The Business Case for Retail Pop-ups: Stay Nomadic with Shipping Containers


One of the founding principles of Boxman Studios is the idea that people are nomadic. We migrate – whether it’s from one state to another for a music festival, or across the country to cheer on our favorite team in the Rose Bowl.

The question is: how can brands take advantage of this nomadic nature without having to make capital investments in facilities, stores, restaurants, and other permanent structures? The answer lies with containers that were made to move – just like people.

Be Where the People Are – When They Are

It’s critical for brands to capitalize on situations, seasons, and events where their target demographic is concentrated. Whether your audience is in Northern Michigan for the summer, or Naples, Florida for the winter, you want to be there. When they’re not, you don’t. It’s that simple – in theory.

In practice, current infrastructure makes it tough for brands to move with their target demographics, and it often doesn’t make financial sense. You need a return on your investment. If your population isn’t there, you can’t justify the spending on staff, training, and permanent structures and facilities. Pop-up retail gives you an asset that you can take to the people. It allows you to be where they are, when they are.

A “Temporary” Solution

The business case for pop-up retail doesn’t end with nomadic festival-goers, migratory sports fans, or snowbirds that head to Florida. Being mobile means you can test different market scenarios. For example, what if you decide to spend $2 million building a coffee shop on a local corner? Based on the data, you think the traffic pattern is right; you think the population is there; you think you can sell the product.

Why not be sure? Installing a temporary – fully-functioning and branded – store allows you to gauge interest. Is your coffee shop a viable fit for that area? Is your target audience going to respond to your presence? Would they rather go to the café a block away because it’s on a more convenient side of the street? If it works, great. If it doesn’t, move.

But what if you’re already committed to a fixed space? We recommend setting up a temporary pop-up shop before construction is complete. That way, you start to get people interested in your product and start integrating your brand into their daily activity. Once you open the permanent location, your audience slides seamlessly into the new store.

This level of flexibility also comes in handy during the permitting process. For example, as a coffee shop owner you have to work with the health inspector to open the main store. In the meantime, the trained staff are sitting on their hands. Get them to work in the temporary location while you work through the permitting process.

Brands continually ask: how do we generate more revenue? How do we operate more efficiently? How do we save money? Shipping container retail can help answer these questions.

Be Mobile And Never Sweat the Paperwork

In order to open to the public, every fixed store needs to meet the relevant municipal building codes. Being mobile and flexible is a major advantage, but it can get tricky when each zip code has different requirements. That’s why Boxman Studios builds all its units to surpass the most stringent requirements in the country so that any one box can be used anywhere. And when we need to make a tweak here and there to satisfy unusual or tricky codes, we can. Seamlessly.

We operate under rigorous modular building codes so that your structure can be inspected and permitted in our shop before being shipped to virtually any municipality – along with the right paperwork.

Pop-up retail helps you move with agility and flexibility. When your audience is nomadic, you need a solution that allows you to keep up. Here at Boxman Studios we understand what it takes to design, create, and deploy pop-up retail anywhere in America. That way all you have to do is just add people.