Ever wondered about what lies between offline and online retailing?

What can a brand do to exclusively market its products or services?

What can be done to tap into the city's customer base?

The answer to the above trinity is embedded in flash retailing, or what is popularly known as pop-up retailing.

A Storefront survey revealed that among those that had incorporated at least one pop-up shop in their marketing strategies, more than 80% considered it successful.

Back in 2016, Google astounded everyone when it announced a temporary physical retail experience store. It was an effort from their marketing team to reinforce their transition from only software products to hardware products like Pixel, the phone, and Daydream, the VR headset.

The pop-up shop in New York City let people explore and experience the products up and close, but they were not actually available for sale in the store.

Let’s glide into the present scenario and see #WhatsUpWithPopUp!


Luxury fashion houses are calling the attention of young consumers by offering them uber-cool experiences through pop-up stores, referring to them as “hyperphysical immersion in their world”.

Jacquemus 24/24

One of the most consistent brands that delve into pop-up retail experiences is the iconic French fashion brand Jacquemus. Inspired by vending machines, the brand unfurled its ‘PINK 2’ capsule collection via a bright pink pop-up store in its home, Paris, which remained open for three days, 24x7. The pink façade, with its quirky interiors, was filled with vending machines which could be used to make the purchase. Fascinating, is it not?!

The brand took a relatively minimal approach when it introduced its new idea for the next Jacquemus 24/24 pop-up store in Milan. With a similar vending machine concept, this temporary set-up was all-white!

Prada’s Tropico Experience

Italian luxury house Prada went all tropical with its new collection in Italy. The pop-up greeted its visitors with a bucket hat tree gushing in summery springy feels. Hats of bold hues adorned the tree, and the window mannequins were dolled up in vibrant stripes and patterns.

Let us find out what makes pop-up stores this lucrative!


The concept of pop-up, temporary stores can be dated back centuries with travelling merchants and seasonal farmer’s markets. Although the pop-up concept we know now has evolved, it was first successfully popularised by the Japanese fashion label, Comme des Garçons in 2004. It operated its pop-up stores in unusual places, which were open for about a year before moving to a new city.

Why should you care?

Apart from helping out in communicating the brand ideology, many other factors influence brands to set up temporary retail or pop-up stores.

Let us explore how brands have used their wit to incorporate the concept of flash marketing.

SKIMS ‘ glossy pop-up

Kim Kardashian-owned American shapewear and clothing brand SKIMS put up its first pop-up store in Paris. The neutral-toned setup advocated colour inclusivity with chunky walls having round edges, just like the curves of the human body. Every corner of the store reflected the ethos of the brand.

Blamé - #NeverBlameTheVictim

In 2016, on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, APEX Global Brands came up with its pop-up shop to address the social cause of victim blaming. It seemed like a regular pop-up store at first. But, on closer inspection, it was found that the momentary setup named ‘Blamé’ displayed clothing that wasn’t meant for sale.

One of the price tags read, “She’s 16. Why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky.”

After looking at some really purposeful pop-ups, let’s recce some out-of-the-box flash marketing examples.


Nothing’s first kiosk

Nothing set up a unique kiosk in chic Central London where the booth grabbed headlines as much as the product itself. The structure was made out of a refurbished K67 kiosk, a design conceived initially by Saša Mächtig in the now-defunct nation of Yugoslavia in 1966, which could be arranged in countless configurations to create large or small spaces.

Well, if that's not aesthetic, then what is?!

IKEA Play Café

In June 2017, IKEA engaged its Canadian consumers in a Shop, Play, Eat experience in order to demystify their quintessential beliefs around food. The pop-up had a kitchen party dance-off and a giant pinball machine, and a range of 50 items for the customers to shop!

Museum of Ice Cream

Ice cream, artists and a dating app? The combination couldn’t get much quirkier!

Museum of Ice Cream brought together this scrumptious combo in the form of a pop-up museum. The ice cream expo had an ice cream scoop seesaw, an ice cream sandwich swing and a pool of sprinkles. Tinder co-sponsored this nostalgic world of sweets to help its audience ‘discover their true flavour match’.

Call it temporary or flash retailing, pop-up store or pop-up shop, it is an enticing prospect for brands and consumers alike. A lot of fashion and beauty brands are going all out to provide unique, customised experiences, and other industries are following suit.

Pop-up, but virtually

When we talk about curated immersive experiences, we can’t ignore digital.

So, how can we take a brick-and-mortar offline concept of a pop-up shop online?

We believe one great way to achieve this is for the brands to play with the UI/UX to create differentiated experiences with online pop-up stores.

  • Create a pop-up shop for just a few cities to see where you may create the city look with its famous places, food, culture etc.
  • Create a microsite for launching a new segment or a limited-edition product line.

Such online pop-up shops can go viral, which will bring new visitors to the page and increase the website engagement matrix. Brand awareness and equity, something marketers spend so much for, go up. If it does not go viral, then the pop-up shop can be a whole new campaign that will bring targeted new visitors to the page and again increase the website engagement matrix.

According to our research, another way can be for the brand to plan a one-time upcoming launch event. This, in turn, creates a sense of exclusivity & FOMO as the online showcase may or may not 'pop up' at another time. For example, using Meta live sessions for launching a product along with some QnAs.

Virtual pop-ups can make your strategy cost-optimal, as they don't seek a physical infrastructure.

If the brand is looking to change the sentiment or perception, then pop-ups are a great testing ground. They let the brands showcase their niche to the potential audience along with the new launch. For example, if a traditional brand like Jaypore wants to launch a new line of fluorescents targeting teens, then they can launch a pop-shop to test the range can have a completely different look from the whole website. The regular visitors know the pop shop is not for them and accept a few different pages as an attempt from the brand that is not for them.

They help increase online engagement with the brand. Once a user engages and visits the online store, the brand can retarget and convert the potential customer into a loyal consumer.

Online is a busy place, and every brand is vying for attention and looking for differentiated ideas and content that can be talked about. we think that virtual pop-ups are one way to capture that attention.

So, are you poppin’ or not?