Pay-by-picture: immersive pop-ups shaping retail

Temporary retail spaces have the potential to generate buzz more than permanent brick and mortar stores; the ‘get it while it lasts’ sentiment plays in their favour, as does the financial edge – it costs less so more can be spent on putting on a big display.

According to Abigail Freeman of We Are Pop Up, “The pop-up retail sector is growing at 12.3% annually and is now worth over £2.3bn to the UK economy.”

Causing a stir

Pandering to social media culture and acting as a solution to soaring rent prices, pop-ups are the zeitgeist of 2018 retail. The temporary nature of pop-ups allows businesses to resonate with current trends and customer behaviour. Appealing to a generation that prioritises physical experiences (and social media), interactive pop-ups – especially ones that encourage social sharing – have been causing a stir in the retail sector.


Image courtesy of Studio Makgill



Birdseye, a frozen food company, opened a pop-up restaurant in London where diners could pay for their bill with an Instagram post. The temporary event was designed by branding agency Slice and experimented with the social media trend of food photography. Encouraging visitors to interact with the brand and share their image with a hashtag, promoted the campaign and increased its longevity.

Image courtesy of Slice

What does colour smell like?

Similarly, Pantone has recently begun experimenting with the idea of interactivity. Primarily recognised as a colour company, they have expanded with a pop-up exploring another sense – taste. Running in Monaco for the past two summers, Pantone Café begs the question: what does colour taste like? By stepping outside of its usual sector, Pantone has created a buzz in the press whilst getting closer to its customers. Using sensory marketing as a tool, the pop-up has a powerful interactive nature, which makes it stand out from the crowd.

Potty for a pop-up

Luxury bathroom brands Tushy and Poo-Pourri teamed up for an interactive ‘Poop-up’ shop. Featuring a toilet-shaped ball pit, a disco port-a-potty photo booth and plenty more to entertain and inform guests. By creating a pop-up with a unique and humorous twist Tushy and Poo-Pourri transformed their everyday products into something interesting and fun, sparking a huge shift in brand perception.

Image courtesy of Pantone