The rise of the pop-up business

One of the interesting retail phenomena to arise from the economic uncertainty of recent years is the pop-up business. From week-long clothes shops to months-old wine bars, and from traditional selling to innovative advertising, the pop-up business is a dynamic new presence in the world of retail, and one that looks set to continue.

According to Britain’s Pop-Up Retail Economy, a report by EE, pop-up retail is worth an estimated £2.3 billion to the UK economy, and it’s an industry that employs over 26,000 people. In some towns, pop-up businesses have sprung from the decline of the high street and the numerous empty shops that it’s resulted in.

It’s a model that allows opportunistic businesses to occupy an empty retail premises on a temporary basis without committing to the expense of something longer-term – something that’s facilitated by companies such as Appear Here, the Airbnb of the pop-up business world. According to Appear Here, quoted in Retail Gazette, around three quarters of pop-up businesses are independent, and the pop-up business model allows them to take advantage of prime retail spots that they would lack the funds to secure on a permanent lease.

Not only that, but pop-up shops are the perfect way for start-ups to test their business model and conduct genuine market research before throwing more resource into refining their idea. This opportunity for face-to-face feedback can be helpful even for e-commerce businesses, which don’t have the same degree of personal interaction with customers as a bricks-and-mortar retailer. What’s more, with website traffic often slow to pick up when a business is first launched, a pop-up has the advantage of existing footfall to help drum up interest in a new business idea, even if it’s primarily based online.

Bigger brands are also cashing in on the pop-up economy, with established brands using temporary store space for marketing opportunities and often treating them more like a car showroom, as a means for launching new product lines and connecting with consumers. This can be a great way of gathering feedback that can help businesses to streamline what they’re offering to their customers, as well as advertising or selling products. Even Amazon launched its own Black Friday pop-up store in Soho Square in London, showing that there’s value to be gained from the pop-up model no matter how big or small your business is.

If you’re looking to start a pop-up business, it’s important to make sure that you have the right insurance policy in place. Your landlord will be able to explain what’s expected of you in terms of insurance, which will usually cover your contents (such as your stock) but may also require you to take out a buildings insurance policy, along with liability insurance. We can help you find a policy that meets your needs, so contact our business insurance team to talk to one of our experts about your business.