Food and Drink

Future of Retail: PopAppShop

POPAPPSHOP is a one-stop agency for brands looking to develop pop-up retail spaces. It can provide everything from design and setup to the design and creation of smartphone apps that link the online and offline experience.

We spoke to Samara and Michelle Morris,  POPAPPSHOP’s Directors, on their latest work and the retail trends that are on their radar.


future of retail: scenes from Gingerline pop-up


How would you describe what POPAPPSHOP does so my grandmother would understand?

POPAPPSHOP is an international agency specialising in pop up shops and applications to enhance brands’ marketing strategy. We help them enhance awareness, introduce new products and increase revenue via a pop up experience.

A pop up space is a venue that is temporary. The space could be used for a sample sale one day and then host a private party the next evening. The trend involves “popping up” one day, then disappearing anywhere from one day to several weeks, even months later. Although they’re temporary, pop ups build interest by consumer exposure. Pop up retail allows a company to create a unique environment that engages their customers, as well as generating a feeling of relevance and interactivity.

We cover shops of any size, sample sales, press events, product launches and fashion shows. We also provide mobile pop up structures that mimic the design, look and feel of a pop up shop that can be taken on a tour nationwide… a bit like a mobile home.

We don’t just give our clients the keys to our popups – we provide a much more comprehensive service. We always provide a dedicated account manager to oversee the smooth running of every pop up experience. This can cover location sourcing, art work and print, shop design and build, to staffing, sourcing photographers or stylists, PR and digital, social media. We can also deliver full reports, customer feedback research and applications to enhance brands’ marketing strategies, all of which provide data on the success of the campaign.


Which of the projects that you’ve worked on recently are the most innovative and future-focused? Why?

We are working on a very exciting project at the moment. It involves helping to revive the high street in run down areas via a pop up experience while engaging youths and sharing content online. It’s future focused as it’s embracing the need to revive the high street. At the same time, it’s giving young people the opportunity to make the most of their free time.

We are also working on the Ted Baker Fashion Show. We’re shooting and editing all of the  video and photographic content so it can be shared within 24 hours of the event.


What are the biggest shifts in retail at the moment?

We feel that retail has done a 360. The high street used to be just bricks and mortar. The focus then shifted to domination of the e-commerce market. Now, it’s going back to customers wanting an instant, tangible shopping experience, where they can feel or try on garments before they buy. That’s one of the reasons why the pop up is such a popular choice right now.

Consumers are demanding a lot. They want to know what you’ve done for them lately.  Pop ups serve that demand like no other format before them.

Consumers today are always hungry for something new – we live in a world of constant updates. Digital media and marketing content online has trained us to be primed for the next email, e-zine, brand update – the next vital bit of information. We expect this “always-on” status to follow us wherever we go. However we don’t want too many updates, or a bombardment of emails filling up our inbox as this can have the complete opposite effect…  It’s all about timing.

As well as having a physical presence, it’s crucial to have a digital one too. If you’re not online, it’s almost like having a shop without a window.  That’s why we rebranded to POP APP SHOP.   The APP refers to the digital applications we produce.


What opportunities are most overlooked?

There’s a missed opportunity in offering clothing that fits all sizes perfectly and are accessible to general public.  The Levi’s curve ID is a great inspiration and success story for catering to everyone.

RFID  is such an exciting technology for retail. It can provide instant social interaction and real-time engagement, enhancing the brand’s chances of being talked about and shared.  It’s a great way for friends to see your latest purchase and it’s great for driving traffic to the store or site.


When does technology in retail work well?

When it’s instant, accessible, and being used by the right target audience.

Shoppers are what make any retail concept work . This is true on all levels from the mall to the microsite. It’s only when consumers warm to a concept and start to support it that anything really takes off. It’s like the old sales adage: nothing happens until somebody sells something.

Miss Louise greets guests at Ted Baker's 'Finishing School'

How much do you think London’s retail spaces influence the global retail scene?

London is a big game changer in the global market. It has a quintessentially English approach to the market – it has heritage and diversity.

The UK and the US have a brother-sister relationship.  Each wants to ‘break the other’.  Unlike the US though, it seems that London is embracing the long-term pop up lease prospect.  London also embraces the up and coming designers in the fashion sector who go on to become the big names in  the retail sector.

Whilst sharing content is going global, the need for cultural differences needs to be addressed. For example, you couldn’t necessarily have the same window displays in some parts of Asia and the Middle East as you could in London or America.


How do you think high streets will develop over the next 5-10 years?

Here at POPAPPSHOP we predict that by 2018, 90% of retail units on the high street will be some form of pop up. Expensive long-term leases of 5 years will be a thing of the past – the high street will be ever-changing.  Retail space will not have the same historical ownership.

The pop-up is the product of a real estate contraction, a merchant revolution and surging consumer appetite. It arrived to fill a variety of business and human needs, and it is taking root in the broader retail culture.  While it may change shape, it is here to stay… and looking to be the savior of our times.

High streets must be ready to experiment, try new things, take risks and become destinations again. They need to be spaces and places that people want to be in. High streets of the future must be a hub of the community that local people are proud of and want to protect.


Which 3 people or agencies do you think are shaping the future of retail in the most exciting or interesting ways?

First of all, Mary Portas.  Her goal is to breathe economic and community life back into our high streets and town centres, to see our high streets bustling with people, services, and jobs. She thinks they should be vibrant places that people choose to visit.

PERCH is an interactive technology platform for the retail environment. PERCH attracts customers and motivates them to touch, pick up and discover products on display. As shoppers engage, PERCH reveals dynamic digital content, right there beside the product. Everything from video and product details, to social media and user reviews. The system also registers every interaction along the way, providing valuable insights into consumer behavior and the in-store experience.

And of course…POPAPPSHOP.  Our pop up shops and applications enhance marketing strategy.




Images credit:  PopAppShop