Trend Spotlight: Pop-Up Retail & COVID-19
Each month, Weber Shandwick’s Trends in Two Minutes bulletin outlines three trends impacting businesses throughout Asia Pacific. With Trend Spotlight, we share some of the individual trends highlighted. Today, exploring how pop-up retail is helping businesses sidestep many of the difficult realities to have emerged over the pandemic.
Even prior to the colossal upheaval of 2020, the global retail sector was navigating a transitional and evolutionary period. Trends in Two Minutes, for example, explored the impact of the rising retailtainment trend in 2019 and ‘New Retail’ in 2018. But, with the upheaval of the past year, new complications have accelerated the sector’s disruption.
Lockdowns have obviously had a substantial impact on foot traffic. The concurrent growth in ecommerce and the increasing pressures of shifting architectural needs of the social distance era have only presented greater challenges. Finally, the rising prevalence of struggling ‘zombie’ businesses has only further complicated the retail space.
Essentially, the retail sector must negotiate a world wherein many businesses struggle to earn enough for their lease and only a limited amount of customers will be able to be physically present in a location at any given time while offering a compelling point of difference to their online competitors.
In response, ‘pop-up experiences’ have leapt to the fore. Exclusive, temporary, unique, and entertaining, pop-up retail brand and store events are currently helping businesses boost engagement and revenue in the new era – while sidestepping many of the difficulties of the newer retail reality.
Deployed effectively, it’s a practice that can minimise risk and maximise engagement for organisations throughout the entire retail pipeline. Lease-holders can better deploy dormant storefront assets, startups are afforded greater freedom for experimentation, and brands can activate different audiences in new markets with less longterm expenditure.
The creativity and flexibility of the approach allows for many different tactics to boost brand visibility, engagement, and revenue in a myriad of ways. Some online outlets have used existing customer data to pinpoint ideal physical locations or enter new markets; others have launched small arts festivals to leverage existing cultures and communities.
The challenge, as in all nascent developments, is simply ensuring one is employing best-practices and engaging with the trend with a strategic outlook.
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