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Phenomenon Pop-up Stores: Creative, Trendy, Temporary

Start-ups, young companies and established global brands have discovered an innovative concept for themselves: pop-up stores. Irrespective of the industry, temporary businesses are fully in trend. These shops “pop up” – only to disappear again after a short time. This has many advantages. Here are a few inspiring examples.

By Kirsten Lehmkuhl

Pop-up stores have long since ceased to be a platform just for young companies. They have become an institution that has become an indispensable part of marketing, even with long-established brands, such as luxury fashion labels like Chanel, Gucci or Valentino, who rely on them just as much as Amazon, IBM or REWE … The unusual shops can be found in the best city locations as well as in urban cult districts or on almost forgotten industrial sites. Whether an empty shop, a disused cinema, an old copy shop or an abandoned factory hall – they are all suitable as cool locations. Often, the more unexpected the location, the better.

Just for a single day

Some of the stores are only open for a single day – like that of stylish fashion label Lena Hoschek in Berlin in July 2019. Others attract their customers for two or three weeks. Others remain present for months. And then they leave again …

Photos: © Lupi Spuma for Lena Hoschek

• Lena Hoschek, Berlin

In July 2019, the young designer decided on a high profile address as a pop-up store location: the trendy Borchardt restaurant on Berlin’s Gendarmenmarkt. She chose the restaurant in the best location for a good reason: After all, her funny designs bear the name Tutti Frutti.

• Marcell von Berlin, Frankfurt/Main

From the end of 2018 to mid-2019, fashion designer Marcell von Berlin presented his latest collection on 600 square metres in a pop-up store in the German metropolis, with a minimalist ambience, between pompous velvet sofas, concrete walls and marble tables –
in the luxury Goethestrasse fashion mile.

Photos: © Toom

The short-term appearances score in many respects. They not only arouse curiosity. True to the old sales rule “limits create interest”, pop-up stores also stimulate consumers’ desire to buy and awaken their hunting fever. After all, customers want to get their hands on the most coveted items and get the best bargain in the short time available. In addition, the shops are surrounded by a mysterious aura of exclusivity. Those who are informed about where the next store will “pop up”, feel like an insider and in-the-know. This is not least due to the fact that the stores also offer exciting events. There is a great longing for social contact.

Experimental field of its own

Pop-up stores are a marketing instrument with calculable risk: improvised, often innovative furnishings, such as those in the hip, shabby look, are not too expensive and can usually be set up and dismantled in no time at all. Long-term rental contracts and higher personnel costs are eliminated. In addition, the stores serve as guinea pigs for customer wishes. New products, special service offers or surprising presentation ideas can easily be tested without having to take a big financial risk. Test passed, concept works? Then it can be used in the first “real” shop or in the main branches of larger companies

• „Stadtgrün“ & „Stadtbunt“, Köln, Frankfurt/Main

The DIY chain Toom also likes pop-up. “Stadtgrün by Toom” in Cologne was the name of the first Toom pop-up store in the early summer of 2018, with garden accessories, plants and self-service soil, in exactly the quantities customers needed. Then “Stadtbunt by Toom”, a shop that was aimed at a more urban audience with an appetite for DIY was set up in Frankfurt/Main until the end of 2018, Frankfurt/Main. Also on offer were handicrafts and workshops, where every visitor could take part. Side effect: Through intensive contact with customers in a relaxed atmosphere, the company was able to study their needs and wishes …

Photos: © Reishunger

• Reishunger, Bremen

Reishunger , a start-up company from Bremen, started a pop-up store in the city centre twice for a period of three months. The young designers decoratively presented their chic travel bags on simple wooden pallets. Are further temporary shops planned? “Not at the moment,” says Managing Director Sohrab Mohammad, “but we’ll pop up again if we get a chance to do so…”

Unoccupied locations are especially suitable for a pop-up store, however, some are also quick to rent existing shops or pubs. As a pop-up store usually attracts a lot of attention, the tenant or co-tenant can also benefit from the temporary shop. A classic win-win situation…

Fotos: © UPC

• Gaming Pop-up House, UPC, Zürich

UPC, Switzerland’s largest cable network operator, has started a pilot project together with game developer Schweizer Games since April 2019 with their store in Zurich: Interested parties can test selected games there and exchange ideas with the developers on site.

The good thing about the shop units: They attract a lot of attention, even on social networks and attract a clientele that is open and wants to be trendy, a clientele that could possibly be won over as a new customer group.

When even Internet giants go offline …

It’s not surprising that even online trading pioneer Amazon works with pop-up stores. Sometimes online also goes offline. Even an Internet provider can profit from shops where interested people meet like-minded individuals and products that attract their attention can sometimes be touched and tried out.

• Think IBM, Berlin

There was a huge response to this shop, which opened its doors for exactly 40 days in May and June 2019 at the famous Bikinihaus in the middle of the city centre. Topic: artificial intelligence in everyday life. Conclusion: This new form of interaction in the pop-up store makes even difficult topics such as digitalisation fascinating, transparent and tangible.