Pop Up Stores

Following on from last week’s VM blog about Concept Stores this week’s blog is focusing on Pop-up Shops.

These are a great opportunity for retailers to pursue different types of goals: they are a neat way to launch products, to collect data for marketing research or to test a specific market or location. The single most important ingredient in the recipe of success is to set a clearly defined goal. It’s the only way to create the right strategy and reliably measure its effectiveness and success. I highly recommend working with an expert in this case, as factors such as optimal size, location, timing and design vary depending on your purpose and goal.

The golden rule of brick-and-mortar retail: the experience is everything. The past years have been shaped by an experience-driven retail trend.

It’s all about creating retail theatre, creating a memorable shopping experience for the customer which is something you don’t get when you are shopping on-line.

Pop-Up shops were introduced in the early 1990’s in cities such as London, New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo. These retail event spaces create theatre, create a fun place to shop and generate new customers, while building Brand awareness. This is a great opportunity for the Brand to educate customers, as well as connect with customers who normally shop on-line. It gives the Brand an opportunity for a Pop-Up shop without signing up to a long, expensive and complicated lease on a property.

While most Pop-Up shops are in Malls or on the street, some pop-up shops still remain physical bricks and mortar stores. In many department stores such as Selfridges in the UK, Pop-Up shops are installed and become part of the overall department store environment. It creates excitement and anticipation when a new Pop Up shop is being launched and is an opportunity to for Brands to promote a new product, or something that is on trend or even a Wedgewood Tea Shop in Peter Jones in London.

With any retail outlet (Pop-Up or Bricks & Mortar) good Visual Merchandising and Store Presentation is paramount.


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Concept Stores

As with most buzzwords, “concept store” is being used a lot in retail. So, what is a Concept Store? What differentiates one from a showroom or flagship store?

It is a shop that sells a carefully curated and unique selection of products that connect to an overarching theme. Often, they evoke a lifestyle that appeals to a specific target audience – they are inspirational.

Handpicked products are pulled together from different brands and designers, from around the world and they usually span different lines, such as fashion, beauty and homewares.

Concept stores are about discovery and experience. So, the products and design tend to change regularly to keep telling that story in new and interesting ways.

Many of them offer extra experiential elements such as a café or events space, which help build a community around the lifestyle they embody.

It is modern retail built around a lifestyle.

With online shopping increasingly the norm, bricks and mortar stores need to deliver more than just the goods. They must be experiential, beautifully designed ‘master shops’, enticing visitors off their apps and through their doors.

There are many concept stores in many great cities around the world, although in my view the best has to be Merci in Paris. Definitely worth a visit.

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Harrods Outlet Store

The world-famous department store Harrods has launched an outlet store in Westfield White City in London, where it will host end-of-season sale items.

The move is an unusual step for the iconic London store, which only has its Knightsbridge location and a few airport stores, but the decision has been taken as a result of the recent pandemic and lockdown, which has left plenty of stock to shift!

Harrods has rented an 80,000 Square foot space in the shopping complex which was formerly occupied by Debenhams.

So, as you can image there was quite a lot of excitement in the media about this Outlet store. On visiting the store, I did find it disappointing. While I appreciate that social distancing measures are paramount, the whole store was just a bit too clinical with no retail theatre to excite customers.  The staff greeted customers at the door and Security guys said “Thank you for shopping with us” as I left.

I couldn’t help feeling it was a case of “stack it high, sell it cheap” in the Food, Gifts and Beauty section. In fact, the Beauty section reminded me of shopping in an airport duty free store with everything “on offer”.

I am sure that the fashion-conscious customers will be hunting for bargains in the high-end fashion brands, but sadly the store was not for me as I left empty handed.

During my many years as a Visual Merchandiser at the store in Knightsbridge, I remember with fond memories the buzz and excitement of the first day of the Sale. With the crowds waiting eagerly outside Door 5 and Mr Al Fayed with a guest celebrity counting down to 9am. There was much excitement and anticipation as to the huge number of customers who would run to their favourite department to grab the bargains as soon as the doors opened. Now that’s what I call retail theatre. Sadly, those days are long gone.

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Summer & Tropical Holidays

Creative Download is back on Social Media, and despite updates on Instagram and Facebook, we felt it was not the right time to be compiling the weekly blog.

We are sure that many people have been enjoying home life during lockdown. This has been a very productive time for Creative Download with finalising Christmas concepts, tidying up old files on the Mac Books and planning Valentine and Chinese New Year concepts for 2021.

Thankfully our retail clients have started to re-open, so it has been good to freshen up their shop windows and in-store visual merchandising presentation.

Let’s start the blog thinking of summer and tropical holidays.

Tropical is by no means a new trend in interiors & fashion and is definitely one of the key looks for Spring/Summer.

Think lush tropical greenery and palm trees with colonial rattan and then add splashes of colour with vibrant cockatoos and mix it with gold pineapples and insects for a real dazzle of sunshine.

Everything from palm leaves, pineapples to exotic flowers and flamingos are serving a reflection of the unsettled storm-to-sunshine weather we have been having.

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