Originating in 1999, the first of what would become known as pop up shops emerged in Los Angeles, California. This temporary shop would be only the first of many as the craze began to solidify into a trusted business practice. It was built to test if consumers would buy limited edition items from niche shops. Once the products were sold out, the location would then close completely and reopen in a different area when new stock arrived. It was a resounding success with these pioneer pop up shops closing only hours after first opening their doors.
In the beginning, only a few names got in on the action. Comme des Garçons appeared in Tokyo, opening shops that stayed open for little less than a year’s time through 2004 to 2009. Other names to follow included fashion brands Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hugo Boss. As it proved to be an influential marketing tool to increase sales in many different industries, larger brands like Target, sports brands Adidas and Nike, BMW and even eBay began setting up their own temporary boutiques.
Arguably, the main reason to pursue the pop up shop is to reduce overhead costs as short rental periods negate the need for any long term lease. These shops give new businesses a low cost way to start generating income and to test markets while bigger brands turn to them as additional ways to test marketing, locations, markets and products. Some of the longer lasting impressions are brought on by the heavily themed seasonal shops that show up around Halloween and Christmas.
The most important advantage from this undeniable trend is the fact that consumers love it. There are even apps that indicate hidden locations of pop ups. Shoppers enjoy exploring the city on the off chance they’ll run into some great deals under a bridge or next to a skate park. In short, pop up shops exponentially increase desirability. By creating exclusivity through limiting what is available, you automatically make your brand all the more desirable.