It's not just the UK - there is a worldwide increase in pop up shops. As well known high street stores and independents close landlords are finding it difficult to find long term tenants, so accepting a short term lease whilst they are looking for the long term tenant makes sense. You could say it's linked to the economic downturn and I certainly think that was the catalyst that kicked it off, however it's got a real buzz around it now and is gaining momentum.
What's in it for the brand? It's not just small aspirational companies who are enjoying the flexibility of the pop up shop but big name brands are getting in on the action for a fresh and different approach than they take in their mainstream stores, often making it an interactive experience. Brands such as Liberty's have embraced the idea of pop up shop with Hermes and online retailers are using it as a way to entice bricks and mortar shoppers, with ebay opening its first pop up shop this Christmas.
For smaller brands it gives them the opportunity to showcase their products, drive traffic through to their website and gain brand exposure. Expensive business rates and long term leases prohibit this type of business from getting a shop on the high street more permanently, but the entrepreneurial spirit of small up and coming businesses makes the most of the recession, turning negative downturn into positive innovation.
The kinds of pop ups vary quite considerably too, from retail outlets, art galleries are also now popping up in retail spaces with fringe artists getting on the band waggon, to restaurants, interactive gaming and seasonal stores.
Many of the print and retail agencies now specifically offer POP up shop services, there are companies that exist to solely service this market matching tenants and landlords. These are not the shabby Christmas pound shops we are seeing but modern, stylish stores in popular shopping districts, showcasing the best of British and international design. They offer interactive fresh new ideas, an experience as well as the chance to purchase.
This looks like it's more than just a short term trend and becoming a way for retailers to engage their customers on the high street again, and are often performance spaces as well as retail outlets. I think they're here to stay - as big brand retailers move off to retail parks out of town high streets and public spaces are going to be used in different ways and the landscape will change. This is the just the beginning of a different way of retailing as consumer tastes change and online and multi channel retailers and brand marketers see an opportunity for further reach to their markets. I think it may be here to stay for some time yet!