POP-UP SHOPS – REINVENTING THE GAME!
Chitra Balasubramaniam profiles the pop-up shop phenomenon.
Online shopping is comfortable but consumers miss the shopping spirit; brick-and-mortar stores are convenient but need heavy investments and accessing them is not easy. A convenient, middle path which seems to be emerging as the third alternative is the use of pop-ups or temporary shops to sell merchandise. This concept is increasingly becoming popular in the West and it is common to see them across major shopping destinations.
This new trend might have been there for a long time, but it is recently coming into vogue and is being viewed seriously by marketers, including online sites. Investopedia, the tome for all business-related terms, defines pop-up retail
POP-UP STORES HAVE BECOME MORE PREVALENT IN RECENT YEARS AND CONTINUE TO GROW IN POPULARITY.
as ‘a retail store that is opened temporarily to take advantage of a trend or a seasonal product’. It further clarifies that the demand for products sold in pop-up retail is typically short-lived. In India, most of these stores are found in the apparel, jewellery and home décor industries.
The website www.bigcommerce.com describes pop-ups as, “Pop-up stores have become more prevalent in recent years and continue to grow in popularity. These short-term retail environments enable customers to experience products firsthand. E-commerce merchants often use pop-up shops to reach new customers and test out a physical retail environment.”
Typically, for a short duration, the pop-up manages to bring many niche players under one roof. The marketing of the event is done by the organisers, thus ensuring footfalls and visitor numbers. It is more popular in the festive season and is emerging as another lucrative way to sell products.
The website www.bigcommerce.com further adds, “Big cities have more pop-up shops. Los Angeles, New York, London, Stockholm and Berlin, all have a large pop-up retail scene. Brands–large and small–have experimented with temporary retail establishments, including Amazon and Google.”
What is striking about this method of sales is that dot-coms or online sites are also actively jumping onto the bandwagon. In India, www. jaypore.com has increasingly used this mode to sell its ware.
THE POP-UP AND ITS ORGANISERS
In India, the pop-up, in its avant-garde format, has come into the limelight just now. The earlier avatars in India were called ‘exhibitions’, which were traditional stalls put up with the help of the Government or other bodies. They typically lasted a few weeks and there were footfalls. Then of course, there were the ubiquitous Diwali melas,
Pujo utsavs and the like. In Delhi, the Christmas bazaars or melas organised by the various embassies were a big draw. But the recent popups or bazaars which are being held in five-star hotels are a big marketing event in themselves. Carefully curated by the organisers, they bring to the fore lesser known brands and good designers from all over the country.
There are several ways of working with the pop-up model. It can partner with a local gallery or store to host such an event. In India, this has grown in stature with the presence of a number of socialites who revel in organising such
events before the festive season. The season ideally starts before Raksha Bandhan or Teej and continues till Christmas. There are second editions even during the summers. They are held in halls, five-star hotels and banquet halls. Entrepreneur Ramola Bachchan organises a couple of high-profile pop-ups at the Ashoka Hotel, Delhi. The FLO - Delhi Chapter had organised an international bazaar in September. With a presence of select retailers from across the country, it managed to attract plenty of crowd. Kalpavriksh, an NGO, organises its annual Teej Bazaar which is a huge hit with the Marwari crowd, as it draws very heavy footfalls. It also has a host of exhibitors who only participate in their bazaar and prefer to sell in small ways directly.
Serendipity, a haveli-turned-store in the Jaunpur area of Delhi, hosts its two-day event as ‘Autumn Fest’. What adds to the festive spirit is the food and drinks counter with live music in the evening. The two-day affair has its regulars. There are those showcasing garments, jewellery and of course, home décor items. There are several pop-ups which are hosted for charitable causes, and several only for business. Wedding Asia, which showcased lesser known brands for brides, was the first pop-up which organised a large-scale event. It then had multiple versions across different towns. In Delhi, Aga Khan Hall is a popular destination for those wishing to host such events. Given the size of the event, it is possible to have several permutations and combinations. Several five-star hotels have banquet facilities available for such pop-ups. Booths at craft fairs and farmers’ weekly markets are also other options.
The Delhi Crafts Council organises the festival ‘Sarees of India’, in honour of Smt Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay. It showcases the extravaganza of Indian saris and brings together some of the best revivalists and designers who work with the craftsmen of the country.
The entire success of the model hinges on the ability of the organisers to garner footfalls. A combination of direct mailers, word-of-mouth publicity, social media marketing with event highlights, hoardings, boards and of course advertisements in leading newspapers with inserts and flyers add to the success of the event. Also, the name of the organiser, a well-known craftsperson, socialite, fashion designer or royalty and their taste to carefully cull and curate a number of brands selling exquisitely crafted products adds to attracting footfalls. Such is the popularity of pop-ups that Vogue has compiled a list of the must-visit pop-ups.
ADVANTAGES OF THE POP-UP MODEL
What helps sell the pop-up model is the fact that exhibitons are curated rather than being put
THERE ARE SEVERAL POPUPS WHICH ARE HOSTED FOR CHARITABLE CAUSES, AND SEVERAL ONLY FOR BUSINESS.