There’s no better way to do market research than by putting yourself and your product out there on the street. If you sell like crazy, you can safely assume that people want what you have to offer. That’s how simple it should be, especially in these times of ‘lean business models’ as the necessary approach to starting up a business.
Popup stores in city centres, shopping centres and in up-and-coming neighbourhoods are incubators, allowing companies to test locations, products and marketing campaigns, before going ahead on a final idea, and incurring full expenditure. Popups present an opportunity to ‘fail fast, and succeed faster’.
As an approach to retail, popups are not only beneficial to small and medium businesses. Big retail brands see these as an effective way to create unique brand experiences, market new product ranges, or simply, to offload end of season stock with popup clearance sales (in this way, the marked down merchandise is not detracting from new season lines). Online retailers choose to popup to strike a delicate balance between their online presence and tangible engagement with their product and service offerings. Popups don’t require full shopfitting, unlike long term brick and mortar retail, so the whole exercise is significantly cheaper and quicker to implement.
Having found their position in the international market, with big name brands such as Amazon and Google popping up, this phenomenon is finally making its way into the South African market with the arrival of local specialist service provider, PopUp Shop Shop – a one stop popup shop–shop offering quick access to all one needs to pop up.
PopUp Shop Shop connects its clients to properties in shopping centres, ‘high street’ locations and other interesting spaces (like galleries and roof tops), for short term rentals. The company has established relationships with property owners and managers and has been working to streamline the commercial property rental market, especially when it comes to simplifying general leasing terms. Their service has been welcomed by the sector, as PopUp Shop Shop has proven to be able to fill vacancies for short periods in between long term leases.
In addition to its property portfolio, the company and its design partners have developed a range of light-weight modular shop-fitting and display solution – perfect for popups. The furniture, which is available for rental or purchase, is made using as little material as possible, reducing the actual manufacturing costs and making the products easy to transport. Other services have been added to the bouquet on offer, including store build up and break down and staffing.
Although the popup stores do take investment and planning, they don’t require the long term buy-in that establishing a traditional store does. The costs are also significantly cheaper than normal marketing channels, such as trade shows, for example. Popups make such good business sense for startups and big brands, they’re set to move beyond a trend to a ubiquitous innovation in South Africa’s retail environment.