November 1, 2018 /Trend

Driving consumer experience in pop-up culture

With pop-ups accumulating 5.6 more sales per sq foot in comparison to traditional stores, they offer lucrative opportunity for brands. In London, it’s all eyes on the prize with the likes of Amazon, Louis Vuitton and Diptyque all launching pop-ups in the UK capital in recent weeks.

Each year, more than 10,000 pop-ups are launched in the UK, whilst 25% of retailers in the US experiment with strategic selling format. With their popularity, pop-ups are alluring. They invite the opportunity for BETA testing, research and development, product launches and trialling.

Often with short-lived life spans, brand pop-ups can create a culture of instantaneous and impulse purchases. This tactic proved to be an impressive and fruitful feat at Virgil Abloh’s debut collection for Louis Vuitton last week. The Wizard of Oz inspired SS/19 Men’s collection was showcased in a week-long pop-up in Mayfair. Inspiring purchases driven by immediacy, consumers were shown around by a dedicated sales assistant and given a time slot of twenty minutes to browse and purchase items.

To maintain a culture of exclusivity, guests were only allowed access to the pop-up by booking an appointment. Fuelling this tactic further, consumers were offered the opportunity to pre-order products scheduled to retail in January.

Well executed, the time intensive pop-up demonstrates why pop-ups can be a winning strategy for brands. Yet, brands must be sure to deliver experiences that cater to both brand and consumer relevance.


Sheridan&Co had the pleasure to work with Diptyque as they celebrated their 50th birthday with a pop-up in Mayfair. Diptyque’s two week long pop-up also marked 50 years since the launch of the their first genderless fragrance.

Pop-ups have the potential to be experience emporiums. Trading on the physical nature of retail, sensory engagement can be prized. With this in mind, the sensory nature of fragrance was celebrated in Diptyque’s pop-up in a room titled Room 34. Here the 34 fragrance collection was deconstructed into an interactive bar that allowed consumers to explore 30 raw materials. Through the experience of a technological device, a scent is released into the air through a click and sniff concept.

Prioritising consumer experience is pivotal to delivering a pop-up. Meanwhile, consumers also had the the opportunity to create their own fragrance. Paying homage to the brand’s heritage and ingredients, consumers could also book a flower workshop. Playing to the fact that fragrance is notoriously associated with gifting, customers had the opportunity to customised their gift and send branded postcards to friends and family.

Newness and innovation underpin the fabric of modern day shopping culture. In the digital world, Amazon is a heavyweight champion. Numerous articles have documented the the behemoth’s rise. The e-tailer has nailed the user experience online, courting consumer appetite for speedy delivery and convenience. With tiered membership and diversification of both products and services, Amazon rules the world of e-tail.

Situated in Baker St, like Louis Vuitton, Amazon debuted a pop-up. Meeting consumer demand for newness, product merchandising was changed every two days. Impressively, mixed branded products were segmented by theme and style.

Service-led experience and design has become retail’s holy grail. Here, Amazon followed suit. From a denim workshop hosted by Pepe Jeans, to a yoga class conducted by Ella Mills, founder of Deliciously Ella, to a trend panel hosted by Vogue’s Jessica Diner, the pop-up experience was underpinned by experiences and cross- industry collaborations.

The brands’ digital DNA was apparent, with the appearance of iPads. Trading on the brand’s familiar digital term ‘add to basket’ adorned the walls in the changing room. Yet disappointingly, this ethos did not extend beyond the physical nature of their presentation. With the likes of Rebecca Minkoff and Reformation’s Melrose store in LA using technology to upsell product and offer recommendations, the potential of the changing room is huge. Yet, here remained a missed opportunity for the Amazon’s digital expertise to come to life.

Pop-ups show no sign of slowing down, and with good reason. They invite brands to capacity to create experiential, sensory and time sensitive concepts. As consumer attitudes continue to be fleeting, pop-ups meet this demand and allow brands to maintain relevancy in a fast paced, a
newness hungry climate.

Key Takeaways

Consumer strategy is intrinsic to delivering a pop-up that excites and engages customers. Trade on retail’s unique sensibility of being a physical entity. How can your brand elevate sensory experiences.

Consider how pop-ups can extend beyond product and can be breeding grounds for product testing, research and development

Consider the consumer journey before and after the pop-up. How can a pop-up be the stepping stone for future engagement and long term brand loyalty.

Play to time. How can you branded pop-up use time sensitivity as a key tactic to create an impulse-driven experience.