Over the last decade, "pop-up" retailing -- in which a brand or company shows up at a physical location for a limited period of time -- has gone from a holiday novelty to a year-round retailing solution. Some have been quick to dismiss the pop-up phenomenon as a trend that is problematic for business, given the short-term nature of the model. But recent years have shown the opposite, with pop-up shops proving to be a long-term strategy for businesses, communities and nonprofit organizations alike.
Here are 5 reasons why pop-up shopping is here to stay:
1) Pop-Ups Encourage Creativity: As anyone who has sat in an office chair for eight hours a day can tell you, getting up and moving around is good for the mind. It's also good for business. Companies can get set in their ways, too, and picking up and moving can have beneficial effects. Opening a pop-up location for a day, a week or a month can be a low-cost, high-return method to rethink the way the business operates. Every brand, large or small, can benefit from shaking things up.
2) Pop-Up Shops Help Reach New Audiences: Take Goodwill, for instance: We're a 110-year-old business, but in recent years we've revamped our business strategy to include boutiques, trunk shows and pop-up venues that help us connect with younger audiences. This week, our pop-up shop at the SXSW: South by Southwest festival in Austin, TX, during the interactive portion, will sell vintage clothing and accessories, allowing us to reach a younger audience who are beginning their lifelong relationship with Goodwill. In addition, many folks have come to resonate with the recent hit, "Thrift Shop," by Macklemore, and the pop-up shop will provide the opportunity to "pop some tags."
3) The Shops Re-energize Communities: Even though the economy is showing signs of recovery, Main Streets across America are still hurting, and retail vacancy rates are high. Pop-ups not only help put revenue in landlords' hands, they can also serve to revitalize communities, bringing shoppers out to locations they might not ordinarily visit and serving as a catalyst for growth.
4) Pop-ups are Good for Business: This one should be clear by now. Pop-ups were responsible for more than $8 billion in sales in 2010, according to Specialty Retail Report -- a figure that has since climbed to new heights. Consumers enjoy them because they're fun and new; businesses like them because they allow companies to move lots of product quickly; property owners like them because they fill space that would otherwise remain empty.
5) The Shops are Good for Nonprofits, Too: While many big brands like Target and eBay have taken advantage of the pop-up economy in recent years, the trend is also catching on among social enterprises and nonprofits. While the Goodwill POP! shop is open at SXSW, for example, revenue raised will support the Goodwill Industries of Central Texas mission of generating lifelong connections to work.
Now that sounds like an idea with staying power.