Why luxury pop-ups are a great way to reach out to newer consumers
By : | May 1, 2018

From Harrods, who did one for charity, to J.Crew and the Indian concept store, Le Mill, these temporary pop-up stores help reach out to newer luxury consumers.


Bvlgari Pop-Up, Harrods

Harrods, that paean to old-world luxury in London, which has come to define the finest of retail experiences for generations of shoppers, recently held a very successful pop-up in in collaboration with the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, at an upmarket premise on Sloane Street.

All the vintage and current-season pieces at this pop-up store came from donations by Harrods’ customers and employees, besides the luxury brands selling at the retail major. There were fashion accessories and clothes from brands like Mulberry, Loewe, JW Anderson, Céline, Victoria Beckham and Anya Hindmarch. The staff manning the brand stalls at the pop-up were all trained by Harrods to offer that perfect luxury experience.

Harrods pop-up

But pop-ups are not new to Harrods. Several luxury brands, from Louis Vuitton to Bvlgari have hosted their own little shindigs within the hallowed portals of this retail behemoth, in line with a trend that’s taken the luxury market by storm. Pop-ups are the luxury industry’s go-to marketing strategy. It is a method used by retailers to offer new product range in locations they don’t often have a store. Most marketers ensure that what buyers get in pop-ups is the fresh stuff, some of which may have not been launched in their own stores, as yet. A survey by Pop-up Republic, which tracks the world of pop-ups, reveals that consumers love these impermanent stores because of the fresh range of products that luxury brands put out. Jeremy Baras, CEO of Pop-up Republic, said in an interview, “Customers are attracted to exclusivity. They’re attracted to a ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ type of concept.”

The venue could be just about anywhere: Nordstrom has hosted its @Pop-up-in@Nordstrom at Liberty’s retail outlets in London. But several brands prefer standalone pop-ups where they control the entire deal. J.Crew has hosted pop-ups within its owns stores in New York, where they sold merchandise by young fashion newcomers, many of them winners of the Council of Fashion Designers America and Vogue Fashion Fund competitions.

Preparing for a pop-up

The location is of utmost importance. It has to be in an area that’s popular with luxury shoppers, either because of the vast number of retail outlets located there, or because of the slew of nightlife options such as cafes and restaurants.

Industry experts predict that 2018 is the year of retail pop-up.  David Ian Gray, retail consultant and head of Vancouver-based think tank DIG360 has said that pop-up retail is now considerably more sophisticated, with landlords going out of their way to accommodate temporary tenants. Pop-ups also allow brands to create memorable and exclusive experiences for shoppers.

Among the popular pop-ups in the US is the iconic Vintage Twin, which pops up between Soho, Nolita, and East Village in different years. Denim experts rummage through piles of vintage Levi’s and Wranglers to come up with that one wonderful vintage pair, which you would love to have in your wardrobe.

Natasha Saraf Saraogi

In India, pop-ups have become quite popular, with luxury concept stores like Le Mill in Mumbai, and online retailers such as Tata CLiQ, Pernia Pop-up shop, and Nattydotin hosting their offline pop-ups to reach newer shoppers, and clients, who may have not yet discovered them online. Natasha Saraf Saraogi, founder of Natty, says, “As a marketing strategy, Natty hosts offline pop-ups so that their customers can touch and experience the products.”

Le Mill pop-up

The pop-up threw up some surprises: jewellery made from concrete and even concrete home accessories like door knobs and handles by Material Immaterial Studio, wooden bowties, premium whole wheat leaf teas from Gardener Street, offbeat jewellery, Delhi based Lohasmith’s stainless steel bar accessories and copper homeware products, and Deniable Studio’s brass planters.

Bangalore’s high-end store Evoluzine, which curates the best of haute couture fashion, often hosts pop-ups at Park Hyatt Hyderabad.  Ashwini Navneeth, the founder of the designer store has found that pop-ups are a great way to feel the pulse of the market in which they have no presence, effectively creating new markets for their products.

Deepali Nandwani, former Editor in chief, Mediascope - NewBase Content, has spent 25 years in the world of journalism, and keenly tracks the global luxury industry.