Ten years ago, the idea of a shop that deliberately pops up for a few days or weeks, and then disappears, would have seemed a little weird.

But the retail landscape has changed massively in the past decade (check out my previous post ‘disruptive technologies’)…and the ‘pop-up shop’ is now a firm (albeit temporary) fixture on our high streets

The concept was born in the late 1990s, when a US retailer came up with the idea of selling niche stock in a location for a short period of time, before moving on to another town or city.

But it’s only in recent years that the idea has really caught on – partly because the opportunities have increased, with more vacant space on the high streets.

Duncan Robinson noted in the Financial Times recently that “the number of pop-ups in the UK has rocketed.”

He goes on to say: ”Their rise is partly because pop-ups offer an elegant solution to a persistent problem: empty shops.”

Even big corporate firms like Nike have started to get in on the act.

In the right circumstances, I think they make a lot of sense. For both commercial landlords (temporary rental income is better than none) and retailers that trade on a seasonal basis, mostly online, or just looking to test the market.

pop-ups in wrexham

We’ve seen some great examples here.

Wrexham Football Club regularly makes use of temporary space in our high-footfall areas at key times of the year.

Wrexham FC pop-up shop in Eagles Meadow.

Commercial manager Steve Cook says: “We definitely experience seasonal peaks in terms of merchandise sales, so pop-ups have been great for us.

“There’s no great science to it really. It’s about being flexible and looking for opportunities during periods when you know the demand will be high.”

Steve says pop-ups help the club reach customers it wouldn’t normally reach.

“There are people who might not drive to the football ground to buy merchandise from the club shop, but they’ll buy something if they’re passing us in the town centre.

“If you get the right location and deal, a temporary shop can be a big asset.”

Another example is Nightingale House.

The hospice has to raise around £2 million a year and has several permanent shops – but recently decided to open a pop-up on one of the main roads into Wrexham town centre.

Director of income generation, Caroline Siddall, says: ”It’s the first time we’ve tried a pop-up and it’s been a huge success.

“Because it’s only a temporary commitment, you feel you can be a bit more adventurous and try things you normally wouldn’t.

“Different products, incentives and so on.

“Another big advantage is the low set-up costs.

“You don’t feel you have to spend a fortune sprucing the shop up. Consumers understand it’s a temporary store and don’t expect plush fittings.

“We’ve been so lucky with our first pop-up. It’s in a great location.

“We’ll definitely consider more pop-ups in the future.”

the temporary nature of things

For me, the pop-up concept – while new and interesting –  isn’t surprising.

It’s in tune with the more temporary and agile nature of things today. Things appear, evolve, and disappear far more quickly than they used to.

That’s not a bad thing. It just means we live in a more fluid, faster-moving world.

If you’re thinking about setting up a pop-up, check out this article: ‘Tips on starting up a pop-up shop.’