7 Outstanding Examples of Creative Pop-Up Stores

Pop-up stores are the ideal opportunity to increase brand awareness and to generate sales. It's also the ideal way to demonstrate creativity and innovation.

The retail industry has undergone a lot of changes the past decade. Retail isn’t just about selling products anymore. The industry has shifted its attention towards selling memorable experiences via the means of a streamlined omnichannel experience. Key components are an optimized mobile experience, personalization and experimenting with different mediums like for instance pop-up stores.

Many brands and retailers already launched a pop-up store that successfully generated a lot of buzz. Linda Farha, Founder and Chief Connector at pop-up go, explains why she thinks pop-up stores are so successful:

Pop-ups create an air of excitement due to their temporary nature, and also allow retailers to test out new concepts and new locations prior to opening permanent stores. […] Pop-ups are not only a tool to generate sales, but may also serve to create an experiential component that can bring a brand to life. (Source: Retail Insider)

Numerous brands and retailers have already taken the leap with interesting pop-up concepts. However, some brands stand out more than others and that is because of their original take on pop-up stores. So, to inspire you, we’ve curated a list of retailers and brands that opted for an innovative and creative approach to the pop-up store (hint: they all have something in common).

Pantone

Pop-Up Stores: taste Pantone's iconic colors at their Pantone café in Monaco or Paris.

Source: Coolhunting

Color-expert Pantone thought to itself, why not try to associate sight with flavor so you can taste your favorite color? The brand stepped out of its comfort zone by expanding into the food industry and by offering food and beverages in Pantone’s classic colors. Working with leaders in the sector such as Christophe Adam, Vergnano and Yumi, the Pantone Café has popped up in Monaco and Paris to offer pastries, lunches, coffees and delicious looking fresh juices branded with Pantone’s iconic colors.

Hermès

Pop-Up Stores: Hermès' orange washing machines dye your silk scarf in a fresh new color.

Source: WWD

Hermès chose their signature orange to be the focal point of their Hermèsmatic pop-up store that travelled to metropolises all around the world. The brand invited customers to bring their own silk scarf or buy a new one in store and give it a new life. Washing machines in the brand’s signature color dye the scarves intense violet, denim blue or bright fuchsia pink and a dryer restores your new scarf to its original softness. Your new scarf is ready within 48 hours and that free of charge.

Birchbox

Pop-Up Stores: make your own beautybox at Birchbox and enjoy a free manicure!

Source: Racked

The makeup subscription company was an online-only brand until it decided on opting for pop-up stores. This was the ideal opportunity for Birchbox to interact directly with their fans and to show off the new products they had in store for their customers. The Birchbox’s Tour went on a tour across the United States to take their brand to the next level. Customers could not only compose their very own beauty box, but could also enjoy the live music, free manicures and astrology readings Birchbox had to offer. The company also surprised customers with book signings, free ice cream and meet-and-greets with famous actors and bloggers.

Nike

Pop-Up Stores: Q&A and Shoe Designing Session with Kobe Bryant

Source: Highsnobiety

Nike opened its ‘Makers of the Game’ pop-up store in Los Angeles to kick-off the NBA All-Star Weekend. The pop-up store was a must-visit for customers that wanted to express their style and individuality. Visitors could choose from a wide variety of activities: playing basketball on a full-size basketball court, Q&A sessions with Kobe Bryant and shoe designers, and appointments to create a one-of-a-kind custom pair of sneakers from Nike’s 90/10 collection. This last activity, where designers – and even Kobe Bryant – aided customers in personalizing their own unique pair, was the major draw of the pop-up store.

Benefit

Pop-up stores: Benefit opens 50's inspired pink beauty salon. Curls, cupcakes and cocktails present!

Source: Echochamber

For the launch of its new Roller Lash Mascara, Benefit opened a one-month only pop-up store in SoHo, which was inspired by a traditional 1950’s beauty parlor. The pop-up beauty parlor “is a place for girls to celebrate the power of curls […] and ooze girliness, with a scrumptious menu of cocktails and cupcakes to choose from” (Source: Benefit). Besides a cocktail bar, Benefit also offered several fun activities in the pop-up shop such as a beauty salon and a curl station. Bonus: the bright pink storefront lured in many new customers who were intrigued by the vivid color.

Nando’s

Pop-up stores: Nando's turns their restaurant into South-African art gallery.

Source: Between 10 and 5

While Nando’s is known for its PERi-PERi chicken, they are less known to be of South African origin. To address this issue, the company decided to turn their Soho restaurant into a pop-up art galleryThe Feast Your Eyes exhibition displayed artwork by seven South African artists – Henk Serfontein, Zemba Luzamba, Shakes Tembani, Patrick Bongoy, Norman O’Flynn, NomThunzi Mashalaba and Marlise Keith – which were handpicked by Nando’s themselves. Visitors to the restaurant could enjoy a special menu and could learn more about the artists through VR headsets. Moreover, customers were able to buy the artwork. The pop-up art gallery also held a series of workshops on macramé, zine making and mosaic making.

Outdoor Voices

Pop-up Stores: example of 'playground' in Outdoor Voices' pop-up store.

Source: Vogue

The activewear clothing label Outdoor Voices is always talking about ‘doing things together’ so that’s exactly what they decided to do in their pop-up store in Manhattan. The brand created an experience to get people moving in Outdoor Voices’ clothes: “The main piece will be a big mat, like a gym mat, but really thick, with big, soft, ergonomic shapes. We’re calling it a playground. We wanted to have a place where people could try the clothes on and move in them” (Source: Vogue). The store offered her customers to participate in jogging groups, yoga sessions, basketball games and even dog-walking.

Creative pop-up stores are here to stay.

All of these brands’ pop-up stores have something in common, and you might have picked up on it already. These brands and retailers don’t necessarily ask their clients to buy their products, no. The main element that all these pop-up stores have in common is … engagement. These brands and retailers do so much more than selling you their products: they want to engage their customers with their brand, they want to give them a chance to take part themselves.

Engagement makes or breaks your pop-up store. Hermès asks to bring your silk scarf and give it a new life. Nike arranges a designer session with Kobe Bryant himself. Outdoor Voices pushes you to do yoga together in their pop-up store and Nando’s immerses you in South African art. These pop-up stores welcomed a lot of enthusiastic new customers who had a memorable, unique and immersive experience with the brand, its values, its employees and its products.

Which idea do you think would work best for your business? Any other creative ideas on how to create a memorable pop-up store experience that engages your customers? Share which was your favorite idea!