Will an online dating site formula work for pop-ups?

Discussion
Source: PopUp Shops website
Jun 19, 2018
Tom Ryan

Pop-Up Shops, a startup describing itself as Match.com for “spaces and brands,” is looking to connect entrepreneurs looking for a short-term lease with property managers seeking to fill vacant storefronts.

With the platform working like Craigslist, landlords are able to sort brands they may invite to “pop up” in their space by type of brands (author, demo, online business, regional brand), type of products (apparel, books, food & drink, etc.) and by minimum or maximum average sales. Once they make their selections, a list of brands filtered to their criteria can be viewed.

The landlord can then view profiles of potential pop-up brands, see ratings from other landlords and send a private message if interested.

Brands, startups or marketers interested in doing a pop-up seek out available spaces. They can search in a certain part of a city by type of space (event space, kiosk, outdoor area, etc.), pricing, square footage as well as wide range of amenities (counters, fitting rooms, etc.). A list of recommended spaces comes up based on the criteria selected with additional information on each space along with reviews of landlords. A private message can then be sent to any landlord contact.

Popup Shops Walkthrough from PopUp Shops on Vimeo.

The site’s potential bets on the notion that short-term leases, while a regular occurrence over the years with seasonal Halloween and Christmas shops, are becoming much more common. Pop-ups can serve as a key traffic driver for malls or even strip malls and lifestyle centers. Brands can use pop-ups to raise brand awareness or test new products or real estate potential. Temporary spaces are also being used for a wide range of marketing purposes.

“Pop-up shops are what will entice shoppers to get off Amazon and head to experience a brand in-person while it’s in town, whether it’s a pop-up restaurant, traveling Instagram museum or new-agey yoga class,” co-founder Barry Goldware told Houstonia Magazine.

Currently available exclusively in PopUp Shops’ hometown of Houston, the platform plans to expand to more than 40 major cities within the next 18 months.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you see a tool such as PopUp Shops being beneficial for both landlords and prospective popup tenants? Do you see more benefits than drawbacks for landlords who reserve more space for pop-ups?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Pop-ups serve to create newness, curiosity and continually offer different products which resonate with today’s shopper. "
"The bigger point here is that pop-ups enable retailers to expand the reach of their stores and experiences."
"Depending on what the pop-up shop sells, the “experience” could be negatively impacted by a “here today — gone tomorrow” reality."

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22 Comments on "Will an online dating site formula work for pop-ups?"


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Dave Bruno
BrainTrust

I am a firm believer in the power of pop-ups, and while I believe space-seeking assistance is valuable, the bigger point here is that pop-ups enable retailers to expand the reach of their stores and experiences. I expect that the role of pop-ups will continue to expand in retailers’ marketing and revenue strategies for years to come, and companies like PopUp Shops will provide an important — and growing — service.

Max Goldberg
Guest

Bringing landlords and potential tenants together is a great idea. Pop-up shops have proven their worth to both new and existing retailers. Anything that can bring some excitement to retail centers should be welcomed.

Adrian Weidmann
BrainTrust

Pop-ups have proven to be a successful format for many brands. Having the ability to match location and community attributes can be a powerful resource for both real estate owners and brands seeking the most appropriate location to present their products. In order for landlords to maximize their value for the brand community, I would recommend they develop their property with core technology infrastructure to allow the leasing brands to measure as many parameters of their pop-up experiment/experience as possible. Analysis of these measurements will provide the brands with invaluable insights that can be used to further develop their retail strategy.

Anne Howe
BrainTrust

A pop-ups platform to match brands and spaces is a brilliant adaptation of dating software. Experiences can be designed to encourage shoppers to get out and about and engage with brands in the human world! Shoppers should love this!

Ray Riley
BrainTrust

Do I agree that pop-up shops are what will entice shoppers to get off Amazon as the co-founder suggests? No. The nature of a retail outlet’s lease isn’t going to do that. There are no shortage of “marketplaces” that fancy themselves as Airbnb for retail space particularly with the retraction in physical retail CRE. They solve a real problem, and at face value it’s great for the industry.

Trust is a major component in retailing, and depending on what the pop-up shop sells, the “experience” could be negatively impacted by a “here today — gone tomorrow” reality. As an example, I’m not sure if I’d want to invest in a pack of yoga classes with a pop-up tenant. Or what if I need post-sale service related to a product I’ve purchased? Landlords (GGP, Simon, Macerich, etc.) will look to increasingly dominate this space, so that they can control more of the standard.

Ian Percy
BrainTrust

You and I may stand alone in our thinking today, Ray. You’ve put it well. I have no quarrel with a pop-up as long as we all recognize that’s what it is. It’s like going to a flea market where you might find something amazing and that was lucky. You don’t count on that happening next Saturday.

Ray Riley
BrainTrust

Thanks Ian. Sometimes settlers get the land, and pioneers get the arrows. I wonder at what point the shopping centers, big box tenants, and developers begin to dominate this space to ensure that the consumer is protected.

Sky Rota
BrainTrust
3 months 5 days ago

I am a fan of pop-up shops. I’m actually opening one in the Center City Philadelphia Independence Hall area. For landlords it pays the rent while you are looking for a long-term tenant if that is your end game. For start-ups or a small brand, etc. it gives you a chance for space you’re probably able to afford for a short amount of time. For larger/commercial brands it saves you from committing to a space for years. It’s a win-win! People are ready for a new experience and change. Most people are eager and excited to visit a new store, now multiply that by that same location hosting six or maybe 12 new stores a year. #VeryExciting

Cathy Hotka
BrainTrust

What a great idea. I know someone who put together a similar concept, uniting brands with available billboards across the country, and it has been a huge success. PopUp Shops represents a win for everyone.

Ken Morris
BrainTrust

Pop-up shops are a hot trend and it is good for everyone involved in retail – consumers, brands and landlords. From a consumer’s perspective, a continued refresh of new pop-up stores creates excitement and gives them a reason to visit a mall or shopping area more frequently to see what is new. The PopUp Shops service makes it easy for brands and start-ups to search for spaces and find the best location. For brands executing a big promotional campaign, it is an effective way to secure locations and extend the awareness and availability of their product.

Landlords looking to increase lease revenues can benefit from pop-up shops to fill vacant spaces and also increase customer visits to help existing tenants. With the turnover of anchor stores and the closings of “C and D” malls, pop-up stores may help save some of these struggling malls.

Christopher Jordan
BrainTrust

The independent movement is well underway.

These pop-ups are the rare symbiotic opportunity for both the retailer/landlord/space and the brand.

From the perspective of the retailer or landlord, pop-ups provide the opportunity to create experiences, draw in foot traffic and create revenue in the process. Malls and large-format retailers have already started to dabble in the concept and should continue to embrace it.

Pop-ups give independent brands a viable alternative to reach the “in-person” consumer to the decades old process of getting listed with majors, spending large marketing dollars, etc. This allows them to be more nimble, to test and iterate quickly rather than placing one big bet that may or may not pan out.

Shelley E. Kohan
BrainTrust

Pop-up shops allow brands and, in this case, property managers to showcase a constant flow of newness to the shopper. As much as speciality stores can change window displays and inventory turn, it is difficult to cultivate a consistency in store re-merchandising efforts due to labor constraints, inventory holdings and execution across every store in a chain. Pop-ups serve to create newness, curiosity and continually offer different products which resonate with today’s shopper. The challenge for property managers is continually filling and marketing the space. Amazon’s offering and pop-ups, however, serve a different need.

Ian Percy
BrainTrust
Most of my colleagues love this idea. But I’m not sure about the viability of this model though I wish all innovators well. My first thought was “Is this a seller’s or buyer’s market?” Who is the most needy — landlord or retailer? There is SO much retail space available it’s hard to argue against it being a retail renter’s market. To stay with the unfortunate Match metaphor, this is kind of like having a category called “Lonely People” with landlords pleading for a renter, any renter. I’ve never used Match but I don’t think people write reports about what their date was really like — or do they? “He drank the entire bottle himself” would not likely lead to new connections. The biggest challenge lies in the terms “temporary” and “short-term.” I hate when Costco puts out something that we loved only to have it disappear because that was “temporary.” Match brags about creating enduring relationships and marriages. I don’t think the phrase “short-term” is used very often. There needs to be some evidence… Read more »
Mark Price
BrainTrust

Malls have always had pop-up stores when they have open space. Typically Halloween and Christmas items are featured. Kiosks in malls also play the same role. What PopUp Shops does is permit retailers to scale the concept across malls rather than negotiate on a mall-by-mall basis. For the malls it drives new customers and fills unprofitable space. For retailers it scales a method of trial and customer engagement without a long-term lease. Sounds like a win-win.

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

This is a great idea to bring retail brands and landlords together in a mutually beneficial way that can help drive more mall traffic. However, getting the space set up and products placed is only the beginning — malls should be looking at ways to help promote these pop-up spaces to attract shopper attention. If services like PoUp Shops become popular, then I expect we’ll also see landlords and mall owners starting to add enticements to make their spaces more attractive. By making it easier for retailers and brands to find pop-up spaces via tools like this I believe it turns the competition to the landlords who now need to compete to attract those brands to fill their spaces. Perhaps incentives like offering them free Wi-Fi or other connectivity options may be something to consider.

Georganne Bender
BrainTrust

This concept reminds me of Hubba, a company that brands itself as “a dating app for wholesale buyers and brands.” Whatever makes it easier to do business, right?

There is enough vacant space in malls and shopping centers these days; filling them with pop-ups just makes sense. And it does make you think twice about visiting your local mall. Will that shop I liked last week still be there? What’s next? It’s compelling to shoppers.

Jennifer McDermott
BrainTrust

I think this is a great win-win for all. Landlords can increase revenue on unused space, smaller retailers looking to build brand awareness and reach have an opportunity for a showcase in what might be otherwise inaccessible space and the local community gets variety and potential employment opportunities. I think this will succeed.

Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

I think is a great, natural evolution of this store format. Why not bring all the pieces of the ecosystem together, eventually add a little AI into the mix, and POOF! … you have a successful pop-up formula!

Rebecca Fitts
Guest

Pop-up shops are here to stay. Retailers of both native and legacy brands are looking for shorter leases and smaller spaces. While it’s probably more beneficial for brands, developers and landlords are adjusting and even looking to attract retailers that add a sense of discovery, surprise and delight to the property.

Retail real estate pricing goes back to banks who need to evaluate properties on shorter term leases, instead of 10 year leases. I think this evolution is beginning to happen. I like what PopUp Shops is doing, but it seems like a crowed space with Storefront, Appear Here, This Open Space and many other newcomers.

Cate Trotter
BrainTrust

While some may worry that the pop-up bubble could burst, they remain a useful part of the retail mix — for customers looking for some retail excitement, for brands looking to get their start or to test something or to drum up buzz and for landlords with space to use. For a new brand starting out gaining access to pop-up opportunities has been an issue — where to start, how to find them? In that respect this is a useful service and landlords get to have a level of control over the mix of retail tenants they have in their spaces. Seems like an idea worth pursuing.

Jeff Sward
Guest

This is a great idea, even if the analogy to online dating completely escapes me. Pop-ups, especially within the context of moribund department stores, present the opportunity for creating “known unknowns.” A space with constantly changing product and presentation. Maybe akin to what Macy’s might try to do with Story. The predictability of department stores is not healthy. So build in some unpredictability. A known unknown to the customer. What’s next…? What’s the new story? What’s the next chapter? Gotta go see…!

Seasonal floor sets used to do this to a degree. Those won’t do the trick any more.

Mike Osorio
BrainTrust

Brilliant. The analogy to a dating app is valid. This is one of a growing number of sites that seek to become a “matchmaker” for entities that need something (in this case a pop-up shop) and entities that can fulfill that need (in this case a brand). This ability to sort based on criteria from both sides of that equation, the visibility to possibilities that would otherwise be difficult to see, and the mechanism to quickly communicate an initial inquiry are fun, effective and actionable.

Well done! I look forward to seeing this expand beyond Houston to truly gauge the potential.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Pop-ups serve to create newness, curiosity and continually offer different products which resonate with today’s shopper. "
"The bigger point here is that pop-ups enable retailers to expand the reach of their stores and experiences."
"Depending on what the pop-up shop sells, the “experience” could be negatively impacted by a “here today — gone tomorrow” reality."

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