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Traditional brick-and-mortar is a cornerstone of the retail industry. Yet, innovation continues to occur in various areas of traditional retail, and one of the most exciting recent developments in this space is the rise of pop-up retail.

Pop-up shops are compelling outlets for consumer brands for a variety of reasons, but one in particular is the opportunity they present to embark on a sponsored shopping experience. It's one of the biggest 2018 retail trends. For which types of brands does that approach work?

Pop-up stores go mainstream

If you live in a major metropolitan area, chances are you've come across a pop-up shop. Whether it's an intentionally short-lived, theme restaurant or a temporary outlet for brands to sell their products, pop-up stores increasingly dot the urban landscape.

As Forbes contributor Nikki Baird explained, pop-up stores are great ways for brands to make a marketing splash and drive engagement at a hyper-local level. The trend has quickly taken off, moving beyond its early growing pains characterized by marketing stunts to become a viable alternative to traditional retail for even established brands.

Macy's, for example, announced earlier this year that it would launch a pop-up-inspired program devoting large portions of its in-store layout to specific brands for short periods of time—even as little as one month.

Why pop-ups are the perfect fit for sponsorships

For brands that want to work outside the normal parameters of the retail industry, the pop-up model provides an opportunity to promote and sell your wares without going through the usual lineup of major retailers.

Case in point: Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle brand, Goop, has worked with branded sponsors to open pop up stores in highly desirable markets like the Hamptons in New York. Companies like Cadillac and Prada essentially underwrite the cost of renting out the space, allowing Goop to reap more revenue from these stores.

If that sounds like a deal that's too good to be true, consider everything that the Goop brand brings to the table for potential sponsors. It carries valuable name recognition with a focus on luxury products and an affluent target audience. For the cost of leasing a space, sponsors get to engage with a strong segment of their customer base and associate their brand with one that is already synonymous with premium quality.

So, is a sponsored shopping experience right for your brand? It makes sense if you can find the right sponsor to align with your brand identity and create an organic partnership. Without those crucial elements, a sponsored shopping experience could fall flat.

The emergence of pop-up retail as a legitimate force shows that there's still plenty of room to innovate in the brick-and-mortar retail industry. Don't be afraid to trial new programs that have big engagement potential.

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