Blog Trends

Pop-Up Shops: Not Just for Retailers Anymore

Pop-up shops and experiential retail installations are popping up everywhere these days, and they aren’t just for retailers anymore. From the chocolatier jcoco creating a short-term shop within a mall, to brands like Pantone creating a café in Monaco where customers can taste their favorite colors, to Nike showing Nordstrom customers that its brand plays well with fashion, brands of all sizes, offering products and services of all types, are getting in on the pop-up store action. According to PopUp Republic, the pop-up industry has grown to $10 billion in sales.(1) These small, temporary establishments are a great way to extend the reach of your brand.

Create brand immersion and loyalty.

While increasing sales is often top of mind, pop-up shops are really an immersive brand play. They allow customers to experience your brand in a new and intimate setting—whether you’re in the retail business or not. You can create a buzz with the exclusivity of the experience and/or with your products or services. The jcoco chocolate shop offered chocolate bar flavors in its shop that could only be found in that pop-up location. And since the shop was temporary, the exclusivity helped build a sense of urgency into the experience. These factors can help drive foot traffic, and once customers are in your shop, it’s an opportunity to develop loyalty with them.

Be where your customers are.

Pop-up shops allow you to take your brand to new target customers without the commitment of a longer-term brick-and-mortar presence, like the Adidas Originals x Alexander Wang pop-up truck did. Pop-ups also present a way to dip your toe in the physical if you’re new to it. Warby Parker took its online store to a pop-up presence, and it now has a few permanent stores. You can set up shop within a larger retail store, like Nordstrom does with its rotating Pop-In Shops from such notable and varied brands as Vans, Olivia Kim, Opening Ceremony, Poketo, and Aesop, or as a stand-alone experience like UNIQLO did with its Cubes.

Position your brand as a trendsetter.

Being able to jump into a trend quickly with a pop-up demonstrates the relevancy of your brand to an ever-changing, highly selective customer. Experiential installations and pop-up shops can be great ways to explore current brand engagement trends like partnerships, curation, and hyper-local artisanship. New York City’s KITH x Nike collab created a pop-up shop with co-branded products that ended up being so successful that it has become a permanent destination.(2) Travelers can swing by the Pop-Up Shop PDX in the Portland Airport to sift through a curated designer’s market filled with clothing, home goods, and crafts all made by local artisans.(3)

Extend your pop-up into the digital space.

While the pop-up shop represents a deep engagement with your brand, chances are good that you have a lot more to offer than that limited selection and opportunity can provide. That’s where digital can connect your pop-up customers to the rest of your brand ecosystem. Through endless aisle installations, customers can shop all that you have to offer and have items easily sent directly to them. Through apps, you can easily tie your pop-up customers to your social channels and loyalty programs.

Gather data; gain insights.

Beyond creating an interconnected experience, you can also use digital as an essential element of your pop-up shop. Magic mirrors, beacons, virtual reality, augmented reality, enhanced digital signage, and RFID reactive signage can add a digital component to your environment that today’s customers expect while providing you with valuable data on your customers. Including digital will allow you to measure results and gain insights about your customers.

If you’re interested in seeing the GLG pop-up endless aisle demo and discussing why a pop-up shop should be in your consideration set, give me a shout and let’s keep the conversation going.


1. “Pop-Up Stores Become More Than Just a Trend,” Retail TouchPoints website.
2. Robert Patos, “Rounding Up the Best Pop-Up Concepts from ‘Summer Sixteen,’” HYPEBEAST website, September 23, 2016.
3. Pop-Up Shop PDX website.