Reimagining Pop-Up Shops Post-Covid

With many businesses creating plans for returning to normality, considering what opportunities and challenges lay around the corner will help you create a competitive edge. Read our latest article to find out what pop-up shops might look like post covid.

With many businesses creating plans for returning to normality, considering what opportunities and challenges lay around the corner will help you create a competitive edge. Read our latest article to find out what pop-up shops might look like post covid.
Shopping with a mask - the new normal? Image credits: unsplash.com/@Arturo Rey

With so much going on in the world, it can be tricky to think about what anything will look like in the next few years. But with covid vaccines being rolled out and plans for a return to normality being closely followed, smart businesses are considering what opportunities could be just around the corner.

By considering what developments might take place post-covid, you can position your business to act quickly and gain a competitive edge.

In this article, we explore the challenges, opportunities and new ways that things may look in the pop-up shop space.

It isn’t Over Yet

Let’s start by being realistic, it is unlikely to be ‘masks off’ straight away.

The current plans to return to normality rely on ambitious targets on vaccine role outs being met. They also depend on the vaccine working to the extent that is expected and that any future variants of the virus are not immune to the vaccine’s effects.

There is also a minority of people who will not be able to have the vaccine such as those with specific health issues and those who are pregnant, meaning that the risk to everyone is unlikely to be eradicated for some time.

However, current trends show that the vaccine is having a huge impact on the spread of the virus and that some form of normality is likely to return within the next 12 months. Therefore, we are probably going to see a period where measures such as social distancing, wearing masks and consistently cleaning our hands remain to ensure the stop of the spread.

How long this transition period will last is difficult to assess. But it is likely to have a continued impact on retail and pop-up shops, such as the limitation of numbers in a given space.

This could offer an opportunity for those running pop-up shops to spend more time with each customer and deliver a more personalized, luxurious experience.

Appeal to the Senses

With shoppers being intermittently locked away in their own homes throughout the last 12 months, as we begin to see the tide turn on the spread of covid, we are also likely to see shoppers returning to retail spaces and pop-ups looking for the atmosphere they haven’t been able to experience for some time.

Shoppers generally browse shops for one of two reasons:

  1. For pleasure
  2. They want to gather more information on a product, which they typically can’t get a feel for online, such as size and quality

Focusing future pop-up shops on targeting the senses of customers is a great way to tap into the sensory experience that they have been craving whilst being locked away in their homes. This could span from something as simple as using luxurious diffusers to offering hands-on, interactive activities within the shop.

Experiences are Key

There is no denying that eCommerce has taken a huge bite out of the retail space.

Throughout the pandemic, online shopping has gone from strength to strength with many consumers increasingly seeing the benefit of online shopping for convenience. But this doesn’t mean that physical retail is dead - far from it.

Physical retail needs to move away from serving a purely practical purpose (offering products) to providing customers with the types of experiences that they cannot find online. Pop-ups offer businesses the perfect way to do this, providing brands with a platform to generate a buzz and offer a new way to interact with a brand that may already be well established.

Pop-ups can also help you reach your audience in a location that is already at the centre of their attention, allowing you to deliver an experience that you may not be able to achieve in a permanent store.

Creative Marketing Tools

Creativity is likely to play a huge role in the new market, offering physical retail and pop-up shops an opportunity to both survive and thrive.

Being creative about your pop-up will help generate intrigue, curiosity and word of mouth, all of which combined make for a powerful tool for bringing people through the door. This kind of attention grab will be more important than ever as physical stores seek to find ways to pull potentially nervous consumers back in.

When using pop-up shops to drive footfall post-covid, the challenge is to create an experience that is both desirable and unachievable in a digital space. As a brand, you may achieve this by selling exclusive products that cannot be purchased elsewhere or selling luxurious products at a price that cannot be found online.

In many ways, pop-up shops can be considered as the most powerful form of retail media, offering a highly engaging way to grab attention and promote specific initiatives. However, this is only the case when you are creative in your approach.

Create personalized Customer Experience

As markets change, consumers are becoming increasingly demanding of excellent levels of customer service, resulting in a need for highly personalized experiences. This is another area where the benefits of pop-up shops can outweigh online as a method of engagement and promotion.

The human element of pop-up shops can help create a fully personalized experience, which is practically impossible to match online. Technology may make shopping more economical and convenient, but there is no substitute for personal service and a sensual shopping experience.

One great example of a unique shopping experience is the Bikinihaus in Berlin - Germany’s first concept shopping mall. The mall's shopping offer changes regularly, with new shops popping up all the time to attract customers and respond to their desires. Every month there are new spaces for brands and trends in fashion and cosmetics. Well-known brands, young artists, fashion designers rent modular pop-up boxes to launch a new product or to present their collection.

Market Post Covid Evolution

Covid has massively disrupted global markets. As a result, we have seen the way consumers buy change drastically in the last 12 months.

However, except for the continuation of short-term regulations, it is unlikely that Covid will create a massive shift in the application of pop-up shops. Instead, it has acted as a catalyst, rapidly speeding up and confirming trends that we were likely to see in the coming years such as increased importance of experiences and personalization.

Pop-up shops offer the possibility to meet today's and also future market requirements.

Written by POP UP SHOPS - May 13, 2021
Related article: Retail Trends for 2021

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