back to black in a little over a decade. No more albums, no more super groups, but more live music, more socialized music, more REAL music and a landscape that now spans X-factor entertainment to solo careers launched by Kickstarter campaigns. The lesson here is that what we do in our digital worlds has a profound effect on what we do in our real worlds.

Is We Are Pop Up going to do for the commercial real-estate industry what Kickstarter has done in spawning and supporting creative projects? Probably.

Now, if you’re in an industry that also sells slightly more complicated digital signals, say the film industry, you obviously really sit up and take note! But the transformation of the music industry should be a salient lesson for all.

At the point where the current inference and manufacturing revolutions intersect most industries on the planet are packaging up, swapping, distributing, pricing and selling different digital signals – except what? Commodities companies?- the real stuff that things are made of. Or the property industry? – the real space where things exist in.

Surely REAL-estate is as REAL an asset class as you’re going to come across. What have these technology revolutions got to do with transacting space?

Well there is some obvious stuff – the sort of digital tools that support logistics, scheduling, portfolio management – digital tools that do some of the ‘inference’ about assets, the sort of tools that have already proliferated in industries like finance.

There is also the white elephant in the room, that, even in the absence of a universal 3D printer, more of our products will be bought and distributed using online models so that the real space in a ‘shop’ is less to do with shelves of stocked products and more about a space in which in which to experience a brand. And, when a retailer like Amazon is paying £4 a sq ft for warehouse space there is obviously lots of room for government to look at how tax and business rate mechanisms could be made fairer in this emerging landscape.

But there is also the tangible influence of the digital world on our expectations of the real world. Our online worlds are changing at an increasing pace, more social, more personalized, more on demand, more ‘everything as a service’ and we will inevitably demand more of these qualities of our offline worlds too.

So I lied slightly – I am going to talk about e/m commerce – because I’m going to talk about commerce. Increasingly the currency of commerce is (wait for it) information – Facebook’s famous “if you’re not paying then you are the product”.

Is We Are Pop Up going enhance engagement and connectivity in the real world in a way that Facebook did for the online world? Hopefully.

You now have a myriad of possible engagement models from free, to freemium, to premium, to subscription, to paid – and increasingly you ‘log-in’ to get a set of services from the walled gardens of the software platform giants – Google, Apple, Microsoft – or the upstarts Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Spotify… name your favorite.

Everyone wants to be a platform! After all logging-in captures information – and value.

To keep ahead in the engagement arms race, fueled by our online interactions, we will need the real world to be consumed in similar ways – freemium, subscription, on demand – 1 day, 2 days, 1 week, 1 month, 3 months. Whatever ever is required – at the right time, in the right location, for the right price. And to capture this value we need to be able to log-in to real space.

The new retail is longer than an event but shorter than a lease – and We Are Pop Up is here to help make that a reality.

Thank you.”

Read more about how commerce is changing in our Future of Retail series: Part 3 or The Rise of the Mobile Audience

Online brands come onto high streets: The rise of pop ups

Dr. Alastair Moore was invited to Downing Street this week for the launch of Lord Young’s second report on supporting small firms in the UK.

Here at WAPU we (obviously) think that new “pop-up” models of retail – longer than an event and shorter than a lease – play a very important role in regenerating the UK High-Street. It was greatly encouraging to see our contribution recognised in the report, along with partners Pop Up Britain and Popupspace.

“For online businesses, a pop-up offers them retail experience to raise their brand profile, test products and prices and have direct contact with customers, all with minimum financial commitment.”

The report goes on to describe the “early pioneers” striving to improve the model and enhance the experience for others. For example, wonderful new brands like NANUKK. Sarah McLeod said, “when you work alone and online, you never get the feedback – it was wonderful to hear that what I was doing on my own wasn’t crazy and that people actually liked my product and were prepared to buy it”

We are looking forward supporting many great new brands in the future!  You can read more here.