The rise of pop-up stores (2023)

Pop-up stores offer a whirlwind of excitement for any business owner. From choosing the perfect location, decorating and branding the space, building buzz on social media, and finally opening the doors, these experiences are a unique way to connect with new customers and show them what you've got.

The biggest advantage for customers is exclusivity.1Opening a pop-up store allows you to offer unique products and experiences that will make your customer base feel included in something special. However, 49% of emerging customers are there for curiosity and entertainment.1So it's up to you as a pop-up owner to deliver an unforgettable experience that makes you money and keeps your customers happy.

Pop-up stores are nothing new. It is common for seasonal Halloween decoration and costume stores to appear in empty stores during September and October. However, the trend towards temporary display cases has increased in recent years. For example, extra thousand2Halloween stores opened in 2019 compared to 10 years ago.

And during COVID-19 social distancing protocols, pop-up stores have allowed brands to open a small temporary or outdoor storefront where social distancing can be easily enforced.

So what's behind this growing trend? Next, we will look at the growing trend of temporary windows, a bubble that is unlikely to burst.

What is a popup store?

As the name suggests, a pop-up store is a temporary stationary space where brands can connect face-to-face with customers or a store that "pops" for a short period of time. Typically, brands that don't have a physical store choose to host a pop-up store to give their customers the opportunity to interact with them in person. But even brands that already have a brick-and-mortar store sometimes use pop-up stores to promote a new offering or to engage with customers in a short, informal way.

Why Host a Pop Up Store?

Hosting a popup experience has many benefits. In the age of COVID, outdoor popups have helped brands that cannot afford a physical indoor space stay connected with their customer base. But even before social distancing began, these stores were already helping brands connect, advertise and get their name out there.

(Video) Pop-Up Store Phenomenon

Some advantages of pop-up stores:

  • Create connections with your existing customers
  • Promote a new product or offer
  • Introduce your business to new potential customers
  • Enable customers to physically shop at a traditional online store
  • Engage consumers through social media or news articles.
  • Test the waters before opening a physical store
  • Feature seasonal products and deals to grab attention.
  • Provide a smaller, socially distant retail experience

The rise of pop-up stores (1)

What makes a successful pop-up store?

A good pop-up store will attract customers to your brand and help with name recognition. Pop-ups not only increase sales, but also provide an opportunity to build connections and establish yourself as a member of a community.

So how can you be sure all your boxes are ticked with your popup? It all starts with a good brand and a clear goal.


When you open your doors, you want customers to be there. Marketing is essential to promote your brand and attract customers to your store. In most cases, audiences for pop-up stores are generated through social media and word of mouth. A few months or weeks before the event, you should start posting thumbnails with fun, eye-catching photos and maybe even a hashtag unique to the event.

Unless you're a big brand, chances are you won't attract the audience you want without advertising. You can still make your event surprising and exciting by revealing your store location and opening hours without revealing all the details of the social media experience first.

Marketing for your pop-up can benefit from a combination of virtual and physical techniques. Some ways to market your popup:

  • Paid advertising on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook
  • A Facebook event
  • a billboard
  • signs at a bus stop
  • Flyers in the public area
  • Create a hashtag to use on social media
  • Place advertisements in local newspapers and magazines.
  • Access your email list

These ideas blend the virtual with the physical, allowing for maximum exposure.

client connections

Ultimately, a pop-up store can be more than just an opportunity to earn some extra cash. Creating a physical space where customers can experience your product or service and gain insight into the business can help build lasting relationships, leading to increased brand and business awareness.

(Video) 3 Reasons Why Pop-Up Shops Work

Connect with customers through your pop-up window, ensuring each visitor receives personalized attention from the team. You can also give them the option to sign up for a mailing list or follow your social media accounts while at the company to build a lasting bond.

An accessible location and hours of operation

Finding the right location is crucial. Familiarizing yourself with the city you're showing up in will help you determine where it makes the most sense to settle down - you'll want to.Choose a temporary retail locationThis has a good mix of car and pedestrian traffic, as well as ample parking. Starting with a Google search for "[city name] + temporary commercial space" you can start finding viable spaces to set up.

Some placement options for a pop-up window:

  • An existing empty showcase
  • A gallery or event space.
  • A special pop-up area
  • An outdoor mall or park
  • An existing business where you can establish yourself
  • Uma van móvel ou caminhão

From there, you need to make sure your work schedule makes sense for your market. If you're trying to attract business people, if you're only open Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm, chances are you won't convert. Be available for several hours depending on the deal you want to get.

A unique experience

While your main goal is to make money and build your customer base, the people who visit your pop-up store are there for the experience. You want to offer your guests something interesting, attractive and fun. This will help keep people in your business, but it will also build excitement.

You can add an interactive experience, live music or a photo booth with fun props to help people have fun and tell their friends. Whichever path you choose, make sure your options for entertainment and intrigue are unique and easy to understand.

A strong Wi-Fi connection

Since social media will help build hype for your popup, make sure your guests can sign up quickly and easily. This helps them share your event posts, photos, and status updates to engage a wider audience.

Also, your POS system is likely connected to Wi-Fi via a portable or mobile service. A strong Internet connection ensures that you can complete transactions quickly and easily, avoiding headaches and saving your guests time.

The rise of pop-up stores (2)

Photo courtesy of IKEA.

(Video) Pop-ups are popping up all over

Real pop-up store examples and lessons from the best

Big brands have used pop-up stores to promote new products, connect with customers and build excitement. Let's look at some successful examples.


Makeup brand Glossier has opened pop-up stores across the US to give customers a brick-and-mortar location to shop alongside the brand's three brick-and-mortar locations in New York, Los Angeles and London. As Glossier's products are not available in cosmetics chains, most of the brand's sales are made online. These pop-up stores allowed customers to purchase products in a retail space that mimicked the brand's iconic minimalist branding and light pink color scheme.

Lesson learned:Ecommerce stores can use pop-up stores to provide their customers with a physical space to view their products.

IKEA gaming snack bar

As part of its mission to make its stores more accessible and fun for everyone, IKEA uses pop-up stores to offer a smaller, fun shopping experience than its department stores.

One of the store's pop-ups, Play Cafe, focused on the company's food offerings. IKEA served up its famous Swedish meatballs and invited guests to dine and be entertained in its pop-up area. However, the company's kitchen and dining room furniture, appliances and glassware were also on display.

Lesson learned:Align your pop-up shop with an aspect of your business to promote one of your offerings.

barkshop live

People love their pets. At BarkShop Live, Bark &​​Co. - makers of the BarkBox dog toy and subscription treat box - dogs to buy for themselves. BarkShop Live provided an open area where visiting dogs could try out different toys. Then, using a special tracking belt that was synced to the owner's phone, which was attached to each dog's playtime, owners were able to find out which toy their dog liked best.

(Video) Your Step By Step Guide to Launching a Pop-up Shop or Event | The Journey

Through the use of technology and its unique idea, BarkShop Live not only provided a fun place for dogs to play, but also provided owners with personalized information about their furry friends.

Lesson learned:Technology can help improve your popup to make it more interactive and personal.


The Pantone Cafe was a bright and colorful pop-up shop that deviated from the company's typical color-fanatical offering to serve snacks and coffee. The pop-up was housed in a room painted in some of the company's color swatches, and they designed the building and products with the company's stylish branding in mind. Menu items were also given numerical code names of some of the company's colors.

While the coffee shop wasn't directly aligned with the company's product offering, it did create a buzz and drive more traffic to the site. Plus, they offered a colorful, social media-friendly aesthetic that inspired people to take pictures and share them.

Lesson learned:It's okay to deviate from your typical product offering to create something unique and shareable.

penguin books

Running your popup on advertised holidays can help build excitement and establish your business as a thoughtful and influential company. Like more than 50%3of Gen Z shoppers say that knowing a brand is socially aware influences their purchasing decisions. Championing a cause can actually be good for business.

Penguin Books did just that with its International Women's Day pop-up store, which featured women-led authors and panels. The bookseller also donated the money raised from ticket sales to a support center for women.

Lesson learned:Aligning your popup with a holiday or occasion can help create a positive impression.

A pop-up shop is an exciting way for a brand to build their audience and showcase their offerings, but it's also fun! Before diving into any retail experience, be it temporary or permanent, make sure you have thisbusiness insuranceto deal with anything that comes your way. Keep reading for more infographic tips.

(Video) Retailers "Pop-Up" Stores for the Holidays

The rise of pop-up stores (3)


  1. Consumer reasons for buying from pop-up stores
  2. Pop-up-Palooza
  3. NMI publishes data in specific press releases to help marketers acquire Gen Z followers


Why are pop-up stores so successful? ›

Pop-up shops can be a great way to boost your revenue. In fact, they can often bring in 20-30% more revenue than a traditional brick-and-mortar store. Low startup costs. Pop-up shops have low startup costs, which means you can get up and running quickly and without a lot of financial risk.

When did pop-up stores start? ›

History of “pop-up” retail

While the concept of temporary shared retail spaces has been around for centuries (think markets or fairs) the term “pop-up retail” can be traced back to the late 90s. Media entrepreneur Patrick Courrielche ran an event called The Ritual Expo in Los Angeles in 1997.

What is the power of pop-up stores? ›

Pop-ups allow e-commerce businesses to translate their offering easily to a physical store while experimenting with their desired shopping experience. This can be done without having to commit to a long-term design and expense.

Do pop-up stores increase sales? ›

In one survey by Business Insider Intelligence, over half of retailers said that pop-up stores have helped them improve market visibility. 46% saw increased sales. Because a pop-up store is temporary, customers are more likely to go out of their way to visit, and make on-the-spot purchases.

Why people love pop-up shops? ›

Pop-up stores provide fun, interactive and seamless experiences, as well as allow them to build personalised relationships as the basis for future interactions.

Are pop up stores a trend? ›

The pop-up shop is no longer just a retail trend. It has become a staple part of many a retail strategy. From new brands looking to build a name to the already established and even luxury brands, it seems no area of the retail industry is untouched by the pop-up.

Who started pop-up shops? ›

The concept of pop-up stores also known as the guerrilla store was popularized by Japanese fashion label Comme des Garçons. Its founder, Rei Kawakubo, opened the label's first pop-up store in Berlin in 2004.

Who made the first pop-up? ›

This interview features Ethan Zuckerman, an early staff member at widely credited with inventing the pop-up ad. Zuckerman is now a professor of media at MIT.

Who started Popshelf? ›

Dollar General is launching a new concept, dubbed “Popshelf,” focused on seasonal, home decor and beauty products, as well as cleaning supplies and party goods.

How do pop-up shops attract customers? ›

Pop-Up Shop Ideas to Attract Customers to Your Brand
  1. Use an eye-catching design.
  2. Hold a one-time event.
  3. Create an immersive experience.
  4. Offer complementary services.
  5. Leverage social media.
  6. Work with influencers.
  7. Give a glimpse into exclusive products.
  8. Hand out samples.

What are two reasons to allow pop-ups? ›

Here are some of the things that pop-ups can do for your business:
  • Capture data for first-time visitors and grow email database.
  • Initiate customers' purchase journey.
  • Increase instant sales.
  • Increase checkout conversion rate.
  • Upsell and cross-sell the products.
  • Improve customers loyalty.

Why are pop-up shops good for marketing? ›

Creating urgency - customers are often more willing to buy immediately if they feel the shop or the item will only be there for a short period. Adding a revenue stream - as an addition to your online business. Lower risk - if things don't work out, you're not locked into a long-term lease.

Do Millennials like pop-up shops? ›

Not only do Millennials enjoy shopping, but they also gravitate towards experiences. Pop-ups are the perfect blend, providing much more than a simple transactional shopping encounter. Continue reading this blog post to see how pop-ups are changing the shopping experience for both retailers and consumers.

How do pop up stores make money? ›

A pop-up shop, also referred to as flash retailing, is a trend where a brand randomly opens up a sales space for a short amount of time before closing it down. The idea of this tactic is to generate interest, create a sense of urgency, and get people to come pay your business a visit for a fun, limited time event.

How long should a pop-up shop last? ›

Pop-up store leases typically last anywhere from one day to six months, offering a low-risk option for retailers to reach new consumers. Pop-up stores can be used for testing the waters in new markets, sampling new products or taking advantage of a short-term marketing opportunity like a holiday or special event.

Are pop-ups getting worse? ›

A Tidal Wave of Popups

While these interruptive designs have been around for decades, they're worse today than ever before. This is because modern web users are constantly barraged by different types of overlays coming from multiple sources, some important, some less so — but all blocking their view.

What was the first pop-up shop? ›

The Ritual Expo was one of the first iterations of the modern pop-up retail store.

When were pop-ups banned? ›

But most of us will associate pop-ups meeting their demise from 1999 onward. The reality is, safety regulations somewhat killed off the Pop-up headlight.

What is another word for pop-up store? ›

The practice of using pop-up shops is sometimes called "flash retailing."

What is the history and background of pop-up retail? ›

Temporary pop-up retail establishments find their origins in the Vienna December market in 1298 and in the European Christmas markets that followed. Seasonal farmer's markets, holiday fireworks stands, Halloween costume shops, consumer expos, and event-specific concessions are other examples of pop-up retailing.

Why do pop-up ads still exist? ›

If you're seeing the pop-up ads on every website you visit, or if your browser's homepage has been changed unexpectedly, it's possible your browser has been infected by a type of malware known as adware. Adware injects ads into web pages in such a way that they can't be blocked.

Who invented pop-up ads and why? ›

Ethan Zuckerman claims he used that capability to launch advertisements in separate windows as a response to complaints from advertisers about their ads appearing on pages with sexual content. Zuckerman later apologized for the unforeseen nuisance pop-up ads had evolved into.

Are pop-up shops good for business? ›

Pop-up shops are a great way to get your products in front of new customers. They're a low-investment business strategy to engage your customers, boost brand awareness, and get valuable feedback.

How do you succeed with a pop-up shop? ›

8 tips for making your pop-up shop a success
  1. Arrive early on the first day. ...
  2. Make your stock stand out. ...
  3. Separate your samples from your stock. ...
  4. Select your pop-up products carefully. ...
  5. Get paid with cash and portable POS terminals. ...
  6. Practice COVID-safe measures. ...
  7. Make checkout time memorable. ...
  8. Stay in touch with your leads.
Jun 14, 2021

How do you stand out in a pop-up market? ›

Draw even more attention to your pop-up by hosting games where you can give out discount vouchers to encourage new customers. Easily design your own coupons with the help of Canva. Custom stickers and stylish tote bags also do a dual job of satisfying the winners and spreading awareness of your brand.

How do pop-up shop hosts make money? ›

Hosting a Pop-up Shop? Here's your Checklist for Success
  1. Know your goals. Marketers should have a clear idea of what they want their pop-up shop to accomplish. ...
  2. Consider timing. ...
  3. Partner creatively. ...
  4. Put your brand in bold. ...
  5. Wow, but don't overwhelm. ...
  6. Remember the little things. ...
  7. Go digital. ...
  8. Measure for success.

Do you need a Licence for a pop-up shop? ›

Depending on your location and the length of your pop-up shop, you may need a licence rather than a short-term lease. A licence gives you the legal authority to use the landlord's asset. In some cases, without a licence, using the property is illegal.

How much should you charge for a pop-up shop? ›

Pop-Ups Nearly all events require a fee from the vendors.

They can range anywhere from $85 to $200 an hour or more. Consumers love pop-up shops because of their limited time of being available. They must buy now or lose out. The average cost of a pop up shop is reasonable when you compare it to your returns.


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