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To pop up or not?

kit kat“We can’t change anything until we get some fresh ideas, until we begin to see things differently.” – James Hillman

Recently we’ve been exploring pop up stores as a ‘fit’ retail concept with several of our clients.

They are a great way to trial concepts, products, or markets, as well as bring added buzz and excitement to your retail offer.

The Kit Kat Studio, currently playing in Westfield Sydney, is an example of truly ‘fit’ retailing in this sector, and also of brands going retail.

A unique concept, buzz and scarcity factor make it a winning formula for demand, and with the concept of social sharing built into the model, the Kit Kat pop up is a great example of best practice in this sector.

According to one member of staff, the concept has been a massive success so far, with a queue of customers ready and waiting before the kiosk has even opened – every retailer’s ambition.

Sounds perfect, but is it for every retailer? Where might a pop up not work?

Simply when it’s the same old, same old saying the same thing in a portable shop – a pop up is as much about a brand and marketing message as it is a retail offer.

The Kit Kat Studio pop up store opened this week and follows a similar ‘create your own’ model

So where does it make sense to pop up?

Here are nine ‘business fitness’ reasons why and when it can really work:

1. The importance of an omni-channel retail strategy in today’s retail environment – being easily accessible to you consumer on all platforms.

2. Changing the adage of brining customers to your retail brand to bringing the retail brand to your customers.

3.High-impact retail creates impact, urgency, fun and tests brand and product concepts at the same time.

4. Pop up shops enhance brand awareness and allow you to reach/test new locations and new demographics without the tenure of a larger rental in some situations.

5. Property owners wish to reduce vacancy rates and increase property value therefore they welcome the concept of pop up stores! By adding a pop up to a vacant space, the retail area may flourish, in turn increasing property value also adding to the business community.

6. They are great for enhancing the community. Cities like New York City and San Francisco are revitalising their areas with new brands and products. This brings new customers and revenue to the community.

7. Big box retailers are hosting pop up shops. Pop up’s are not just for the independent small retailers, big brands are venturing into this space because it’s an exciting opportunity for innovation. Pop up shops offer big brands such as BMW, Adidas and Uniqlo new market and product testing possibilities and a unique experience for their customer.

8. Sell limited time inventory. Didn’t sell all of last season’s range? Starting a pop up shop can help promote ‘limited time’ products! Or perhaps try new pricing strategies?

9. Try a new business idea. Meet with potential investors, create buzz in media and within the consumer market to launch your brand. Physically try an idea and see what people think!

Develop a more engaging retail experience. Pop ups are a unique way to reach out to consumers and give them a very different view of your brand. Many, such as the Kit Kat pop up in Sydney CBD this week, play on the concept of co-creation, turning consumers into prosumers. Incorporating them into the production process adds value to the product and provides consumers with a sense of ownership.

Brian Walker is Founder and CEO of Retail Doctor Group and can be contacted on (02) 9460 2882 or for a complimentary Business Fitness diagnosis.

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