How To: Create A Successful Retail Experience

24 Jul 2015

This week we revealed the winners of our Space for Ideas competition. In order to help them bring their ideas to life, we are working with three of London’s best retail design agencies - Sheridan & Co., Not Tom and Marmalade London who have been sharing their insights on how to design a pop-up store.

For this week’s guest post we caught up with Marmalade London, who have worked on pop-up activities with established international brands, such as Montblanc and online retailers, such as Finery London. They’ve shared with us their 5 key points to create a successful pop-up retail experience.

pop up retail experience

Pop-ups offer countless opportunities for a brand: test new product, talk directly to customers, assess how a brand is perceived in the marketplace. It is an opportunity to show off and let your customers see you in a completely new light. And the considerations for creating a top retail experience are generally universal: make the environment inviting, make sure the messaging is clear and simple and at the heart of all considerations make sure you capture the spirit of your brand. Below you will find top 5 points we think you should consider before launching your pop-up.

Consumer expectations

A transitory retail activity inherently implies that there is something extra special going on. If the activity is being staged by a large established brand then there is an expectation that there is a new story to tell or a new product range to show – and if it is a new brand then there is the expectation that the collection or service is a new and exciting offer. For an established brand the pop-up is a chance to find an energetic new way of engaging with customers – the rebel space that breaks the brand mould. Don’t disappoint. Find that special story and challenge the norm.

how to pop up


As the name implies, a pop-up activity occurs quite spontaneously and there is a dependence on consumers stumbling across you. Without spending a fortune on advance publicity and marketing to draw a crowd, securing a location in an area of natural high footfall is key. A crowd in itself is not enough – make sure it is also footfall that best represents your target consumer demographic. Pop-ups are also an interesting exercise to try and tap into a new customer source.

amazing retail experience


Set your parameters in terms of what you are selling or promoting, and then focus your entire messaging around this. In a pop-up activity you do not need to tell everyone about everything. You can be selective and targeted both in terms of the text and visual references.

amazing retail experience


As consumers, especially in large cities, we are increasingly aware of pop-up activities. Not so long ago the intrigue of a pop-up space was enough to entice customers through the door. The more familiar we become with this genre of retail, the easier they become to ignore. Make your experience enticing by being intelligent with the layout of the space, the use of graphics, the display systems and even sound. If you have a shop window this is a primary marketing opportunity to snare the passersby. It doesn’t need to be big or expensive – just make it irresistible.

amazing retail experience

Digital businesses

A physical space is becoming increasingly popular with online businesses. It gives a brand the opportunity to showcase their products directly to their customers. Customers can touch and feel product – they can talk to representatives – and for the likes of fashion brands customers can even try on the product to get an understanding of sizing. It also gives a business the opportunity to capture the brand spirit in a tangible way – something that is extremely difficult purely on a digital platform.

amazing retail experience

“At Marmalade we don’t just make things look great. We always have a clear understanding of where you want your brand to be and how you want it to be understood by your consumers. We use this understanding to create a visual platform that instantly dovetails you into your sector in exactly the right position. This isn’t about having a big budget, it’s about having a big idea and then working with a team that can be trusted to deliver”.

– Phil Marshall, Creative Director.

Read more stories like this:
How To: Design A Pop Up
How To: Set Up Shop On A Small Budget

Find more pop-up tips in our guides.