8th January 2018

Pop-up Retailing:  Managerial and Strategic Perspectives

Over the last few years many town and city centres have benefited from pop-up retail, and many place managers have used its activating effect to great advantage. In a new book, Professor Gary Warnaby (Institute of Place Management, Manchester Metropolitan University) and Dr. Charlotte Shi (School of Art and Design, Nottingham Trent University) undertake a rigorous analysis of the ‘pop up’ phenomenon, drawing on theory from retail store environments/atmospherics, customer experience management and event management.

Pop-up retailing is a simple concept: namely, a temporary retail-oriented setting designed to foster a direct customer-brand interaction for a limited period, often with an explicitly promotional/communicational purpose. Notwithstanding its incorporation into the strategies of a broad range of organisations, the pop-up concept has seen relatively little academic research, which to date has been largely focused on a consumer-oriented perspective (in terms of, for example, identifying the characteristics and profiles of those consumers most likely to visit pop-up shops). By contrast, this new book adopts a more overt managerial perspective, exploring in particular, the use of pop-up retailing as a means of facilitating strategic growth by retail brands.  The book covers the entire pop-up lifecycle using an organisational schema that is split into four sequential stages: strategic objectives, pre-pop-up, actual pop-up experience, and the post pop-up stage. The key decision areas and activities incorporated in each of these stages are also outlined. Whilst the book is aimed, predominantly, at those researching and studying in the area, it is also highly recommended for senior retail brand managers and place managers who want to harness the power of ‘pop-up’.

We asked Professor Gary Warnaby why he wrote the book with Charlotte Shi and why researching pop-ups was important within the field of place management:

“Pop-up shops are becoming a more visible presence on our high streets, taking advantage of empty property. In addition, for many small entrepreneurs, pop-up is a way of market-testing a new business concept, and for many established businesses pop-ups are used for promotional purposes to highlight the experiential aspects of brands. However, this increasingly important aspect of retailing activity is not well covered in the academic literature, perhaps because of its relative novelty.  This book is an attempt to analyse the managerial issues involved in the management of what are essentially ephemeral retail activities.”

‘Pop-up Retailing Managerial and Strategic Perspectives’ by Gary Warnaby and Charlotte Shi, is out now and available on amazon 


Photo by Yaffa Phillips, used under Creative Commons licence.