Holiday errands can bring out the Grinch in any of us. As shoppers hunting for that elusive “perfect gift” for the hard-to-buy-for person on our lists, it often feels like there’s no hope in sight. At a certain point of any holiday excursion, our feet are suddenly no longer capable of bearing any weight, our arms can hold no packages, and if “Holly Jolly Christmas” airs one more time… well, let’s just say it won’t be pretty. It’s ok to admit it. We’ve all been there. And, admitting that shopper fatigue sets in is not a blemish upon the retail industry as a whole, but it is a sign that we can (and should) do better for our customers.
Despite the madness of the holiday season, Christmas retail has historically done one thing amazingly spot on- the concept store. From the earliest open market to the common bazaar, the holidays always bring Christmas-themed shops with them, often offering up goods from numerous retailers in one venue.
Brands of All Sizes Perform Well in Concept Stores
We all know that branding is a major aspect of marketing and if you’ve made it to the point in which your consumers can instantly recognize your brand based on its product lineup, you’ve come far. The problem is, branding can be a double-edged sword because people sometimes get the wrong impression. i.e. That brand is too posh for me. They don’t carry anything that interests me. You don’t have to make a major guffaw like Abercrombie & Fitch did (the Great Sizing PR Blunder of 2013) to become an isolated brand. This is fine if your goal is to become an elite and untouchable brand, but most of us want to be known (and loved) by the greater population, which means we have to demonstrate to them how our products and services fit into their lives. The concept store does this beautifully because it gives consumers all kinds of eye candy to bring them in and utilizes a unique display style to showcase how the products meld together or fit into one’s life. Whether you haven’t yet established a brand following and want to piggyback on the efforts of others or you’d like to show the world that your offerings are diverse, the concept store can work wonders.
Concept Stores are the ‘Polar Express’ of Christmas Retail
At the same time, securing retail space often comes at premium rates, particularly around big events such as the holidays. This is one of the major reasons we see so many cohesive group venues pop up November through January. Taking part in a group concept store gives smaller brands the opportunity to gain exposure they might not otherwise be able to afford. It also serves to make brick-and-mortar establishments a more viable option when it’s possible to order almost anything with just a few clicks. I was going to order this online, but as long as I’m here… Indeed, when we see a well-done concept store; the style that offers an experience and not simply wares to purchase, our shopper’s fatigue dissipates. Our eyes wander from one display to the next. We find ourselves holding and touching products. We take a moment to put our feet up and enjoy a cup of cocoa in masterfully-planned quiet corner of the shop.
Cultivate a Concept Store- at Christmas time and Beyond
It’s not too late to get in on a pre-planned concept store for the 2016 holiday season if an opportunity falls into your lap, but you’re likely to have better luck planning ahead for a post-holiday blowout. Whilst Christmas concept stores are easy to identify (think the Designer Dublin Christmas Market, now celebrating its 5th year December 9th and 10th), it’s not always easy to identify well executed concept stores throughout the rest of the year. We’ve grabbed a few of our non-holiday favourites, to showcase what you can accomplish in just a few months.
Target Open House: The Target Open House launched at a time when interconnected household tech was just emerging. Target used their space to showcase how numerous brands could would together, including things like home music systems and coffee pots that kicked on when ‘smart’ baby apparel detected movement from a wee one.
London Beach Pop Up: Just as swimsuit season opened in 2015, the London Beach pop up launched. It was put on by Iris and had summer apparel and goods from numerous notable retailers. The launch party was carefully executed; one can easily
Arnsdorf: Although most of the time we associate concept stores with multiple brands under one roof, this is not a steadfast rule with retail. We’ve seen it with Harry & David, with Nautica’s nautical-themed Christmas shop, with Godiva’s Valentine’s Day boutique, and many other brands. However, one small Sydney-based fashion brand is worth noting, simply because their concept was a solo project and launched them into the Pop Up Hall of Fame. Whilst their shop hosted the expected contemporary apparel options, the décor was anything but. They worked with architect Edwards Moore to create a display so fantastical, it will be forever etched in our minds. The retail space got a makeover using 154 pairs of tights.
Got an Idea for Your Own Concept Pop Up Shop?
Popertee has just the venue for you. We have a wide variety of spaces available throughout Ireland, ideal for any pop up purpose. Feel free to browse our available venues or drop us a line if you’ve got a space you’d like to sublet.