2019 Brick-and-Mortar Trends: The Future of Pop-Ups

Going into 2019, you’ve got to be on the lookout for a new way to integrate pop-up shops. It used to be that pop-up shops were something that we did when we saw empty storefronts. In the last 3 years, pop-ups really took over the majority of new experiential marketing budgets – from fashion startups to the most-established independent fashion retailers. But what does this mean for 2019? Where is this going?

Pop-Up Shops in Shopping Malls

Companies like WS Development’s Boston Seaport, as well as other real estate developers, have been opening up more modular, pop-up-friendly retail malls. They understand that “permanent” independent fashion retailers aren’t the only ones who can bring in lucrative buzz and sales. The Current, launching in 2019 in Boston, is an example of nine continuous pop-ups that are going to be rotating; selling different products from different kinds of companies, and it’s going to be evolving over time. We also have mall platforms like ROW in Downtown Los Angeles, and PLATFORM in Culver City (both in California).

The retail mall pop-ups are great examples of having physically owned retail storefront spaces, combined with pop-up shop models. They’re also attractive places for fashion startup owners to test public response to their new brands. Consumers are being driven to these malls and storefronts for newness. They’re buying new products, and they’re being exposed to other kinds of brands, and different food and lifestyle options. It’s attractive to both well-established and independent fashion retailers.

Pop-Up Shops in Department Stores

What else is going on with pop-ups? We’re seeing larger department stores like Bloomingdale’s start to have rotating storefronts, where they’re now doing much deeper collaborations with a lot of their brands. This is in order to have brands that are not just in-store, but showing up on the frontlines in their windows. This is really important because these rotating options are being rolled out by Lord & Taylor, and Saks. The pop-up shop and in-store shop-in-shop opportunities are amazing ways for brands to be able to collaborate, and get more visibility in stores.

Digital Pop-Up Shops

We’re seeing a lot of pop-ups that are now not just in-store but also digital. For example, Tiffany’s, in an effort to really launch and scale in the Chinese marketplace, collaborated with Tmall. So Tmall is the higher-end, luxury website that a lot of Chinese consumers go to, to get exposure to international and domestic brands, and local luxury companies.

Tiffany’s launched a two-week digital pop-up shop where they were able to showcase offerings for the new paper flower collection. Customers were able to purchase after having a really amazing digital VR/AR experience, which then went live in the physical brick-and-mortar space. Garnier also recently announced that they were going to be doing a digital trunk show and pop-up opportunity. They are going to be featuring different brands and showcasing trunk shows, selling them exclusively on their websites for short periods of time. This pop-up shop concept is not just taking over physical space, but it’s actually changing how we look at digital real estate.

You need to have a stake in what happens in terms of the physical storefront experience. It’s time to go modular, and it’s time to look at reaching out to different key markets nationally, and finding great opportunities to have a strong brand footprint. Physical space has to be a much larger part of your distribution strategy, not just a marketing strategy and marketing spend. Growth stage companies, you need to be thinking about doing digital events, and doing in-store events, either at modular independent fashion retailers or more unconventional spaces. Perhaps you have opportunities where you can do things online, like a longer pop-up shop or a longer trunk show. You need to start to look for smaller spaces where you can do physical experiential things.

Budgeting and Getting Your Brand in Front of Consumers

Budgeting needs to be a big part of how you choose your direct-to-consumer strategy for 2019. For fashion startup owners, this means rethinking your budgets. With fashion startup brands, the thinking may be, “I can just have a direct-to-consumer brand online, I don’t really need to think about experiential, and I don’t need to think about that physical space.” Unfortunately, that’s wrong. The best and the brightest direct-to-consumer businesses are all focusing on experiential, and they’re all focusing on that customer connection. If you’re looking to plan your budget, you may need to look at reallocating the spending.

You may need to look at your budget from your customers’ perspective. What are you doing to reach them? Where do they want to shop, and when? Which pop-ups can present your market the best opportunity, and which may even be good testing grounds for future permanent spaces?

If you need help executing with a digital side, with an in-store side, or joining pop-up experiences hosted by key independent fashion retailers, please send us an email at hello@scalingretail.com. We love creating memorable and winning customer experiences.

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