In Season Pop-Up Shops

Mass retailing today does not meet the changing buying patterns of the American consumer, who has been buying closer and closer to her need for many years now. This trend has only been amplified by the recession and the consumer’s lack of discretionary spending funds.

Despite this trend retailers stand by their traditional merchandising calendars and seasonal merchandising approaches. Back to school starts arriving in late May for initial setups in June, before most kids have even been let out for the year. Christmas and other seasonal holiday goods are “on the water” over the summer, begin hitting the sales floor in late August, and set up completely in September.

There are a lot of reasons for this. Retailers know that the first sale is the most profitable and that early indications on upcoming seasons are critical to allowing either re-orders of trending items or cancellations of things that look like they could be “dogs”. They also know that chasing a season can be very expensive as the last buy is the one that ends up in the markdown bin, potentially ruining a season’s profitability for a buyer. This is a key reason why experienced merchants are willing “to go home early” and leave the in-season sales to others. And therein lies the opportunity for a brave entrepreneur.

The rise in acceptance by landlords to “Pop-Up Shops,” driven overall by the extra retail storefronts available across America, further facilitates this novel approach.

Selling and offering large assortments of swimwear in July and August not just near the shore but in large cities is a business that would have virtually no competition. Similarly other summer goods, such as beach chairs, umbrellas and the like, have all been replaced by fall apparel in the nation’s retailers by the time most of get to an August vacation. We want it, we need it, but we cannot find it.

This strategy isn’t without its challenges. In season Pop-Up Shops would either have to transfer their ending inventory to another in season shop operating in another seasonal market, or pack it away until they re-open for next year’s same season. Alternatively, a well planned In-season Pop Up shop could morph from one merchandising focus to another, throughout the calendar year. Imagine closing for a week to shift from a bathing suit Pop-Up shop after Labor Day to a Halloween pop-up shop on Sept. 15th. This would add excitement to the location and keep a work force employed throughout the seasons. And perhaps, most importantly, garner increased loyalty from a consumer who would finally be able to shop for the things they need when they actually need them.