Temporary stores have been around for a while now, but are they the force that they once were?
We all love a pop-up, apparently. We must do because in spite of having been around for more than a decade, what looked like a temporary phenomenon is still with us and stronger than ever.
Yet, talking to a brand owner last week, the opinion was proffered that four months had been spent creating a new pop-up that is currently in Chelsea and nothing would come of it.
This could, of course, be a supreme example of short-termism. The marketing pundits would probably comment that pop-ups are “not about sales”, or some such, but they are concerned instead with “brand awareness”.
“Life, in this respect, used to be pretty straightforward. An empty unit was offered at a peppercorn rent and the temporary tenant took up retail residence”
On this reading, the full benefits of a pop-up store will only become clear over a period considerably longer than the lifetime of a temporary shop.
Maybe so, but what about efficacy? Again, the ad-men step into the breach and may be inclined to wonder about how things might have been if the pop-up promotion had not been executed.
Defining the pop-up
The other point to be pondered is when is a pop-up a pop-up?
Life, in this respect, used to be pretty straightforward. An empty unit was offered at a peppercorn rent and the temporary tenant took up retail residence.
Now, pop-ups can be found in department stores, fashion stores and even, from time to time, in large supermarkets.
They tick all the boxes as far as being a pop-up is concerned, except that they are not standalone and as such there is a temptation to call them an in-store promotion.
Marmite is worth considering. It had a pop-up on Regent Street a few years back and it was very good indeed and garnered a huge amount of press coverage.
“Pop-ups are everywhere and in these straitened times many of them do look a little like paper over some fundamental cracks”
The following year it reappeared, but this time in the basement of Selfridges on Oxford Street.
Once more it was well executed, but whether it was seen by the same number of people as before (it was at the back of the floor) and whether it had become an in-store yeast extract promotion, is a moot point.
Today, pop-ups are everywhere and in these straitened times, many of them do look a little like paper over some fundamental cracks.
The question, therefore, is are they are the force that they once were and is it time for the marketing folk to call time on the pop-up?
To judge by the number of press releases detailing the latest pop-up that arrive in the office on a weekly basis, the answer may well be yes. This is a bandwagon that passed by some time back.