No Author Information Available

POP-UP STORES: More Big Brands Choosing Small Retail


The little pop-up store is earning its rightful position in the big marketing playbook.  Once reserved for edgy fashion designers and artists, more big brands are using temporary pop-up stores to address big marketing challenges.  

Here are just a few recent examples.

  • United Healthcare just rolled out 1,400 kiosks in shopping malls, as well as 30 temporary pop-up stores, all opened with the goal of signing up seniors in the company’s Medicare plans.
  • Toys R Us is partnering with Macy’s and operating two-dozen 1,500 square foot pop-up stores inside the department stores offering dolls, action figures, and other popular toy pickups—and will disappear soon after the shopping crowds are gone.
  • PBTeen, an offshoot of Williams-Sonoma, is running five pop-up stores in locations such as Durham, Houston, and Miami where design specialists will “help teens choose their favorite patterns and styles to create their own unique bedrooms and lounge spaces”, all to help convince their parents to buy them this stuff.
  • eBay enlisted former Elle Décor editor-in-chief Marian McEvoy to organize the Showcase in New York City, inviting eight designers to each make over a different room. Designers, given a budget of $100k had to purchase furnishings and accessories exclusively from the online auction website. All of the furnishings were resold on eBay during the time that the eBay Showcase was open.

And the latest pop-up grabing headlines and attracting big crowds is Microsoft's holiday pop-up stores at malls across America to promote the new OS and the Surface RT. 

Here's what one observer had to say when he visited the pop-up at at Aventura Mall in Miami, Florida.

"The Microsoft team had set up a kiosk in the center aisle. When I arrived, the place was bustling with folks seeing Surface for the first time. A good number of people were waiting in line to claim their reserved tablets as well. Microsoft employees bustled from customer to customer extolling the virtues of Live Tiles and promising that more apps were on the way.

When I arrived, I was quickly shuffled by PR to the manager of the Microsoft store, Kyle. He was, in his Lumia 900-like cyan shirt, about what you’d expect from a Microsoft rep, but when pressed, he became refreshingly frank. I asked him what the core objective of the pop-up store was. He told me that it wasn’t sales. He quickly asserted that sales were important, but that was a caveat. Kyle told me that the primary objective given to him was to get folks to touch the Surface and Windows 8. After that, he drained the PR-speak swamp completely, “This is about consumers having a great experience with Microsoft that they may not have had in a long time.” My eyes went wide. He said, “Yes, really.”

In the early days, the pop-up store was more of a one-off tactic than anything else. But Microsoft's effort is emblematic of what we're seeing in the industry generally -- making the pop-up store an integral component of a much larger marketing effort. In fact, some analysts predict that pop-up stores will be one of the most important elements of a successful retail marketing campaign in the years ahead.
As a result brands and retailers are asking questions like: 

  • What role should a pop-up shop play in the overall marketing mix?
  • What's the best approach for activating a pop-up store strategy?
  • What are the industry best practices that I can leverage?
  • How do I establish a proper budget for a pop-up store campaign?
  • What are the key measures of success?

Clearly, every brand is different, and what’s right for Microsoft may not be right for your brand. But there is a clear need for a more strategic planning framework as more brands consider op-up stores as a key component of their channel marketing plan.

If you are interested in developing a pop-up store concept for your brand, please contact us.

Th Hood pop-up store solution includes:

  • strategic analysis and planning
  • layout, design and concept renderings
  • full exterior and interior engineering, graphics and signage
  • fabrication of walls, floors, counters, kiosks, merchandise fixturing either custom or catalog
  • technology solutions, including touchscreens and monitors, social media kiosks, and photo/video activation
  • freight management and tracking
  • installation breakdown and storage
  • site selection through our network of real estate partners and location scouts

More about Hood Branded Environments

Hood envisions, designs and produces immersive branded environments that help our clients deepen engagement with their customers.

We've been in business for 20+ years. We started out making trade show exhibits and museum fixtures, and we’ve grown into retail and multi-channel experiential projects, including pop-up stores.

We’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the biggest, most exciting brands on the planet like Sony, Levi’s, Coors, Francis Ford Coppola and David Copperfield.

For more information, visit our website at

Free Whitepaper

5 things you can do now to take cost and complexity out of your trade show exhibit budget.

» Download Now

contact hood

Request A Consultation

If you have a project in mind, we’d love to wrap our collective minds around it. Give us a call and we’ll assign a project team and give you a one-hour consultation at our expense.
phone 510.965.9999