Pop-up retail

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HBO Game of Thrones container pop-up in Los Angeles
The Beatles double-decker pop-up shop in New York City
Marmite pop-up shop in London

Pop-up retail, also known as pop-up store (pop-up shop in the UK, Australia and Ireland) or flash retailing, is a trend of opening short-term sales spaces in Canada, the United States,[1][2] the United Kingdom and Australia.[3]


The Ritual Expo was one of the first iterations of the pop-up retail store.[4] Not yet referred to as pop-up retail, the 1997 Los Angeles event was created by Patrick Courrielche and was later branded as a one-day "ultimate hipster mall.” The event quickly caught the eye of large brands that saw the potential of creating short-term experiences to promote their products to target audiences. AT&T, Levi-Strauss, and Motorola worked with Courrielche to create pop-up shopping experiences across the country to market their products to young audiences.[5][6][7]

In November 2002, discount retailer Target took over a 220-foot-long boat at Chelsea Piers for a two-week stay on the Hudson River that coincided with Black Friday.[8] Vacant of Los Angeles, California arrived in New York in February 2003, working with Dr. Martens on a pop-up space at 43 Mercer Street.[9][10][11]

Song Airlines opened a pop-up shop in New York City in 2003. Comme des Garçons opened, for one year, a pop-up shop in 2004 with the 'Guerrilla Shop' tag. Trendwatching.com claims to have coined the term "Pop-Up Retail" in January 2004.[12] In November 2013, Samsung opened a pop-up shop in New York City's Soho area that worked as a brand experience space. The temporary pop-up space was extended and eventually became a permanent retail space. [13] In July 2015 Fourth Element opened the world's first underwater popup shop at a depth of 6 metres / 19 feet TEKCamp.2015. [14]

Other brands that have developed pop-up shops as part of their campaigns include Kate Spade, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Colette.


A pop-up retail space is a venue that is temporary: the space could be a sample sale one day and host a private cocktail party the next evening. The trend involves "popping up" one day, then disappearing anywhere from one day to several weeks later. These shops, while small and temporary, can build up interest by consumer exposure. Pop-up retail allows a company to create a unique environment that engages their customers and generates a feeling of relevance and interactivity. They are often used by marketers for seasonal items such as Halloween costumes and decorations, Christmas gifts and Christmas trees, or fireworks.[1]

There are different benefits to popups such as marketing, testing products, locations, or markets, and as a low cost way to start a business. Some pop up shops, such as Ricky's and other Halloween stores, are seasonal, allowing brands to capture foot traffic without committing to a long term lease.[15] Other brands use pop-ups to create engagement, such as Marc Jacobs Tweet Shop's exchange of "social currency" for free product [16] and King and McGaw who used a pop-up to exhibit and sell prints from the Mourlot Studios in Soho, London.[17]


  1. ^ a b Gregory, Sean (November 6, 2009). "Why Pop-Up Shops Are Hot". Time. Retrieved November 22, 2009. Ricky's Costume Superstore in New York City was ready for Halloween 
  2. ^ Clifford, Stephanie (October 30, 2008). "Hanging Out at a Mall for the Holidays". The New York Times. Retrieved November 22, 2009. The Haute Spot is a so-called pop-up concept, meaning that the store is not permanent. The location will be open Nov. 28 through Dec. 26. 
  3. ^ Smith, Stephen (December 4, 2009). "The pop-up shopping phenomenon". Newsnight (London: BBC Two). Retrieved January 17, 2010. 
  4. ^ Moore, Booth, (July, 1999) LA Times. "Cutting-Edge Clothes and Music at Ritual Expos." http://articles.latimes.com/1999/jul/09/news/cl-54193
  5. ^ Baltin, Steve, (October, 2000) Chicago Tribune. "Ritual in the Making, Creative Fields Converge To Form Ultimate Hipster Mall In A Nightclub Atmosphere." http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2000-10-11/features/0010100545_1_jed-wexler-ritual-events-walk
  6. ^ Video compilation of some of first pop-up retail stores. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsX0f7526Zc
  7. ^ Swystun, Jeff, (September, 2015) Business 2 Community. "Pop-Up Retail: Where Will It Go Next?" http://www.business2community.com/branding/pop-retail-will-go-next-01316364
  8. ^ Billy Gray (December, 2012) New York Observer. On 10th Anniversary of First NYC Pop-Up, Retailers Look Back.http://commercialobserver.com/2012/12/on-10th-anniversary-of-first-nyc-pop-up-retailers-look-back/
  9. ^ Robb Mandelbaum (June, 2013) New York Times Magazine. Who Made That? Pop-up Store. http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/magazine/2013/innovations-issue/#/?part=popupstore
  10. ^ Lazarovic, Sarah (March, 2003) Elle Canada. Are pop-up stores the hip new face of retail or a clever marketing ploy to fight consumer fatigue? http://www.ellecanada.com/living/shop-n-go/a/24980
  11. ^ Tzortzis, Andreas (October, 2004) Pop-up stores: here today, gone tomorrow http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/24/business/worldbusiness/24iht-popups25.html?pagewanted=all
  12. ^ Trend Watching, Pop-up Retail, http://trendwatching.com/trends/POPUP_RETAIL.htm
  13. ^ Coleman-Lochner, Lauren (October, 2014) Bloomberg. "NYC's SoHo Serves as Testing Ground for Chobani, Samsung." http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-10-01/nyc-s-soho-serves-as-retail-testing-ground-for-chobani-samsung
  14. ^ https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/fourth-element-launch-worlds-first-pop-down-shop-lunn-roz-?published=u
  15. ^ Bloomberg TV (May, 2014). An Inside Look at the Pop-Up Retail Phenomenon. http://www.bloomberg.com/video/an-inside-look-at-the-pop-up-retail-phenomenon-1nZwFqJ0Ra~ZU3vgwGlkNg.html
  16. ^ Gonzalez, Melissa (December, 2014). The Pop-Up Paradigm: How Brands Build Human Connections in a Digital Age. http://www.amazon.com/The-Pop-Up-Paradigm-Connections-ebook/dp/B00P04ZYRA
  17. ^ http://www.itsnicethat.com/articles/atelier-mourlot

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