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How to: Re-invent empty retail space

How to: Re-invent empty retail space

Insight Feb 17, 2020 at 3:56pm

Meet Popup Agency, a full-service agency in Sweden that connects brands with great locations – at the right time, at the right price and to the right target group. The Completely Retail Marketplace team caught up with Popup Agency, the headline Soapbox sponsor of our Nordic event, to find out more about the popup movement…

New experiences, fresh excitement

Popup retail is the genius solution for refreshing the attraction of the shopping centre and high street offering. Today, popups are a part of the marketing mix and the business strategy for many commercial property owners.

The Magnum Pleasure Store, a concept Popup Agency worked on
The Magnum Pleasure Store, a concept Popup Agency worked on

These temporary concepts help generate fresh experiences and buzz, drawing customers old and new to the shopping destination hosting the popup. After all, what consumer wouldn’t want to be surprised when they go shopping and discover something new, just as you would when you travel.

Strong brands have followers, or tribes, which they bring with them to whatever shopping destination they are positioned in. For landlords, this is more effective than any marketing channel to increase visitation. And vice versa, the brand will benefit from the exposure the hosting development, high street or shopping complex already possesses.

Popup Agency was founded five years ago, created from a love for retail and an understanding of the impact a physical store can have. My partner and I, (Rikard Lundberg and Peter Scherr respectively) both worked in commercial real estate at the time. We saw how hard retailers worked to ensure the success of their own business, as well as the appeal and energy they brought to the commercial area in which they were located.  

By focusing on seasonal retailing and popup concepts, we could support this effort and bring new attractions into the mix to strengthen the commercial offering and customer experience.

Magnum, Stockholm
Magnum store, Stockholm

The popup process

With each popup we listen to our clients’ expectations and needs to ensure they are met. For entrepreneurs, international or local, popups can become part of their business model, meaning they can develop the business step by step even just using popups.

For a new brand looking to enter the Swedish market, or to trial a location, a specific target group, a range or product line, popups are an efficient and effective way to save cost and time. It could also be a way of finding a franchisee or partnership.

For international brands that have practical needs, we even provide support with new processes including tax requirements, interior design and promotion, as well as any translations needed for marketing materials.

Infographic courtesy of Popup Agency
Infographic courtesy of Popup Agency

Offline to online

By opening a physical store, we’ve found that this helps online sales, not just local ones. We work with a lot of different partners and for each client we can provide a tailored concept to guarantee success. For e-commerce companies staffing can be challenging, therefore Popup Agency supports with the recruitment of experienced sales staff and ensuring they are fully briefed on how the brand should be represented and presented.

It’s not just newbies that ‘popup’

Because of the competition and increasing consumer demands on quality, sustainability, price and accessibility, it’s no secret that relevance is important. The popup concept is a way to trial the relevance of the new service or product to specific target groups. It can also be a strategy to launch a new range through a tour of popups in selected cities.

International brands could also find developing a popup strategy when entering a new market beneficial. For an established brand it could be a way of increasing penetration and sales both online and offline

The Popup Agency client list

One of the first concepts we worked with in Popup Agency was a small-scale start-up, Stålhästen – a bike brand that found further success thanks to their popup strategy. Since e-commerce and digital marketing was not as developed at the time, seasonal popup stores targeted to customer groups was a cost-effective way to enter the market. The brand not only built trust by showcasing their great design and quality, they also sold the bikes and built awareness which led to successful growth online.

Stålhästen Popup Concept
Stålhästen Popup Concept

From our experience of working on more than 500 popups, we can say that anything is possible and any type of brand can get involved. We have created popups for a broad range of international brands, such as Adidas, Magnum and Netflix, as well as Swedish brands including Na-kd, Happysocks, JC, Vans and Isabelle’s Market.

The Magnum Pleasure store, made by Kosmonaut and Le Pact, is the most ambitious and popular popup store we have created. This we do every year in different locations.

Can a popup become more of a ‘forever home’?

Sometimes a popup brand won’t want to leave due to a boom in sales that exceeds expectations. Some brands have stayed on for more than a year!

What Popup Agency can offer

With a varied inventory of locations and stores of all sizes, from office buildings and basements to shopping centres and high streets, Popup Agency can creatively transform almost any space.

Their partnerships with some of the Nordic region’s leading landlords mean that they can also offer locations in Norway, Finland and Denmark, as well as Sweden.

Find out more and get in touch today via their website. You can also meet Popup Agency at Completely Retail Marketplace Nordics and chat in person – they’ll be the headline sponsor of the Soapbox stage which helps new and international brands join the retail market.


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