Is the pop-up store the saviour of high street retail?

Simon Fallon
Practice Director

In the current day and age of social distancing and the pandemic, it is difficult to gauge and predict the future of the retail industry as we emerge from restrictions.With the onset of travel restrictions and social distancing, we have reverted to safer more amenable shopping during times of uncertainty: online retail or none at all.

So where is the future of the retail industry heading? With many countries lifting social restrictions, will we be the same consumers of the past or will we be looking for a new ways to experience and satisfy our retail habits?

Alienware Airstream, Australia

There is one constant in retail and that is change itself!  Retail will always need to adapt to the customers whims and challenge the needs of society.  One of the most successful ways to market a brand and make it stand out of the crowd has been through highly creative one-off experiences. By repositioning the physical manifestation of the brand or the ‘movable shop window’ we create a unique, short-lived yet exclusive event space: the pop-up store!

For many, the glory days of the high street retailers and departments stores are over. Assertive tech savvy E-tailers have been taking the limelight from traditional high street establishments making strong margins with less overheads whilst still bringing products to the customer via their virtual stores. 

For many discerning shoppers e-commerce and virtual stores do not fully capture their needs for a retail experience or represent the essence of the brand they are buying into.  The need for brand presence in a physical form is still as much required as it has ever been.  This is where old ways need to meet new ways. Retail as we know it is not dead, it just needs to reinvent itself! 

A way of bringing both together is through the experiential physical presence either through Pop-ups or Pop-in’s giving a new perspective on departments stores. 

The pop-up retail industry has consistently grown to more that $10 billion* in sales in the US in 2019 alone. With little risk and savings of up to 80%* less than the cost of bricks and mortar stores, they can offer seasonal and experiential retail platforms that not only provide a flexible real life environment with brand presence… but they bring it to your doorstep too!  

However Pop-up retailing can’t stand alone as the only way for an E-brand to be seen. Bricks and mortar stores are vital to reflect their brands DNA and aspirational lifestyles. 

With good strategic planning and partnerships with creative architects and  designers, the retail sector can survive. It’s in times of crisis that we need to be at our creative best, to challenge the new normals and to embrace both physical and digital changes ahead.  

Morpheus Retail, City of Dream, Macau

Ref POPup Republic (

Ref StoreFront(