The Art of Retail: The Growth of the Pop-Up Department Store

To begin with, there were standalone pop-ups. Thenthere were pop-up collectives, rooted in community. Nowadays, retail is embracing a new type of pop-up area modeled after the department store, but there is a twist: these new pop-up department stores are embracing digitally native D2C brands in prime property in areas–such as Manhattan, where retail area is exorbitantly priced–to appeal to a wider audience.

Offline, manufacturers get an Instagram-ready playground where they can flourish: curated spaces where they could test the waters with sampling, experiential elements, and even introduce new products. It all adds up to a D2C brand’s heaven –a temporary space to experiment and see what sticks in the physical world.

So, what’s behind the rise of these new division store-like spaces?

Retail spaces that sell

Advertisers such as Showfields are a prime example of this new wave of department stores. The self-proclaimed”most interesting store in the world,” Showfields houses three floors of pop-up stores where brands can stick out. At the heart of New York’s SoHo area, the shop sees traffic from a worldwide audience of tourists and locals alike. Along with brands, Showfields frequently has food vendors and special events on site that increase the stimulatory experience.

Another rapidly-expanding pop-up department store concept is Neighborhood Goods, an evolving concept shop located in Plano, Texas. Lots of the featured curated brands–including the likes of men’s health startup Hims, contemporary dishware brand Year & Day, and unique scented candle occurrence Otherland–have gotten their start on Instagram. Neighborhood Goods does not limit itself to just what is”brand” new or native. Additionally, it provides space for more established brands, such as Cynthia Rowley and Le Specs, to appeal to an audience expecting their next discovery–regardless of where it comes from.

Likewise Minneapolis-based Fourpost runs a curated pop-up market inside the Mall of America which has room for small, local brands to glow. Their assumption is to provide”the freshest brands” and draw and surprise customers with unique finds that they won’t see elsewhere in the mall.

Small brands reap substantial benefits

Among the top advantages of a pop-up department store is the low-commitment, low-cost IRL space that smaller or digitally-native brands crave. Short term rentals and minimal operation costs remove some of the overhead for brands, helping them stay on budget. Additionally, the onus of creating steady foot traffic drops on the shop owner–not the newest.

Generating consumer interest usually is not an issue, because of the magnetic pull of the destinations themselves–otherwise called destination marketing. Consumers are attracted to the promise of new and exciting discoveries, and the chance to interact with brands they would typically only see online.







And once customers are in the doorway, brands have a opportunity to’wow’ them not just merchandising, but by providing a customized experience that imprints the brand identity.

Part of this experience is larger-than-life electronic and print signage, eye catching displays that combine fun and education, and ample products to test and try. Many manufacturers even take the atmosphere to another level with comfy lounges or furniture that encourage visitors to stay a while.

Dental technology and oral hygiene startup Quip, for one, filled their distance at Showfields with bathroom vanities, toothbrushes, and toothpaste for customers to use. Personalized hair care firm Function of Beauty incorporated a tub in their Showfields booth, and stuffed it with pink”bubbles” to function as a photo opportunity for passersby.

Together, all these kinds of components feed the five senses of shoppers eager to find something fresh.

Testing the limits of temporary spaces

These new-format department stores are a retail wonderland for brands and consumers alike. Brands are at an advantage to check and watch the market in real time.

But they are also a challenge of imagination –here are four things to consider when approaching this type of distance:

  • What’s the objective of your pop-up?
  • Is your distinctive brand identity apparent to shoppers?
  • Is the pop-up making an experience beyond conventional brick-and-mortar?
  • Is the pop-up designed with social media in mind?

If you can answer these questions, then you are on your way to appealing customers. You can maximize the effect of destination marketing by producing entirely branded experiences that connect with the audience.

A Toy Story: In Retail, New Tech Toys Craft an AR Story

Tech toys. For good and for bad, generations of children are growing up more plugged in than ever. Actually, 84 percent of children aged 3-7 and 96 percent between ages 8-12 have access to their own internet-connected devices. In comparison with more tots moving mobile, toy retailers have seen gains take a recession –the Toys R Us 2018 bankruptcy announcement is possibly most symptomatic of the disruption to traditional toysellers.

A generational declining interest in touch-and-feel toys does not imply the childlike joy of playing with toys is gone completely. More and more, retailers and brands are integrating technology into toys in addition to from the shopping experience, including surprise and delight to fulfill the kid in everyone. Now, Medallion Retail unboxes how toy retailers can level up the in-store encounter with Augmented Reality that arouses wonder and creates memorable In-store Shopper Moments®.








The state of the (tech toys) marriage

With an overwhelming majority of children possessing their own all-in-one apparatus –outfitted with all the apps, games, and educational tools they would ever desire –it would seem that the market for conventional, physical playthings is all but gone.

But here is the rub: toy shoppers have not gone anywhere. Generally, they have just grown up with technology–and are increasingly turning to e-commerce to get their fix. Lego®, Mattel®, Hasbro®, and Nintendo® still dominate the toy kingdom , with a lot of their online revenue coming from e-tail giant Amazon.

Unboxing a brand new toy is a child’s greatest joy, but the e-commerce experience alone–ordering and awaiting delivery — leaves something to be desired. In the end, children still want their toy shop experience, and so do parentswith the wonder, magic, and inspiration it brings.

Once inquisitive, always curious (to store )

Searching for toys at a brick-and-mortar setting feeds a child’s curiosity. The ability to touch, hear, squish, bounce and hug is priceless. For retailers and brands today, delivering a tactile, sensory-filled experience is paramount.

How are brands manifesting this on the shelves?

Iconic youth staple LEGO introduced construction blocks with a twist: augmented reality (AR), that is. This year, the brand unveiled a Hidden Side set of collections accompanied by an AR app that brings the toys to life upon construction. In shop and at home, families have the ability to explore an app-only spooky storyline, and dip layers deeper in the dream the toys provide.

Goal took a game-first approach to draw shoppers in stores. The retailer partnered with Pokemon Pass to allow players of the augmented reality game earn rewards which can be utilised in stores. The handy app also alerts shoppers when they are near a Target® place, incentivizing them to step into toy stores –and including a fun challenge along the way.

And even though Toys’R’ Us stores were liquidated, the former toy retail chief is resurfacing its physical retail arm in a brand new manner. The retailer has teamed up with software-powered retail business b8ta–famous for out-of-the-box ideas — to announce two smaller format stores packed with interactive technologies and chances for casual play.

All these strong examples illustrate another wave of toy and game retail that’s entertaining customers old and young. Digitally-enhanced in-store Shopper Moments® throughout physical environments, and even in the toys ? That is the real significance of play.









It is (play) time for retail

If tech is already improving products and apps, should not it be a part of your shelves and signage, also? Let’s face it, shoppers of all ages can connect with their inner child when presented with the chance for fun and amazement.

These are Medallion Retail’s top 3 reasons to think about AR in shop:

  • AR helps draw in shoppers. AR-activated signage and exhibits pique consumer interest based on principle –it is a wonder more retailers are not using it yet. And once customers walk through your doors, they will be mesmerized by the possibilities.
  • AR drives interest and engagement in your shop. AR components encourage customers to”play” with the retail displays and experience a deeper, more memorable relationship.
  • AR will help convert to sales. Consumers are more likely to resonate with something which delights them. Especially when the product you’re selling is rooted in experience, technology can amp up the in-store trip.