Pop-up stores have been a retail trend for the past decade, but many retailers are still yet to explore the benefits a temporary space can bring. The Register chats with Adam Stevenson from St. Kevins Arcade and Matt Heath from Limn Gallery who help explore the benefits of a pop-up store.
Not only are pop-ups small and affordable, they also generate excitement and a sense of urgency and are a wise investment for retailers wanting to test the water before launching a full time store.
Here’s our top 5 benefits of a pop-up store:
As pop-ups are temporary in nature and smaller in size than conventional retail stores, the cost of rent is usually lower. With the year that’s been, and Covid-19 causing financial hardship, a pop up store is advantageous for those that have lost funds or don’t yet have the funds to lease a more traditional retail space. Adam Stevenson from St. Kevins Arcade says pop-ups offer retailers an opportunity to slot into a ready-made environment at an affordable cost.
St. Kevins Arcade currently has a small 16m2 shop available for short term popups surrounded by great food and beverage outlets and other retailers.
One of the highly attractive benefits of a pop-up store is the short term commitment. As a retailer starting out, testing a bricks and mortar without a lengthy lease term is more than ideal.
Stevenson says that the St. Kevins pop-up space has had brand launches, clearance sales, art exhibitions, and several innovative entrepreneurs, which he says is great for both the arcade and its community.
Taking advantage of another Auckland pop-up space is Limn Gallery director Matt Heath. Heath has been using Ponsonby Central’s pop-up space since February to test whether there was a market for urban and contemporary art in New Zealand. He says the pop-up gallery brings something different and fresh to the space and has been well received by the complex (Ponsonby Central) and the public.
“On a number of occasions visitors have said they love what we do and wished we were around longer and more often. We frequently get asked where our permanent space is,” he says.
Pop-ups allow retailers to extend their brand and build awareness. For online businesses, pop-ups provide an opportunity to interact with customers face-to-face, educate them about new products, services and features and help build more personal connections.
By establishing a physical space, retailers will not only have the opportunity to interact with shoppers, but will see first hand exactly how they interact with their products and brand. These interactions can shed light on insights that can be used in product development and business strategy.
Although, Heath says that it is important to test and refine with each pop-up you do.
“If you have a permanent space and feel as though your existing local traffic has been exhausted, then a pop-up in another neighbourhood is a great way to get fresh eyes on your store & brand.”
In order to determine the future demand of your products, a pop-up store is your answer for testing and experimentation. Major companies like BMW’s mini have opened up pop-up shops for this purpose.
Stevenson says that he has seen an overall increase in small business start-ups that are experimenting and giving their business idea a go.
“The food truck is a great example of this. The abundance of great mobile food products is a great incubator for new businesses to test their products and refine their offerings.
“Lucy Suttor, the owner of Nicetouch massage, trialled her service with a short term pop-up and once proven, she was able to take up a long term lease with confidence,” he says.
For Heath, being able to trial his pop-up gallery for a few weeks gave him some key insights as to how he needed to display his pieces and helped him understand the best times of the day and days of the week to open his doors.
Encourage spontaneous purchases
Being temporary creates a sense of urgency to buy. Unlike traditional retail spaces, the pop-up store is presented as a limited edition itself for people take advantage of instead of regretting later.
Heath says typically on open day and the subsequent weekend is when he sells most of his stock, and customers now know to get in fast to secure an order.
“One of the most common questions I get in the gallery is ‘how long are you here for’, which essentially means they’re interested but can’t make the purchase then and there, they might be on a lunch break or on their way to or from a meeting. Being permanent would give the customer time to mull over the decision and potentially forget about it altogether.”
Ultimately, there aren’t many negatives to opening a pop up store and even landlords could make the most of an empty space. Given the Covid-19 climate we’re in and hopefully coming out of, a lot of people will be starting their own businesses and looking for a small space to start out with.
Heath says small business owners are going to be hesitant to sign a long-term lease following Covid-19.
“Giving them the option to test and trial for a three, six or 12 month term would be a great way to fill the space and hopefully lead to a long-term lease if they’re successful.”
Read more: 5 Retail Insights for 2021