“Although specific goals may vary, the overarching purpose of a pop-up shop is to provide a unique, memorable experience for the customer. The rising popularity of pop-up shops shows a greater desire for a differentiated experience and rising competition among retailers to get noticed.” Dax Dasilva, Founder and CEO of LightSpeed (Bizbash.com, July 9, 2014)

“Part of the initial appeal is that element of surprise. It’s morphed into something that is perhaps not as expected. You have to try a little harder to do something unusual.” Matthew Glass, Senior Vice President at Allied Experiential (Bizbash.com, July 9, 2014)


Description

Recent years have been marked by the rise of ephemeral spaces, products, services and experiences. People’s lives are punctuated by choices and commitments that are not necessarily rooted in time. This phenomenon is affecting our perception of time, social relationships, and the way we consume. The short-lived effect implies a strong emotional aspect – like a romantic encounter, it is about living unique moments that are rapidly getting away. And since 50% of our purchases are driven by our emotions, this is an especially powerful association. Limited-editions and short-lived products or places bring a feeling of rarity, trigger curiosity and create desire among shoppers who don’t want to miss the right moment to get what they want. What’s more, shoppers are hungry for new experiences and interactions; they are particularly craving unexpected and unusual products or places. When there is excitement, people rapidly start conversations, not only in person, but also in the digital sphere, which generates more buzz for brands.

Limited-editions, short-lived products or places bring a feeling of rarity, trigger curiosity and create desire among shoppers who don’t want to miss the right moment to get what they desire.

With a future clouded by terrorist threats, health or environmental disasters and more recently the economic crisis, people have become unable to imagine the future, leading them to focus on and over-invest in the present. On top of this, the tech revolution has dramatically changed our relationship to time. The culture of immediacy forces individuals to immediately react or respond to the constant flow of work and private events, thanks to the democratization of email, smartphones, instant messaging and other “live” discussion spaces.

Short lives & obsolescence

Both information and products get outdated faster and faster, with product life cycles that get shorter, collections that are renewed more rapidly and information updates that get faster. On Twitter, several thousands of messages are falling per minute while on Facebook, personal statuses are also constantly updated. The popularity of networking activities fosters a relationship to time that is increasingly fragmented; there is evidence of an increase in short-lived social relations. Snapchat, a self-destructing messaging service launched in 2011, embodies the very essence of the ephemeral. Snapchat users, particularly teenagers and college kids, now share over 150 million pictures every single day, more than four times Instagram’s daily share.

A study conducted by Google and digital marketing consultancy Compete says that 35% of cellphone purchases are driven by consumers’ desire to have the “latest and greatest device.”

Moreover, products’ life cycles are getting tighter as manufacturers produce products that get obsolete in an instant – see Apple or Samsung products that need to be replaced each year for those who want to have the latest features. A study conducted by Google and digital marketing consultancy Compete says that 35% of cellphone purchases are driven by consumers’ desire to have the “latest and greatest device.” In the fashion industry, collections are renewed frequently – at a pace that gets faster and faster – and short term partnerships with renowned designers have become commonplace. Capsule collections, consisting of a limited supply of desired products born from collaborations between celebrities & stores or designers & fashion houses, have gained huge popularity among fashionistas. They crave these ephemeral collections, which they see as a smart way to access their highly desired clothes at the store next door at pocket-friendly prices. More generally speaking, brands are multiplying limited-edition product lines, whose availability deadline is announced the day they are launched.

Pop-up spaces

The pop-up craze has emerged with retail stores and extended to dining restaurants and even offices. In the retail sphere, pop-up stores have evolved into effective outlets for brands and retailers of all sizes and categories to generate excitement, drive awareness and even expand their businesses.

The short-term retail market has exploded over the past few years, and it continues to thrive as an $8 billion industry that’s grown 16% annually since 2009, according to a recent Specialty Retail report.

Also, Millennials are seeking more urban, boutique-style shopping experiences, leading brands to use fewer and smaller stores to reach younger consumers at well-placed, well-curated temporary stores. The short-term concept is not just for small businesses anymore: giants Nordstrom, Google and Amazon as well as department stores are also getting in on the phenomenon. The short-term retail market has exploded over the past few years, and it continues to thrive as an $8 billion industry that’s grown 16% annually since 2009, according to a recent Specialty Retail report. People enjoy a more fun and creative spin on the traditional brick-and-mortar model: the informal, spontaneous setting, the inventory displayed in a fresh way, the feeling that it just popped up and could go away. They get even more excited by large-scale experiences outside of existing venues like hotels and bars, especially when they live for longer than a night. In the restaurant industry, social media like Facebook and Twitter have propelled the phenomenon of supper clubs. Other for-pay dinner parties operate fro “underground” places, sometimes hosted by foodies or by chefs themselves and the ephemeral thrills of the pop-up restaurant involve a guest chef preparing inventive dishes in a host restaurant with virtually no menu limits. In addition, the “truck mania” has addressed food first and then fashion, beauty and more. Food trucks have been hailed as useful for younger chefs, allowing them to utilize underused kitchen facilities and experiment without the risk of bankruptcy. Food trucks also cater at events and places of regular work or study where regular meals or snacks are in high demand by potential customers.

Featured examples

BoxPark

Credit: Boxpark.co.uk

Credit: Boxpark.co.uk

In London, Transport For London has teamed up with Appear Here, “the UK online marketplace for short-term retail space and so-called pop-ups”, to open up unused underground station spaces to retailers keen to launch pop-up shops. Appear Here will be curating the seasonally themed spaces at different sites across London Underground’s network, changing the theme around every 12 weeks. With a similar strategy to London’s BoxPark pop-up mall, participating brands will be given a white box-shaped space to work with. Old Street, Piccadilly Circus and Baker Street are among the first stations earmarked in the programme, with spaces being advertised to retailers from the end of April 2014.
United-Kingdom United Kingdom, March 2014

Pop-up Office by Hotel 1000

Credit: Hotel1000seattle.com

Credit: Hotel1000seattle.com

It is now possible to rent pop up offices in a hotel. In Seattle, Hotel 1000 provides a unique and productive work environment when you really need some inspiration. Pop-up Office is open Monday through Friday, from 8am to 5pm, offering three different packages: from $15 per day, these ephemeral offices include a comfortable, all-day workspace, complimentary, truly high-speed Wi-Fi Internet, bottomless coffee, tea, water and soda, as wells as a morning, mid-morning and afternoon snack. With extra charge, workers can get valet parking and access to the hotel’s restaurant and bar.
United States of America United States, July 2013

Mary-Poppins pop-up dining experience

Credit: Hothotmag.com

Credit: Hothotmag.com

London-based HOTHOT magazine held a Mary Poppins pop-up dining experience over only nine nights, in a secret location situated in the neighbourhood of Dalston. For a cost of £75, hosts got a four-course dinner with drinks, and lots of strange entertainment… The invite said: “Dining with the Banks family, you can expect a fantastical feast of delectable cuisine, fanciful theatre and an abundance of creativity.” This happy-few-reserved pop-up dinner only occurred on 29th – 31st August, 5th – 7th and 12th – 14th September 2014.
United-Kingdom United Kingdom, August 2014

 

H&M capsule collection

eddy-anemian-h&m

Credit: Designaward.hm.com

Global fashion brand H&M just revealed the capsule collection of young student Eddy Anemian. Coming from Brussels’ prestigious visual art school La Cambre, the 24-year-old from Saint Chamond in France won the most coveted H&M Design Award. For the occasion, he presented his 4th year collection, which he based on fluid floral designs and modern silhouettes inspired by Tilda Swinton’s wealthy Russian matriarch character in I Am Love and the painter Ingres. The collection was distributed in select stores and online on October 23rd, with prices starting at $29.95.
Sweden Sweden, October 2014

 

Johnnie Walker’s Blue label for the Chinese New Year

 

Capture d’écran 2015-02-19 à 13.33.12

Whisky brand Johnnie Walker of Diageo released the second annual collector’s edition of Blue Label to commemorate the thousands-year-old celebration of the Lunar New YearThis special edition displays traditional Chinese ceramic artistry while every detail takes into account the iconic bottle design. When four bottles with their signature Johnnie Walker slanted labels are placed side by side, a single image unfolds— like a Chinese scroll painting.
United-KingdomUnited Kingdom, December 2014

Business & Marketing guidelines

1

Use the temporary concept as a strategy for enhancing brand awareness and notoriety; it help engage customers more and generate buzz.

2

Optimize the ephemeral concept for other occasions such as a big launch party, cocktails for V.I.P. customers, a reception for partners, a lunch for media, public hours for consumers, additional parties hosted by collaborators or like-minded brands.

3

Don’t think only about generating more sales but use the ephemeral strategy to build stronger brand loyalty. It is a chance to hand out an exclusive discount or gift card to spend at the larger store or online, giving consumers a reason to return after the pop-up or the limited edition ends.

4

If you are on a limited budget, pop up shops cost less money to open and manage than regular brick-and-mortar stores.

5

Use it to easily test new markets or educate consumers about your brand or a new product line; demonstrating new products enables a business to learn more about their customers by collecting their feedback and suggestions before fully going to market.

6

Create a strategy that resonates with consumers: determine overall goals for the pop-up, finalize a location and time of year to coincide with big events or holiday season, hire and train employees, generate buzz before, during and after the pop-up and be sure to implement the right technology.

Summary

  • The rise of ephemeral spaces, products, services and experiences implies a short-lived effect that is about uncertainty, the unknown and unique moments, that carry a strong emotional impact. Limited-time products and spaces bring a feeling of rarity, trigger curiosity and create desire among shoppers who don’t want to miss the right moment to get what they want.
  • Both information and products get outdated faster and faster, with product life cycles that get shorter, collections that are renewed more rapidly and information updates that are more frequent.
  • According to a study conducted by Google and digital marketing consultancy Compete, 35% of cellphone purchases are driven by consumers’ desire to have the “latest and greatest device.”
  • The pop-up craze has emerged with retail stores and has extended to dining restaurants and even offices.
  • The short-term retail market has exploded over the past few years, and it continues to thrive as an $8 billion industry that’s grown 16% annually since 2009, according to a recent Specialty Retail report.

Experts that we recommend

hartmut-rosa Hartmut Rosa
German sociologist and philosopher & author of book  Accélération. Une critique sociale du temps (La Découverte, 2010)
jim-gibbons Jim Gibbons
President and CEO of Goodwill Industries International, a network of independent, community-based agencies & lifestyle contributor for The Huffington Post
roger-wade Roger Wade
Founder and CEO of London-based pop-up shopping mall Boxpark Shoreditch