Should you be harnessing pop-up power?

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The UK‘s pop-up industry is estimated to be worth £2.3 billion, with increasing numbers of consumers choosing to experience what pop-up retail has to offer every year.

Set against a challenging high-street retail climate, pop-ups are helping to breathe new life into our city centre shopping districts – bringing in visitors where footfall is under threat.

If you’re a retailer desperately seeking a successful trade route, these transitional trading hubs offer a fresh approach for both start-ups and big brands alike. In the age of internet shopping, they can provide a highly effective means of luring shoppers away from their tablets and into your retail space.

At Bruntwood we’ve been involved in some of the most exciting pop-up initiatives in the North West, so we’re well placed to convey the benefits of this trading model.

Mulling over a new pop-up home for your business? Here are a few reasons why it’s worth making the move:

Discover a stepping stone to greater things

If you’re amongst the many fledgling businesses struggling to find affordable retail space in prime locations, the answer may well lie in a pop-up..

Take Hatch, for example. Launched earlier this year on Oxford Road in Manchester city centre, Hatch has reinvigorated a previously empty space under the iconic Mancunian Way, transforming it into a popular food, drink and retail destination.

Hatch not only guarantees superb visibility in a high footfall area but it offers flexible and affordable licenses if you’re not yet ready to invest in permanent bricks and mortar for your venture.

Pop-up locations like Hatch, can offer you the platform to test and refine your business, building a following before committing to larger premises. And even if you’re a successfully established trader, it’s worth considering a unit in a pop-up hub – as they can be a very cost effective means of testing out new ideas and concepts.

Access business support on tap

We know it takes more than a shop floor to make your retail proposition a success, so pop-up schemes that come with added-value business support as standard can help to optimise your investment.

We provide all our customers with a range of commercial support, from business planning right the way through to delivery. It helps to ensure a nurturing environment for businesses to flourish in. Remember the potential marketing boost you’ll get from being part of a high-profile, on-trend pop-up hub too. By virtue of Hatch being managed by the team behind iconic indie shopping emporium, Afflecks, traders at Hatch, for instance, benefit not only from association with the widely-publicised Hatch brand but with the Afflecks brand too.

Stand out from the rest

Chasing trends and trying new things is what drives the modern consumer. Shoppers are looking for Instagram appeal and a sense of theatre with their purchases, so whether you’re a big, established brand or a new kid on the retail block you need to innovate to keep pace. Here, again, pop-ups come into their own.

We saw this with Amazon’s Treasure Truck, a unique and innovative retail concept that hit UK shores for the first time last Christmas.

Selling just one carefully selected item at a time, Treasure Truck’s first Manchester stop was at Bruntwood’s West Village. Our team worked closely with Amazon in the lead-up to the event to ensure a truly memorable experience for the city’s Christmas shoppers. The concept, which creates immediate demand for products through limited availability, has since been rolled out nationwide.

It’s an approach that you can apply no matter what size of business you run; launching a pop-up campaign can inject excitement, relevance and spontaneity into your brand.

Work out your winning formula

Testing the water with a pop-up space can help you to establish your market and hit the right chord with customers. We’ve been helping brands to carry out this exercise by making space available to them in a number of our office buildings. At Trafford House for example, we recently invited a host of exciting new and established brands, including florists, sportswear traders, baristas and artisan pizza-makers, to take part in a Spring pop-up event, which gave everyone in the building the chance to enjoy a unique, on-site shopping experience. Popping-up at events like these could prove extremely valuable to your business, if you’re at the market research stage.

Make a difference
If you’re a retailer with a passion for your city, pop-ups provide an opportunity to infuse energy and vibrancy into neglected and underused urban spaces. This is the vision of StreetDots, a digital platform that connects street food traders to great outdoor spaces, giving customers variety and choice.

Like Hatch, StreetDots makes use of empty or underused public space to create an opportunity for food entrepreneurs. We’re currently hosting the very first Manchester ‘Dot’, which introduces a variety of traders to the paved area at the front of Bruntwood’s Manchester One building over a six-month period. As a start-up company launched by a street food trader, StreetDots is an excellent example of how independent retailers are helping to change the face of our shopping districts.

Big brands and small are embracing the pop-up revolution and it shows no signs of slowing. Pop-ups might be small in stature but, when it comes to supporting commercial success, they are mighty. By harnessing pop-up power, we can help our businesses, cities and communities to flourish.

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