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The Pop-Up Trend Shows No Sign of Slowing Down

The Pop-Up Trend Shows No Sign of Slowing Down

3 Minute Read

·         Pop-ups create a sense of urgency with consumers which sparks an increase in brand awareness.

·         Pop-ups provide the opportunity to test and learn in new markets and allow brands to showcase a new side to consumers.

·         MKTG looks at the future state of pop-ups: More pop-ups are launching in existing retail stores and e-commerce brands are investing further in this category in order to create a physical experience for consumers.


Last year, we discussed at our roundtable the prevalence of pop-up stores and how this activation technique was being used by a variety of brands from Haagen-Dazs to Heineken. The trend continues to explode as brands continue to implement more innovative pop ups such as American Express' recent pop-up restaurant in Toronto in collaboration with Chef Gordan Ramsay and other notable chefs from across Canada. Brands have been using pop-ups to test and sell products in any market and garner brand awareness quickly. With these reasons and more, MKTG breaks down some key benefits brands are experiencing from implementing pop-ups in their strategy.

Creating a sense of urgency with consumers sparks an increase in brand awareness

Pop-ups are only open for a limited time which execute the principle of scarcity. Consumers are motivated by the thought that they might miss out on an opportunity also known as FOMO. The limited time call to action sparks an increase in brand awareness within a localized market where it is common to see crowds and high traffic at the pop up location. This craze causes an increase in media coverage from publications and an increase in word of mouth, which are value add for brands.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar launched pop-ups in select cities that coincided with his 2018 Summer tour. These pop-ups were titled The Championship Shop where consumers could purchase limited edition tour merchandise and items from his Nike collaboration. Check out what the line looked like outside Toronto streetwear retail store, Livestock.

 Source: Narcity

Source: Narcity

Pop-ups provide an opportunity to showcase a new side of your brand to consumers

Pop-ups allow brands to position themselves in a new light with consumers. Kit Kat launched a pop-up in Toronto, the KitKat Chocolatory, which allowed consumers to customize their Kit Kat with new flavours and toppings, something Toronto has never seen before at a retail level from the brand. The pop-up (the only one in Canada) was located in the trendy neighbourhood of Queen West which may have been an attempt to reach a new demographic of millennials.

Kit Kat is a consumer packaged good and does not control the retail environment. The pop-up allowed Kit Kat to create a brand experience and control how consumers interacted with the brand. The pop-up also allowed Kit Kat (which typically has only marketed its traditional flavours in the Canadian market) the opportunity to excite consumers with new flavours, appeal to a new demographic and showcase a new customizable side.

Pop-ups allow brands to test and learn in new markets

Before officially entering the Canadian market, Japanese home décor and clothing retailer Muji launched pop-ups in select cities (one of the most notable launches was in Vancouver) which was an attempt to test and learn.

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Though these pop-ups, the Japanese brand could determine how receptive and successful their brand would be before launching official retail stores in select Canadian cities. Brands like Muji that launch pop-ups are able to gain valuable information such as: what products sell more and consumer profile information on who attended. Pop-ups offer a strategic and low risk option for a brand entering a new market in comparison to a permanent retail store.

Where the pop up world is headed…

Pop-ups within existing retail stores – Traditional retailers are lending their space to trendy vendors. For example, Instagram-hyped Charcoal soft serve brand iHalo Krunch, has taken up space at LuluLemon‘s flagship store in Toronto. Also, Nordstrom has launched a monthly reoccurring pop-up series titled “POP-IN@NORDSTROM” where shoppers will see pop-ups from emerging and established brands such as Allbirds, Everlane, Nike, Topshop/Topman, Aesop, Opening Ceremony and more.

More E-Commerce brands are investing in pop-ups to create a physical experience for consumers – Pop-ups provide the opportunity for brands operating online to connect with consumers on a different level through a live experience. Gwenyth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand goop, has recently begun to invest in physical stores where consumers can interact with her products. These pop-ups use the same creative team that Gwenyth uses to design her own homes which allows consumers to truly experience her brand.

Picks of the Week: July 2, 2018

Picks of the Week: July 2, 2018

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