September 30, 2019

Retail got you down? Try a pop-up!

Pop-up stores are rising in popularity...

Futurilla / Flickr

Pop-up shops used to be the domain of small brands testing the waters before plunging to brick-and-mortar — as well as Halloween stores pushing packaged costumes and blaring ghoulish laughs on loop.

Now, well-known retailers like Amazon, Target, Costco, and Nordstrom are in the game, and a new biz model is cropping up around temp spaces.

Pop-ups are gaining pop-ularity

Pop-ups are attractive because they’re low risk and high reward. Brands can try a location and decide whether to plant roots or move on depending on how they fare. Committing to a 2-month lease is less risky than locking in for 2 years.

Pop-ups also work well as incubators for new product concepts and capitalize on millennials’ thirst for experiences — and penchant for experiences on Instagram.

They also seem to bring in serious coin. Lovesac, a couch company that will host pop-ups in Costco this fall, says its pop-up biz brings in 10% of annual sales.

More vacant retail spaces make the pop-up biz viable

In the past, landing a short-term commercial lease was tough. Now, with retail vacancies on the rise, temp leases don’t look so bad to landlords.

Several “Airbnbs of” temp retail spaces now exist including Storefront, PopUp Shops, and Appear Here — proof of pop-up-ularity. Storefront currently lists over 10k spaces, largely in big cities, and the site’s CEO says bookings and revenue have grown by triple digits each of the past 3 years.

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