Evolving Pop-Ups, Reviving Business, & Virtual Reality

It’s no shocker that retail is undergoing a lot of change. Initially a trend, pop-up shops emerged nearly a decade ago and are now here to stay. Essentially, they are the Airbnbs of retail. There is a positive response to pop-ups from a customer’s point of view, and now there are pop-ups everywhere—whether it’s a traveling beer garden, Halloween store, or mattress shop. Pop-ups are great for new brands who want exposure in a brick-and-mortar setting, as well as older and established brands to recapture the market!

Landlords Getting Behind Pop-Ups

Because many retailers have gone out of business the last few years, it’d be silly for landlords to deny pop-up tenants. Mall landlords content with the idea of short-term leases because pop ups have increased foot traffic. It’s good to have a variety of retailers, even if they are temporary, because it allows the mall and neighborhood to stay vivacious, while customers become curious. It’s better to have a temporary tenant than none at all. Vacant spaces are desirable and perfect for pop ups, especially during the holiday season. Often times rent is lower than the market rate, so it’s not difficult to bring in tenants. Pop ups can secure rents for $25,000 a month sometimes.

The Simon Property Group is giving pop-up retailers an opportunity to set up shops in malls on a quarterly basis. This is mutually beneficial; this way, pop-up retailers can see the potential growth of their businesses, and landlords will be happy to have tenants. Simon has teamed up with Appear Here, a marketplace for pop-up retail space, to create this community of pop-up shops.

Large Retailers Try to Revive Business

Something new we’ve seen emerging is established firms trying to revitalize their businesses. For instance, Tiffany & Co. is launching pop-up stores in Manhattan during the holiday season. Recently, sales declined so Tiffany’s is hoping to attract people from all over the world, and NYC is the perfect spot for that. Cartier has also done the same earlier this year. Neiman Marcus has also struggled in the last few quarters, so it launched a 24-hour pop-up station earlier in the Fall. This is interesting because pop-ups are typically great for start-ups or online retailers, but we’re seeing that household names can benefit from this too.

Blending VR Into a Unique Customer Experience

Like I mentioned, Neiman Marcus launched a pop-up in Soho a couple months ago to cater to customers on a 24-hour basis. This is amazing because customers can shop when it’s convenient for them, and they do not have to deal with waiting in long lines! The store also featured touch-screen mirrors for clients to request different sizes. Customers can also purchase while they are still in the fitting rooms. Incorporating virtual reality into brick-and-mortar stores completely reshapes the customer experience—no lines? Hassle-free? Sign me up. The technology is efficient for both employees and customers, and customers will remember how easy it was to shop. It’s also a great way to engage customers and bring them into the store rather than shop online.

We know that the shift in retail to e-commerce and new technologies has been intense. Many retailers have struggled to revitalize their businesses, but taking advantage of new technologies like virtual reality or launching pop-ups might be great solutions since it looks like they are here to stay.