August 16th, 2021

In our previous article we explored three popular pop-up formats so that you have the information you need to deploy the right pop-up format for your brand. We now identify several other areas of consideration before launching an experiential, travelling, or ‘white box’ pop-up shop.

Consideration #1 – Location


Ordinarily, a brand might want to launch a pop-up shop in a high footfall area, such as London’s shopping and entertainment hub, Covent Garden, or Birmingham’s iconic Bullring shopping centre. After all, brands who have launched a pop-up shop in these locations typically report unwavering success.

This was particularly true for Glossier who reported that over 100,000 Glossier fans streamed through the doors of its London pop-up over the course of two and a half months (Nov 19 – Feb 20) (Vogue), making it their most successful pop-up to-date. In fact, the pop up proved so successful with its record-breaking footfall that the beauty brand chose to extend its presence on the cobbles of Covent Garden.

But high footfall is not always everything, especially when exclusivity is at the forefront of your pop-up concept.

Meccaland – a beauty-themed ‘festival’ pop-up composed of 40+ beauty brand activations – for example, has created a brand experience that is so sought after that the advertising agency behind the limited time, Sydney-based pop-up made it a ticket-only event. Of course, the more we can’t have something, the more we want it so the move to make the pop-up event exclusive to ticket-holders further amplified the hype – causing a buzz on social media, exposure for participating beauty brands, and the Meccaland pop-up to sell out quickly.

High footfall is not always everything.


It might sound obvious, but if you are simply aiming to attract passers-by to your pop-up shop, then the footfall of the location needs to consist of shoppers that match your typical customer profile/s. Similarly, it is just as important to consider when choosing a location for your pop-up shop whether your product or service offering is suitable for tourists, or whether it is something that only shoppers who are local to the area would be interested in.


Lastly, is the brand a good fit for the landscape of the location? You may want to think twice about putting a brand that embodies tradition and heritage into an ultra-modern shopping environment. This said, a juxtaposition between tone-of-brand and environment is a sure way to stand-out.

Benefit Cosmetics, for example, launched a pop-up promoting its new eyeliner in 2019 in a chicken shop themed interior. With make-up and chicken wings seeming worlds apart, it’s no surprise that this pop-up was one of Benefits more stand-out activations. As well as serving chicken wings alongside its eyeliner to visitors of the pop-up, the brand created a fun and Instagrammable interior so that brand fans could share this unique brand experience on their social channels.

Consideration #2 – Size of space


Capacity should not be determined by size of space, nor should size of space determine a pop-up’s capacity. Instead, size of space and shopper capacity should be optimised for the pop-up’s desired function and deliverables.

Perhaps you would like to allow for product demos at your pop-up with the demo requiring a minimum of 3m2 clear floor area, plus room for a till area and/or fitting room. Or maybe you are looking to have three members of staff on hand at the pop-up with a requirement for shopper capacity to be capped so that the retail experience can include a sufficient level of concierge.


Clearly, the size of your pop-up’s available space will significantly affect a multiplicity of design choices.

Applying a maximalist concept to a very large space is arguably much more challenging (and potentially more expensive) than applying a maximalist concept to a smaller space. Likewise, applying a minimalist concept to a larger space is arguably more straightforward than applying a minimalist concept to a smaller space.

Other design choices affected by the size of the space might include the distribution of light throughout the space, and/or the configuration of the pop-up’s layout and the location of key touchpoints to curate an effective customer journey.

d4r was involved in designing a pop-up for the website and online community platform for home design, Houzz, which would be located in a converted warehouse, or London loft if you like. In this instance, the size of the space and natural distribution of light throughout the space allowed us to create a number of zones which would later become room sets designed by esteemed interior designers partnering with Houzz. d4r proposed an aesthetic that would provide a visual bridge between the weathered architectural envelope of the building and the uniquely curated zones/ room interiors. By ensuring that our design concept was perfectly suited to the nature of the space, we were able to create an immersive pop-up retail experience and one-of-a-kind shoppable reality.


All in all, if you have a space which is too small, it might make for an uncomfortable customer experience, too big and your pop-up’s presence could be lost.

Consideration #3 – Sustainability

Has your pop-up been designed with sustainability in mind? We believe the only design for the future of retail is sustainable design. Therefore, sustainability shouldn’t only be an area of consideration but a crucial factor commanding the design process – from the type of materials used, to the pop-up shop’s end-of-life.

REDUCE: How many fittings and fixtures do you need to complete the desired pop-up experience? Can fixtures serve multiple purposes or simply be designed to use less material?

RE-USE: Can you reuse furniture from your previous retail activations? Or can the furniture be re-used after this pop-up?

RECYCLE: Have you considered the end-of-life for your fixtures and fittings? Can they be recycled? Even better than considering the furniture’s end-of-life, have you considered its ‘circle-of-life’ and how you can contribute to a more circular economy as far as retail and retail design is concerned?

Read our sustainability insight report entitled, Opportunities for Sustainable Retail Design, where we identify a number of sustainable futures, explore alternative applications for a greener highstreet, and outline our contribution as a retail design agency to creating a less environmentally impactful future for retail.

Consideration #4 – Guidelines & toolkits


Most companies come to us with an established set of brand guidelines which might include a handful of brand colours, typefaces and font, a logo, and so on. These brand guidelines visually define a brand and comprise its identity. It is crucial that these brand guidelines are adhered to at physical retail, such as with the design of a pop-up shop, not least so that existing brand-fans can spot your retail activation, but also so that shoppers can become familiar with your brand and recognize your brand in the future.

We supported Hammonds with its branding by creating a set of brand guidelines, complete with logo, that would eventually support the furniture company’s website ‘look & feel’, and retail identity for a nation-wide roll-out. Read the full case study.

NEED HELP WITH YOUR BRANDING? We’ve helped a handful of companies to create contemporary branding guidelines that embody their identity and ethos as a company and brand. Get in touch.


Fewer companies approach us with an established retail toolkit that defines their brand’s personality at physical retail, ensuring consistency across all marketing activations and retail environments. If you need help with creating a comprehensive retail toolkit, we can curate a style, tone of voice, and visual identity that works hard to create stronger connections with your customers.

Following the curation of a retail toolkit for Boxfresh, d4r designed and developed an impactful ‘white box’ pop-up shop for the streetwear brand in Boxpark. The dynamic retail space used innovative display solutions – a retail design concept which would later be rolled out to European and North American stores.

If you already have a comprehensive retail toolkit, we will use this to guide our design proposals geared towards achieving your pop-up’s set of deliverables.

Consideration #5 – Goals & buying journey


Your pop-up’s design should be optimised for your pop-up’s desired deliverables, whether the deliverable is simply to sell product, raise your brand’s profile, increase product awareness, and so on. Whatever your desired deliverable, your pop-up’s buying journey should be reflective of this.

If your pop-up’s deliverable is simple to raise your brand’s profile, then a buying journey may not be warranted. But if it is on-the-spot sales that you are looking to achieve, then your pop-up might include a till area so that customers’ can buy your product, there and then. Alternatively, if it is increased product awareness that you are looking to achieve then your pop-up may simply offer product demos and invite shoppers to buy through your website.

Christian Louboutin hosted an exclusive pop-up event in key shopping locations across the UK including Selfridges Birmingham and Selfridges Manchester. This out-of-hours affair saw Christian Louboutin fans enjoy a live DJ and AR technology which placed them in Louboutin footwear, generating a souvenir selfie. By creating an immersive brand experience via the pop-up, the brand was able to raise its profile and highlight its nearby permanent concession.

Your pop-up’s buying journey will also depend on your customer’s profile/s and how they prefer to learn, browse, and buy – justifying a combination of buying journey’s if your customers’ profiles are complex and/or diverse.

Consideration #6 – Budget

The price of a pop-up will largely depend on location, size of space, demand for the space, and just maybe how aggressive you or your property acquisition team are in negotiations, among others.

Then, of course, you will need a budget for the pop-up’s development so that you can make the most of this marketing opportunity.

There is no set price for the design, development, and implementation of a pop-up shop as the price will be determined by the level of required research, and conceptual, spatial, 2D, and technical design. As well as the type and quantity of materials used for the pop-up, and the complexity of the necessary site works, such as fixture installation.

Using a full turnkey retail design agency, like ourselves, is perhaps the most effective way of ensuring that you don’t go over budget with your pop-up/s whilst still receiving a complete service. This is because we can manage the process – from the initial research and conceptual design stages, through to the pop-up’s installation and eventual removal – in line with the budget that you provide.

NEED HELP WITH THE DESIGN AND LAUNCH OF YOUR BRAND’S POP-UP SHOP? Get in touch to discuss your pop-up project with one of our talented retail design specialists.