Sitting in a cafe in a small Oxfordshire (our local) town on Saturday morning with my middle daughter, I reflected on the lack of interesting retail shops. Yes, we have Boots & Waitrose, a somewhat tired old style small department store, a cluster of charity shops and a few independents. These are all very useful for many of our day to day shopping needs, but there is nothing new to look forward to, nothing that could fall into the 'retail therapy' category. But what we do have - something that is an inevitable result of the recession - is a number of vacant retail shops. What if, an enterprising landlord found a way of offering short term, flexible leases (say a few weeks or a month at a time) to businesses like our own BeGolden? Wouldn't it be wonderful to see a different shop every couple of weeks, selling niche, seasonal and unusual products that you don't see on the high street. We know of plenty of small businesses around this area that are run from home which wouldn't want to commit to a long term retail lease, but would maybe consider a short 'pop up' style retail shop to test out new ranges, build customer awareness and take advantage of different occasions (when I was in the States in October, I saw 2 or 3 pop up Halloween stores). Big brands such as Marmite, Mac and Clarks shoes have used the pop up shop concept as a marketing technique in recent years, but why shouldn't it work for smaller businesses?
The marmite pop up shop featured in Selfridges for brief spells in 2010 stocking over 150 different Marmite inspired products, many of which were exclusive to the shop.