2016 Retail Pop-up Trends
The Girl Scouts who had set up camp outside the entry to my grocery store made me think about pop-up retail. And Thin Mints. (Try ‘em frozen!) And Samoas. But mostly pop-up retail.
These girls were doing it guerilla-style. That cookie table festooned with crepe paper and hand-lettered posters was hardcore. That’s how you do old-school pop-up. First they weren’t there and then, boom, they were. Their set-up was stealthy, their appearance surprising, their products rare and available for a short time only.
It was a perfect storm for cookie sales.
And while these young Scouts understood how to move baked goods, they had no idea that they were a throwback to the infancy of pop-up. They knew nothing of that simpler time; a moment 15 years or so ago when retail pop-up was new and all a retailer had to do was show up unexpectedly with beautiful things for sale.
Those days are as long gone as a $1.50 box of Tagalongs.
Retail pop-up has evolved into a bonafide marketing tactic, a critical part of the mix. Like the rise of social media that followed, pop-up executions have become mandatory for those retail brands that want to connect with today’s experience-hungry shopper. Everybody’s doing it. So the challenge now is not whether or not to do a pop-up, but how to make it outrageous or beautiful or meaningful enough to stand out among all the others.
Building a successful retail pop-up experience in 2016 will require that marketers aggressively push the limits of creativity, ingenuity, tradition and vision. That concerted push will elevate pop-up to a very different place by the end of the year.
How will retail pop-up change this year? Here are 16 evolutions to watch for:
- VIP and special event as centerpiece
- Greater intimacy between shopper and brand
- Emotionally satisfying experiences
- In-store becomes event site
- Extreme visual executions
- Multi-sensorial experiences
- Mobile/touring events
- Increased social media dependency
- Greater brand focus
- Less sales focus
- More experimentation and risk taking by brand
- Crowd-sourced events
- Hands-on interaction
- Shorter event “running times”
- Unusual event sites
- Increased media appeal