We live in the Age of Paradox: at once inundated with a constant flood of digital information, and at the same time increasingly driven to disconnect from others, consumers are constantly on the hunt for organic, authentic, and meaningful experiences. 

Moreover, in more practical terms shopping behaviors have slowly migrated away from the traditional brick and mortar paradigm. The advent of e-commerce has afforded customers with more convenience than would have been imaginable some 20 years ago; and yet, the average consumer has a perpetual thirst for connecting with a brand’s mission, values, and goals, a thirst that can only be satiated by face-to-face interactions.

Thus, we come to the emergence of the “pop-up shop.” The question is, why are pop-up shops successful?

Pop-up shops are not new by any means; in fact, the term was originally coined in the first few years of the new century. However, the “pop-up industry” now represents over $10 billion in revenue, according to some estimates.

Well-designed pop-up shops leverage the old-fashioned functionality of brick-and-mortar establishments to focus less on sales, and more on customized experiences. At such locations, company representatives can communicate brand values, collect consumer data, and offer a highly personalized shopping experience for each and every visitor.

In effect, pop-up shops have become ancillary tools to drive online growth and solidify consumer loyalty. Here are a few ways that brands have leveraged pop-up shops:

Extending Reach

When companies begin to consider penetration into a new market or market segment, pop-up shops often come up as a “touchstone” for customer response and market potential.

Pop-up shops, by default, can only highlight a limited number of products or services to be effective. Thus, these temporary bases provide an exceptional opportunity to generate buzz around a new release, to allow prospects and leads to enjoy a hands-on experience with the product, and to stage a press preview and/or demonstration.

Furthermore, pop-up shops are a perfect setting to gather real time feedback from customers and representatives alike. Thus, the pop-up shop can play an important role in adjusting and refining your core marketing message for the ultimate roll out.


Pop-up shops provide exceptional settings for hands-on workshops and educational activities centered around your products (and perhaps adjacent items/services as well). Such workshops will empower your consumers to take ownership of the product, and will drive increased engagement with your brand.

Digital Brands

Many pop-up shops are extensions of digitally native brands. However, even these companies recognize the power that a physical format can provide by placing the product directly in customers’ hands. A pop-up experience can forge a tangible, memorable relationship between your brand and your followers.

For example, Fatherly is a digital lifestyle brand that provides news, advice, and product recommendations for parents. This company established a pop-up shop in New York City in which families could test out a selection of toys with curated programming. The shop also included an art gallery by LEGO, a ball pit, and different workshops for the children of the customers.

Social Sharing

The best pop-up environments are deliberately designed to foster social media sharing. Selfie-oriented consumers will not pass up the opportunity to snap the pic and share the moment when they enjoy a unique experience at a one-of-a-kind pop-up shop. A shareable design, combined with a strategically crafted brand narrative, can work wonders for your customer engagement scores, and will keep your consumers coming back for more.

Data Capture

With clear goals and parameters already in place, pop-up shops can serve as wonderful focal points for data capture, whether in regards to leads, marketing feedback, or other points.

In the final analysis, a wide range of brands are embracing pop-up shops with open arms, and for a number of different reasons. Pop-up shops provide a physical space to engage customers, to drive brand awareness and loyalty, to drum up excitement for new product releases, and ultimately to boost sales.