Popping Up in 2018 – Retail Pop-up Trends - Medallion Retail
Pop-up Retail

Popping Up in 2018 – Retail Pop-up Trends

POSTED ON: 12/21/17

If you monitor retail pop-up trends, then you’re well aware that this bona fide marketing tactic is booming, in terms of budget, popularity and creativity. Back in the day (maybe five whole years ago!), brands used experiential event marketing (like pop-ups) to generate product demand and to amplify brand awareness.

Today, pop-up goes beyond simple brand building, serving as a tool for gathering general data, collecting real-time consumer insights, personalizing the shopper’s experience and immersing her in meaningful experiences.

So what’s next for pop-up? What will the experience economy look like in the near future? What are the retail pop-up trends that will continue to drive the evolution of marketing in this industry? Let’s take a look.

Five Retail Pop-up Trends We’ll See in 2018

What was recently cool is now kinda tired.

Shoppers will still want to communicate their pop-up adventures using Twitter, Snap and Insta. They just won’t want to step into a photo booth to do it.

Shoppers will demand that pop-ups showcase the next generation of social media engagement. It’s up to retail marketers to figure out what that is, and explore fresh ways to activate real-time fashionistas and citizen journalists. An always-smart strategy is to ask your shoppers directly. And then give it to them.

And let’s retire the smartphone charging station as a “wow” pop-up feature. Everyone has done it. It’s like the QR code of 2014.[bctt tweet=”Let’s retire the smartphone charging station as a “wow” #popup feature. It’s like the QR code of 2014.” username=”MeetMrPopUp”]


Shoppers want you to come to them.

Mobile activations and refurbished shipping containers were a big part of pop-up in 2017. Expect them to have an even larger presence next year. A mobile pop-up can go where the action is, repeatedly, making it an economical choice for retail marketers.

Mobile pop-ups require thoughtful, clever design – which usually results in an enhanced “how-did-they-do-that” factor. Refurbished shipping containers also demand design and fabrication that surprises and delights. These executions will answer a call for a look that is urban, hip, “unplanned,” un-corporate – and moveable.


Retail pop-up budgets increase.

Expect to see more, higher quality activations. Competition and shopper demand will drive the creation of more eye-popping and unexpected pop-ups. Note: this does not necessarily mean more complicated. If the idea is big, the pop-up doesn’t necessarily have to be.

But it has to be good. Really good. Retail marketers must create pop-ups that tell complete stories, build admirable communities and transport shoppers to unexpected places. Technology remains an intelligent way to do this. Social and digital tactics will continue to be one of the best ways to connect with pop-up shoppers, and intriguing, dependable technology is rarely inexpensive.


Event apps become mandatory.

Gone are the days of multi-page, printed pop-up event programs; shoppers want to be able to pull out their phones, check the schedules, see the celebs and rake in some bonuses. One of the biggest retail pop-up trends will be the proliferation of branded event apps. An app can serve as an on-site navigation tool, a beacon, a program, a community-builder, a promotional device and a follow-up facilitator.

Deliver a holistic experience by connecting the app to cutting-edge technology. Wearables have hit the mainstream, biometric scanning is on the horizon and 3-D printing is almost commonplace.

And please be sure to mark your app with a designated event hashtag. Make it easy for shoppers to share. (It should go without saying that you will be providing amazing, share-worthy content).


Measurement matters even more.

Marketers will begin to explore more performance-based metrics that will enhance their ability to determine the success of a pop-up. For example, instead of simply counting impressions, they will collect metrics at focal points.

And, with app monitoring working in conjunction with integrated physical sensors, marketers will be able to track consumer behavior in more granulated ways, allowing for even more specific metrics and insight.

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