The Rise of Pop-Up Stores: Investigating the success of Experiential Design through retail design

Cindy Chen

Authors:  Cindy Chen, Genesis Okkens

Faculty Mentor:   Genesis Okkens

College:  College of Design, Construction, and Planning

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explore the success factors behind pop-up shops and how this industry is providing a unique experience through using creative design elements in retail pop up shops. Since pop-up shops are defined as “impermanent” environments, the connection between consumer experience and design elements such as colors, lighting, materiality, form, and layout can provide a significant impact to raise brand awareness and potentially influence sales.
The research used an explorative and qualitative approach. Data was collected based on direct observation of six temporary retail stores in the New York City region. An observational form was constructed to assess each pop-up store in regards to color, lighting, materiality, form, and layout.
This research provides better insight on how to enhance brand identity and consumer experience through design elements in temporary retail stores. This study will help designers and companies to better understand the importance of design strategies in retail environments to create a memorable experience for consumers.

Keywords: Pop-up shops, design elements, retail design, experience, brand identity

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Dagmar Rittenbacher
Dagmar Rittenbacher (@guest_566)
1 year ago

Hi Cindy, very nice job on your board. What are your findings?

Anonymous
Anonymous (@guest_1194)
Reply to  Dagmar Rittenbacher
1 year ago

Hi Dagmar,

Based on explorative and observational research, I found that many of these pop-up stores went beyond their design and used a lot of materials as structural support such as partition design act as a wall. The materials were carefully chosen based on the concept of the store and are usually eye attracting to visitors.

The design of store were based on product collection that was being launched rather than the logo itself. Most of these companies had minimalistic branding and using elements of the product such as color and materiality and incorporating it into the store design.

The spatial layout was extremely important in terms of how a visitor flows through space as they explore. The types of product display were often flexible and multifunctional objects for product display. White walls and brick walls were a bonus in the New York retail stores and many of them utilize these walls to promote store brand by hanging frame quotes or designing them into an instragrammable moment.

Lighting was key! 5 out of 6 used white color general lighting. The use of LED light was a popular lighting fixture for decorative and ceiling fixture as well. Most retail stores provided a bright white atmosphere which made it easy for people to navigate around.

Sheila Bosch
Sheila Bosch (@guest_1508)
1 year ago

Nice job, Cindy. Did you collect your data over the summer and visit the stores in person? How did you assess lighting temperature in each pop-up shop?

Cindy Chen
Cindy Chen (@guest_4290)
Reply to  Sheila Bosch
1 year ago

Hi Dr. Bosch,

I collected these data during winter break. It was great timing as many temporary stores started to open for the holiday season. As I observed the site, I used a scale from the lighting textbook called Lighting for Interior Design” estimated the lighting temperature based on the Kelvins.

Jennifer McCloskey
Jennifer McCloskey (@guest_1710)
1 year ago

Hi Cindy, this is something I have not really considered. Intriguing research! Especially about the lighting effects. Do you think that pop up shops are something more as a fad, or something that will be implemented more as the years go on?

Jennifer

Cindy Chen
Cindy Chen (@guest_2664)
Reply to  Jennifer McCloskey
1 year ago

Hi Jennifer,

Thank You for your interest! Pop up shops are an amazing and interactive way to attract consumers. I really do think that the pop – up industry will grow throughout these years in bigger cities. Many young entrepreneurs are launching new products. It is safer to open a temporary store to test out the brand and profit before establishing a permanent store. Also with the help of social media and the young generation, we tend to spend more on new limited products as the society is approaching a more modernized world. The feeling of “must-have”, “limited edition” and “sustainable” are attraction words that attract many young shoppers’ behaviors. If you ever go to a bigger city. I hope you get a chance to explore the excitement of pop up stores!

Cindy Chen
Cindy Chen (@guest_2154)
1 year ago

Hi Dr. Bosch,

I collected these data during winter break. It was great timing as many temporary stores started to open for the holiday season. As I observed the site, I used a scale from the lighting textbook called Lighting for Interior Design” estimated the lighting temperature based on the Kelvins.

William Zelin
William Zelin (@guest_4742)
1 year ago

Hi Cindy! Great presentation on a topic that I never previously considered much. I am glad you got to visit the pop-up shops over winter break to see them up close and truly get that hands-on experience to use for your project. I am curious if you have future plans to continue studying this topic. I am not sure if it would be possible to determine how successful some of these pop-ups were in terms of sales/profits/etc., but if so, it could be interesting to study how variations in these shops affect those outcomes. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Christine Chan
Christine Chan (@guest_6122)
1 year ago

Nice research! Do you think there are any underlying relationship between the type of brands and pop up shop that causes the common factors in design? In other words, if there was already a commonality in their brand strategy that causes the commonality in design factors? And to what extent would the design factors applicable to different types of companies to create equally successful pop-up shops?