Blending Work and Play Through Workplace Pop-Ups - Medallion Retail
Pop-up Retail, In-Store Marketing

Blending Work and Play Through Workplace Pop-Ups

POSTED ON: 08/10/18 workplace pop-ups

Across the nation, millions of people are locked into work every day from 9 to 5 – and often even longer. For retailers, this time frame coincides almost exactly with their stores’ hours of operation. But there’s a new way to reach this largely untapped consumer audience around work hours — workplace pop-ups.

From co-working spaces  to company headquarters to satellite office buildings, workplace pop-ups are the new wave of retail and help bring much needed relaxation and play to an over-stressed workplace. Integrating creative play (and often convenience) into work is a great way to reach this diligent consumer base. Workplace pop-ups are the way forward for smart retailers and smart employers.

Pushing the boundaries of retail space

Pop-ups are always about the wow factor. This often starts with unique and unexpected locations: mobile pop-ups, local pop-ups and even stores within stores.

Workplaces offer a new frontier for retail excitement. There is a clear market for professionally and personally focused products and services. And what better place to market these than where people are spending most of their day? Unlike traditional retail stores, workplace pop-ups not only provide shopping convenience, they also provide a welcome break from the mundane and routine.

Take the beauty sector, for instance. Sephora could offer lunch-break makeovers and mani-pedis while displaying work makeup must-haves. And on Thursdays and Fridays, they could market professional makeup sessions at the end of the day for happy hour or date night. Banana Republic could tailor suits, sew rips and offer client-facing outfits and accessories to those in a time crunch for professional apparel. HomeGoods could furnish the break room, creating a comfortable, home-like space for employees. The possibilities are endless – and exciting.

Popping up in a workplace is also economically viable: a lease within a company’s office is likely to be less expensive than a storefront.

L.L.Bean and co-working company Industrious took this idea even further, launching outdoor pop-up co-working spaces in various cities that include work areas and collaborative spaces equipped with WiFi and electricity. These glass hubs will eventually be permanent installments, providing small companies with lasting, outdoor-inspired “offices” and turning the concepts of both work and retail spaces on their heads.

Matching ideologies, seamless partnerships

In any partnership, you have to make sure that the two halves make a cohesive whole. This is absolutely true of a workplace-brand partnership.

Companies have their own identities and values – ideas that they center their whole being around. And as we know, so do retailers.

In contemplating a potential partnership, both parties need to make sure their core values work together to create harmony – making the sum of their parts greater than the whole.  We call this symbiotic business relationship “co-shopperation”. Boar’s Head, for example, wouldn’t partner well with a vegan t-shirt company but could work exceptionally well with a snacks manufacturer.

Or consider an insurance company that wants to emphasize a culture of wellness because healthy workers are more productive workers. REI could partner with the insurer, popping up in the parking lot with bikes and hiking gear and encouraging people to get active during lunch hour or explore the outdoors after work. They could even hand out free branded pedometers while the company incentivizes its workers through a step challenge with prizes.

Or maybe Green Giant could create a hydroponic garden on the roof of a company building or in a mobile pop-up container. The employees get fresh, farm-to-table ingredients to bring home for dinner (or for a healthy workday snack!) and Green Giant gets a branded space that perfectly targets its expanding customer base.

[bctt tweet=”These kinds of partnerships are beneficial for both the company and the retailer. The company gets to reinforce an employee-focused culture while the retailer gets to activate their mission and acquire new customers.” username=”medallionretail”]

Offering a new sense of convenience

At the end of the workday, the last thing people want to do is run errands. But for many people, shopping at night is the only option.

Workplace pop-ups in office buildings offer a new level of convenience that consumers crave. Meal kits are great for people who don’t want to brave a grocery store, but they require advance planning. Wegmans could offer a mini-store in the lobby of an office building, displaying essentials like milk and eggs as well as daily ideas for dinner – or even offer meal kits.

New York City’s Grand Central Terminal has been targeting this last-minute audience for years with its local market. Commuters on their way home after work can pick up fresh produce, meat, gourmet cheese and seafood – and let’s not forget dessert!

Imagine CVS partnering with companies to create small wellness pop-ups. Employers could dedicate a section of their lobby or break room to host drugstore necessities like ibuprofen, deodorant, safety pins, toothpaste and more. And come flu season, it’s a win-win for both the pharmacy and the employer to offer onsite flu shots to keep employees healthy.

With any new idea, there are some limitations. For one, nobody will want to go to work on the weekend to shop. But for five days each week – that’s more than 70 percent of that time – you have exclusive territory and you’ll only have to staff your space for workdays. The goal is to win loyalty, build brand value and reach a demographic who are at their desks all day and not window shopping.

Want to explore a new workplace pop-up opportunity? Medallion Retail will make it work. Get started today by reaching out to Michael or Chris at

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