Pop-up shops can revitalise retail, say consumers

Forbes think pop-up shops are an adrenaline shot for retail, while brands like Comfort, Magnum and Louis Vuitton have recently opened one; but how do British consumers feel about them? This is a question retailer OnBuy.com sought to answer, with a pop-up shop survey presented to 1,424 British consumers.

Survey results

The survey conducted by OnBuy.com revealed the three main factors that would make consumers want to attend a pop-up shop: the prospect of “freebies” (65%), a unique experience (61%) and the chance to try new products not yet available (57%.) Of less interest is product demonstrations (22%) and guest speakers (17%.)

Comparably, the factors that would turn consumers away from attending a pop-up shop include overcrowding (73%), no products available to try (50%), visually unappealing qualities like abrasive music and colours (47%) and no staff on hand to answer queries – at 37%.

Cookery pop-ups are of most interest to the British public, with two-thirds of the vote (60%) followed by fashion (50%), cosmetic (47%), tech (40%) and art (37%.)

When asked “When attending a pop-up, what do you expect from product pricing?”, 47% of respondents revealed they expect to pick up a bargain or items at a discounted rate. While 40% expect a realistic insight into a brands pricing and over a third (37%) expect to be able to take away freebies and samples at no cost.

Over two-thirds (63%) of consumers stand firm on the fact access (entry) to pop-up events should be free of charge. Although 30% did argue it would depend on how much they like the brand or product involved, just 7% would be willing to pay for a meaningful experience.

Moreover, 60% of Brits believe the biggest reason pop-up shops are becoming so popular is it’s easier to discover independent/smaller brands. Other factors include it’s fun and exciting (57%) and it’s a more intimate and personal way to connect with consumers (43%.)

Tellingly, when asked “Do you think the concept of a pop-up shop is a good way to revitalise retail?”, an overwhelming 70% of Brits agreed yes – just 13% said no – which indicates the shape of things to come in the world of retail.

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Jamila and Matthew at Tailors Gin were asked: Why do people open pop-up shops?

Getting a foot into the retail market is increasingly difficult. We found a pop-up shop gave us the opportunity to give it all we had, self-funded, with a plan that we would continue if it was a success. Opening a business is a huge risk, and the less risk you can open yourself up to the better.

However, it takes a lot to make sure a concept works. Market yourself, drive awareness and footfall, and ensure there is a demand for what you want to offer. You must maintain the same level of business vision and acumen as a more ‘permanent’ set-up.

Why do you think pop-up shops are popular with Millennials?

We’re living in an age where so much has gone digital – opening a store is somewhat of a traditional model. Pop-up models work because you can dip your toes in, with a more considered approach. Often, it’s limited by a timeline too, so the window of opportunity is shorter, but the experience is greater.

What advice would you give to others thinking about opening a pop-up shop?

  1. Take time to visit the shop’s potential location, over several weeks and at different times of the day, to assess footfall. People won’t just come to you because you are a pop-up. Look at how many people pass by and how you can engage with them to get them through the door.

  1. Share your story. Why are you a pop-up and why is it an exciting venture? People love to know the reasons behind your business, what you want to achieve and why you want to make it a success.

  1. Be neighbourly. Setting up a pop-up shop isn’t easy, and you need to build relationships fast. Invite the neighbours’ round and tell them what you do to help spread the word. Support your neighbours and they will support you!

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