September 25 2013

Welcoming New Retail: Recapping #thegrid Twitter Chat on Pop-up Shops

Global Site Plans’ The Grid recently dug into the world of pop-ups. After exploring the topic in our previous post, we partnered with Storefront and Popuphood on Twitter, following #thegrid, to dive deeper into the subject. What came about was a fast-paced, hour-long discussion that revealed five major trends about pop-ups.

1) There Are Many Reasons to Pop-up

Almost every question that was asked seemed to bring us back to why starting a pop-up is such a good idea. Perhaps a better question would be, why not? One of the main points agreed upon was brought up by Tristan Pollock (@Storefront), who said pop-ups, “allows retail to be accessible.” The industry responds to “temporary demand,” as pointed out by Jordan Rockerbie (@Jackerbie). Although temporary demand is common amongst communities, Renee van Staveren (@GlobalSitePlans) made a point that that pop-ups “can be tested for long-term sustainability.” These points directed us towards the uniqueness that comes with this type of store.

2) It’s About the Experience

It’s “The coolness factor,” addressed Kayla Jonas Galvin (@kimberleyplay). Despite their relatively limited presence, pop-ups have found a way to make their experiences personal and engaging. Space Qube (@AllieJSpace) said “it’s like theater.” To take it a step further, Alkisti Eleni (@aevictoratou) called it “interactive theater,” referring to the participatory experience that a store can create. It’s possible the growing interest in “urbanity,” as Sarah Essbai (@SarahEssbai) pointed out, is connected to the openness to this newer business model. The mobility and diversity of pop-up retail is in many ways reflective of bustling urban environments.

3) Strengthening Communities

The experience goes beyond the store itself. Bringing several different kinds of retail and stores together in one area can help activate a neighborhood. About Town Utah (@abouttownutah) acknowledged how pop-ups can “add programming to an otherwise dead area.” Popuphood has taken that approach by using the pop-up model as a way to incubate small businesses. Urbanpopups (@urbanpopups) stated that they can “reshape urban landscapes & create new economies, thru revitalization, excitement.” People will enter a neighborhood when there are amenities to attract them. Foot traffic brings energy and social interaction. As a result, this tool for small business incubation is also an effective model for neighborhood growth.

4) The Scene is Changing

We asked, “Are people more receptive to this business model now, than compared to before the economy’s crash?” Many answers came up. Sarah Filley (@popuphood) believes so, as revealed when she stated that a downtrodden economy allows for more flexibility. @Storefront said that there is “more openness to new forms of retail.” It is “shifting to a smaller footprint,” both in terms of the space used and the length of presence. These points are true. And the number of businesses entering the pop-up scene are evident.

5) The Future is Bright

Pop-ups are here to stay. The culture around retail and business incubation is changing. We are realizing the benefits of short-term leasing as a way to kickstart new businesses, engage customers and revitalize communities. And frankly, the demand is there. As the pop-up scene progresses, we can expect to see new types of businesses enter the scene. @AllieJSpace stated that we will see more “interactive retail.” New experiences will sustain new retail. In short, as long as we continue to embrace creativity, new stores will continue to pop-up.

What are your experiences with pop-up shops and what kind of future do you foresee for the industry? 

This is only a sample of what took place. If you are interested in the full discussion, check out the Hashtracking report. Stay tuned for #thegrid’s next Twitter Chat, which will take place on Wednesday, October 16th at 3PM EDT/ 2PM CDT/ 12PM PDT/ 8PM BST/ 10PM EEST. We are looking forward to you joining the conversation!

Credits: Data and images linked to sources.

Rob Poole

Rob Poole graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Anthropology and a minor in City and Regional Planning. He grew up in San Diego, but now resides in San Francisco. He currently works at a non-profit organization in San Francisco that advocates for new housing development for all income levels in the City. He also interns with Streetsblog San Francisco. Rob plans to pursue a career that promotes civic engagement in cities and improves the public process for local governments.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 25th, 2013 at 9:02 am and is filed under #thegrid Twitter Chat, Branding, Community/Economic Development, Robert Poole, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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