Retail Trends Disrupting Mini-Stores and Pop-Up Shops

January 15

Market disruption can come from retailers big or small and might even lead to retail trends that change the industry.  Mini-stores and pop-up shops are examples of disruption from creative and innovative small businesses.

Here are ways mini-store and pop-up shops utilizing mobile technology challenge the traditional perception that more square footage is always better.

Mobility and Market Visibility

In many ways, smaller shops are demonstrating how company size doesn’t always define efficiency and profit margin. Small companies with the ability to move around town have huge opportunities to gain market visibility and promote themselves as local niche businesses. At the same time, there are opportunities available for large companies as well because they can invest in pop-up shops for the sake of cost-cutting and becoming more mobile in the market.

Regardless of company size, pop-up shops are highly useful for brand activation campaigns and have emerged as one of biggest retail trends over the last few years. These shops allow your company to engage more with new prospects and customers in various locations that can be promoted in local SEO strategies. Pop-up shops are also useful for testing new products in the market. The real estate industry, for example, is using these short-term shops to promote virtual experiences of properties from different remote locations.

Changing Big Retailers

Several box stores are expanding their business models to embrace smaller mobile units, such as booths and kiosks, to showcase store and product brands. IKEA is one of the leading large pioneers of the small store format with its IKEA Planning Studio. This lean model emphasizes order taking and shipping directly to the customer's home. The studio focuses on solutions for urban living and provides software tools for customers that help them plan bedroom and kitchen configurations with help from an expert.

The mini-store concept also eliminates the need for people to drive to a large warehouse to shop for large home building products. Target, for example, has figured out how to penetrate communities beyond its box stores by placing smaller stores in areas that attract college students.

Creating More Mobile Retail Outlets

Retail mobile trucks have rolled into the mix of expanding physical businesses beyond the limits of its fixed store location. Stores on wheels allow for increased brand visibility throughout a city or region. Brands can also introduce themselves to a much broader market, as mobile stores can be planned strategically to target relevant neighborhoods. Pedestrians are particularly attracted to pop-up shops to check out new products, which creates win-win relationships.

Additionally, pop-up shops can attract social media attention among local friends looking for deals or meet-up places. These shops can benefit by facilitating a mobile-friendly environment that allows for the exchange of contact information for coupons or other offerings. The more mobile these smaller stores get, the more they can promote themselves as "covering the entire market" to meet customer needs. The advancements in 5G, AI, and VR will also allow for even more amazing developments in mobile retail marketing.

Because of these advantages, pop-ups shops and mini-stores are among those retail trends that may stick around for a good while. The small store format is evolving to connect stores and customers more seamlessly and digitally without being tied to a static location. As a result, customers that do most of their shopping at brick-and-mortar establishments can expect an increasing number of leaner and more mobile shops to expand into their locales.

Johannes Beekman

About the author

After 25 years in engineering, Johannes Beekman founded IoT Marketing with the goal of helping companies bring wide-scale awareness to their inventions. He received a Master of Science in Physics degree from the Eindhoven University of Technology, and a Master in Business Administration degree from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and started his career in the semiconductor field. Johannes pioneered two successful wafer fab startups for Philips Electronics; one in Europe and the second one in Asia. And served as Senior Program Manager for Sematech, where he provided solutions for semiconductor industry-wide product improvement and cost reduction challenges. Johannes has also published articles on several trade-focused websites.


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