Temporary retail spaces specialising in a product, brand are becoming popular

What should Delhiites do when they’re in the market for handcrafted Balinese furniture or an American shoe brand not available in the country? They just wait for them to pop-up.

Over the last two years, the concept of pop-ups — temporary retail spaces specialising in one product or brand, have slowly become popular with both customers and businesses in the Capital. A pop-up, or flash retail, usually lasts from one day to three months to either offer a unique product or range or test the market.

Pop-up shops are an alternative for those who still want the physical experience of shopping for products that are usually only available online or not available in India at all. Everything from restaurants offering authentic French cuisine for a night to an affordable range of saris have popped up in the city over the past year.

According to retailers, the finite nature of a pop-up means people turn up just so they don’t miss the chance.

On Friday, a pop-up sale hosted at a store in South Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village brought together jewellery made with Brazilian gemstones, one-of-a-kind leather bags and upcycled silk capes made in Gujarat.

“Pop-ups are the way to go today,” says Pooja Duggal, who held the sale in her shoe store Fathom Customs.

With her tiny shop buzzing with activity, Ms. Duggal says her first pop-up event was a success as it offered something different. She played the perfect host by offering customers refreshments, the point being to create a friendly atmosphere for an otherwise cold, commercial transaction.

“The designers and NGOs we have here for the pop-up sale are all working with a concept, but don’t have any retail space in Delhi. It’s a unique experience for customers as they won’t find these products in a mall or anywhere else,” she says.

Pop-ups are not only about unique products but about reaching people whom traditional retailers cannot. Punit Jasuja, who runs Second Floor Studio, an interior design store in Khan Market and Shahpur Jat, was approached by male customers who said there was no dedicated space for their wardrobe needs.

“Pop-ups are about getting to an audience that we normally can’t. Marketing says that you need to see a brand four or five times before you buy it, so pop-ups are a good way to test the market,” says Punit.

Filling a gap in the market, Punit did a men’s pop-up in Khan Market in March. Lindsey Sebastyn, who works in business development for Second Floor Studio, says: “It was so successful that we extended it past the original one-month period. For customers it is about having a different or cool experience, and for us it is a way to engage with our clientele.”

At CMYK, a bookstore in Mehar Chand Market, there have been 15 pop-ups in the last six months. Rajni Chugh, retail head of Roli Books that runs CMYK, says: “We have had a very successful experience with the pop-ups. It is not just about luxury brands, products have to be affordable too.”

While summer is a lean season for pop-ups, this marketing gimmick-cum-shopping experience is not going to pop away anytime soon.

More In: Delhi