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How Pop-Ups Became A Permanent Strategy

A multicoloured sports court sits between buildings

Pop-ups, though not a new creation, are seeing a resurgence in the business landscape, this time with a twist. The modern wave of pop-ups can be linked with brands wanting to reconnect with customers after COVID lockdowns and to create experiences that can create epic marketing moments. In the current resurgence, the long-term pop-up activation is a clear winner. Above, we see the Nike x Pigalle collaboration, which consists of an Instagram-worthy basketball court in Paris. Other types of pop-ups that are gaining popularity are marketing pop-ups, experimental and experience pop-ups

With so many new businesses avoiding brick stores due to financial risks, pop-ups are becoming a way for retailers to create an opportunity to connect with customers and for customers to touch and interact with products and brands. Pop-up activations can be a great tool to launch a brand, new collection, connect with customers and cut through noise. Before you start with the creative, be sure to choose the right location. Pop-ups are ideally located within high foot traffic areas, so choose your location wisely. Think about the kind of customer you want to attract; this will also guide you in your choice of location.

What is a pop-up shop?

A pop-up shop sometimes referred to as flash retailing, is a temporary sales space that often links to product releases or a calendar event. They help create awareness and are often hosted in high foot-traffic areas. According to Buxton, they can last between a day to six months.

To-Do List:

Before launching your pop-up, there are things you should consider.

Evaluate your goals:

Look at what you and your brand want to achieve by conducting a pop-up; it’s vital before executing one and will assist in achieving your goals. Do you want to create brand awareness, launch a collection, or create a media moment? Clear goals make for better results, so don’t skip this step.

Find a location:

Not any location will do. Choose a location with high foot traffic that attracts the right consumer; there’s no point in having many people through your activation if they’re not going to take action. It can be enticing when you find a cheap storefront to go with this option, but you could end up spending lots of money and time marketing your activation if you’re hidden away.

Fit it out:

Fit out your space to house and display all items. Think creatively if you’re on a tight budget but remember that first impressions count.

Launch event:

Start your pop-up with a bang and throw a launch event. This can be the perfect opportunity to showcase your activation to new and potential customers, media, industry figures and people close to the brand. If you throw an event, be sure to capture it; photos and videos captured on the night will assist you in marketing afterwards.

Collect contact details:

Visitors can turn into long-term customers. Be sure to collect the contact details of people who visit your activation.


During and after your activation is complete, be sure to measure. Asses the money made, contacts added to your database and units sold. Doing so will help you assess the effectiveness of your pop-up and help you decide on your subsequent activations.

How To Market Your Pop-Up:


When deciding how to market your pop-up, influencers can be an effective way to get the word out. Be sure to research and ensure they are the right fit and their audience is complimentary. An ill-fitting influencer can be detrimental to your brand and waste resources, so choose wisely.

Facebook Events:

Facebook events can be a great way to get the word out to your brand community and beyond. Facebook events assist you in making your customers aware of the event but also any updates along the way; they are a time and cost-effective way to communicate on mass and on brand.

Social Media:

Make the most of your existing social media accounts and post about your pop-up.

Dedicated Hashtags:

Track coverage of your activation through dedicated hashtags. Tract posts and interact with customers via your hashtag to help cement customer bonds. Having this as part of your strategy assists you in capturing user-generated content, growing your database, and developing bonds.


Utilising a PR agent can be an effective way to help bolster your efforts. They may be costly but can also increase the effectiveness of your activation with added press coverage, brand awareness and foot traffic that can end up paying for itself.


Get the message out to your existing database by utilising emails. Emails are a great way to communicate your message to your audience quickly and cost-effectively. Send an email before the event inviting them to your opening. Be sure to include all the significant activation details so they know where to find you. Emails can also be utilised during and at the end of the pop-up to celebrate its success, thank all involved, and encourage further communication.

Types Of Pop-Ups:

1. Long-term

2. Experimental

3. Sampling

4. Virtual

5. Seasonal

A photo of a Boxpark installation

1. The Long-term:

The long-term pop-up like the one conducted by Nike x Pigalle is a relatively new form of pop-up activation, and it seems they’re here to stay. Taking the form of community add-ons, playgrounds, sporting activations, and cafes, to name a few. They are created to support the community, show customers that the involved business cares, and develop long-lasting legacies.

A Barbie pop up shop

2. The Experimental:

Create something different that cuts through the noise by creating an experimental pop-up activation. Say you are a sportswear brand with a new collection soon to launch. You could create a sporting pop-up, an exercise class in the city square or in the shopping centre where your main retail space is housed. This type of pop-up can create noise about your brand and create a viral social media moment.

3. The Sampling:

Give customers a taste of your brand with a sampling pop-up. Sampling pop-ups are an oldie but a goodie. You can go on and on in various forms about how good your product is, but, in some instances, it isn’t until an individual samples it that they turn into a customer. Be sure to be mindful of your desired customer, product and timing when conducting an activation. You wouldn’t do a sampling activation for sunscreen in the dead of winter.

4. The Virtual:

The virtual pop-up is a great way to make the most of your online presence and take the edge off COVID stresses that may occur in an in-person activation. Your virtual pop-up may be stand-alone or coincide with a physical space or activation; either way, it can be an effective and creative initiative. A custom-designed 360 virtual space can be a more expensive pop-up, but it can create a strong cut-through in a crowded market.

You could be a retailer wanting to showcase a new flagship store and collection. For this, you could create a virtual shop where customers would be able to log in and enjoy the experience from the comfort of their own space. You can include virtual talks, custom music, videos that talk to the messages you are trying to convey and opportunities to purchase.

Above Pantone hosts a seasonal café in Monaco.

5. Seasonal:

The seasonal pop-up can focus on a holiday like Christmas or Easter or a season like summer and winter; either way, they can make for an excellent opportunity to connect with consumers and attract the attention of new ones. Say you are an iced drinks business wanting to showcase your new selection of beverages; you could create an activation along the beach during summer to gain the interest of hot passes by. This type of activation can help create fond memories with a brand, assisting you in gaining long-term customers.

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