Pop Up Retail Store Design Tips

By Sam Iontton10/06/2021

Pop up stores are becoming increasingly popular for many businesses. They’re proving to be a successful way for brands to increase customer engagement, promote a new product or range and boost brand awareness with the public.

According to one survey, 80% of companies that have done so consider it a success. So what are the secrets to a successful pop up retail store design? Here’s what you should be keeping in mind.


1. Get your aesthetics right

The aesthetics of your pop up shop will have a significant impact on its success. This is an opportunity to engage with potential new customers and boost brand awareness, so ensure your pop up store retail design both embodies your brand and appeals to your target market.

From colours and decor to your choice of location, these all need to be carefully considered. Take inspiration from Glossier. With its Covent Garden pop up store, the cult make-up brand took its demographic, London location and design schemes into account to create what its founder and CEO described as ‘an immersive and enduring experience that looks at the city through Glossier-coloured glasses’. The result? The store was a huge success and was extended from three months until the end of the year.

2. Plan your layout

The layout is another vital aspect of pop up retail design. Choose a layout that will guide your customers’ journey through your store and determine what they encounter. You want to encourage your customers to linger and interact with your products, so introduce eye-catching displays that act as speed bumps to slow down their journey. The four common store layouts are:

  • Herringbone – This layout has short aisles on either side and space in the middle of the room.
  • Grid – Often used in supermarkets, this layout has long rows with promotional products placed at the ends of aisles.
  • Loop/racetrack – Used by the likes of IKEA, this layout has a closed-loop, set course for customers to take.
  • Free-flow – With no set layout, this option allows customers to explore more freely.

An excellent option for your pop up shop is the loop/racetrack layout, as it allows you to control how and when your customers come into contact with your products. It’s also the best for slowing your shoppers down and creating an immersive experience. However, if you’re quite short on space, the free-flow layout can be a great option too.


3. Choose the location carefully

Location is also crucial to get right. This can affect not only the atmosphere of your pop up store but also which customers it attracts. If you’re considering making your pop up store a permanent feature, this is also an opportunity to test the location’s success.

To reach your target market, do your research into the areas they frequent when shopping. Choose somewhere that your customers can find easily and that also encourages interest from passers-by. Too out of the way, and you won’t attract new customers.

4. Create an experience

One of the biggest goals of your pop up retail store design should be creating an experience for your customers. Dubbed ‘retailtainment’, this is a massive retail design trend and ideal for pop up shops. Creating an immersive, unique and fun experience in your pop up shop will help create a buzz about your brand and encourage word of mouth referrals. Your pop up shop should be exciting and experiential, so get creative and think of a way in which it can leave a lasting impression. This could be:

  • Offering an exclusive service only available at your pop up shop
  • Selling limited-edition products to snap up
  • Hosting live music events
  • Providing refreshments
  • Encouraging photo opportunities

One or more of these will help make your pop up store feel like an experience rather than a typical retail shop.


5. Encourage social media

If you create an experience for your customers, you’ll also be maximising the chances of generating social media engagement. Encouraging customers to share their experience on Instagram and other social platforms is unrivalled for building hype about your pop up and your brand in general.

To ensure your pop up retail design is worthy of a share on social media, you need to give customers something to capture! One of the easiest ways you can do this is by creating designated areas for photo opportunities, such as feature walls for customers to pose in front of or attractive displays that draw attention from your customers – and their smartphones.

Above all, remember your pop up store should focus on creating the wow factor for your customers. This is your chance to make an impression, whether it’s to boost your brand visibility or promote a new product line! The experience for your customers should be a different one to the high street and one they’ll want to talk about.


Follow these pop up retail design tips, and you’ll maximise the success of your pop up store. To ensure your pop up store looks the part, explore our broad range of display and merchandising options here at Displaysense.