Ecommerce 101: What's a pop-up shop?

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Francis Pilon

This post of part of our Ecommerce 101 series which explores online commerce concepts and practices in plain English.

In this article, we take a look at a relatively recent and still trending phenomenon: pop-up retail. We will discuss what they are and how they can benefit and supplement online commerce.

While not strictly ecommerce related, pop-up shops allow online retailers, alongside their brick-and-mortar counterparts, to have a temporary physical presence and to connect in person with their customers.

These short-term sales spaces, sometimes referred to as retail flashing, can be used for a number of purposes. It could be a pure marketing coup, but it could also be an opportunity to test new products, get rid of older inventory, attract new market, build community, and so on.

While these pop-up stores can be in one location for only a few days (such as the upcoming Shopify Pop-Up Village at the Northside Festival in Brooklyn), some are around for weeks, while others even end up becoming permanent.

Contradicting on some level the first sentence of this article, one could argue that “pop-up shops”, although named differently, have been around for years: Christmas trees sales in the neighbourhood schoolyard, farmers markets, commercial street fairs, etc.