Winter 2017
Top 10 Industry Trends of 2017

2: No-sell pop-ups

Say what?A shop that doesn’t sell product? What business does it have in the retail space, you ask? Why, brand engagement of course.

Millennials who are big online shoppers may have no desire to do typical “mall” shopping. But they are still looking for places to go even if they don’t intend to shop or make purchases, says Alex Cohen with CORE, a real estate brokerage firm in New York City. The value of a pop-up then is to engage these consumers with new products and new experiences that can drive sales whether in-store or online. For example, Sennheiser, a German audio company, launched a pop-up store in New York through CORE that allows customers to test and listen to different head phones and other products—something they can’t do online. By holding concerts and other special events in the store, Sennheiser also engages consumers who may or may not be familiar with the brand. “Social media can enhance and diversify store engagement as customers instagram and snapchat their in-store experiences to their friends,” Cohen says.

Suzanne Cayley, Vice President, Specialty Leasing with Toronto-based Aurora Consultants, says that many brands and even celebrities (Justin Bieber or Kayne West, anyone?) use pop-ups to connect with consumers and as an extension of their marketing outreach. “Pop-ups allows them to be able to get feedback about their products, but ultimately it’s all about engaging the consumer and developing a stronger relationship with the consumer in the end,” Cayley says.

The lower-time-window-commitment from pop-ups allows for secondary purposing of these spaces such as hosting fundraisers for local charities, with developers sometimes using the boost in traffic to redirect customers to other areas of the shopping center.

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Patricia Norins

Patricia Norins serves as VP of Specialty Retail & Publications at the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Considered the authority on specialty retail, she has been tracking the industry for the past thirty years. Norins is Publisher of Specialty Retail Report, the voice of the specialty retail industry (carts, kiosks and pop-up stores). SRR has a readership of more than 75,000 each quarter.

Poornima Apte

Poornima Apte is a Boston-area freelance writer and editor specializing in retail and the book publishing industry. Learn more at
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