Pop-up stores have come of age. These selling environments, with an intentionally limited life span, have matured into lively and colorful shopping destinations for a range of retail merchants. Helping to fuel the pop-up movement are vacancies in malls and streetfront stores that owners want to fill, even for short stays. Retailers, facing declining recession-provoked volume, are turning to pop-ups to jump-start sales. They can also test a concept or new market without the investment of a lease or expensive fit-out, including a permanent lighting system.
Typically, the budget is tight for a pop-up, and the need to generate traffic is high. The lighting program must do the basics required in any permanent retail facility—provide quality, flattering ambient light and accent lighting to enhance product—but with constricted funds.
In budgeting the lighting for a non-permanent retail installation, Randy Burkett, principal at St. Louis-based Randy Burkett Lighting Design Inc., says that a lighting program that will maximize foot traffic and make it easy for the customer to identify destinations within the store is key. “Be sure that the store entry area has brightness, but not glare,” Burkett advises. He adds that accent lighting on gondolas brings attention to displays, and a well-illuminated checkout helps time-challenged shoppers organize their trip through the store.
For spaces that are leased for a few weeks, Burkett says that low-voltage halogen lamps are a cost-efficient option. “If the store will occupy the site for a longer period, self-ballasted metal halide fixtures are more expensive than incandescent, but can pay for themselves in reduced energy expenses and fewer re-lampings,” he points out. “A 20-watt metal halide lamp can do the job of a 100-watt incandescent with the same color temperature, and will last for many thousands of hours longer.”
Pop-ups also can take advantage of the technology offered by LEDs. Burkett recommends long-lasting, lightweight LED strips that can be removed from the store at the close of its run, and put to use in another location.
American Eagle Outfitters Inc. created an interesting lighting program for its 77kids brand when it opened its first pop-up on Oct. 21, 2009. Located at The Mall at Robinson near Pittsburgh for the holiday selling season, the store—which was open for 77 days—was designed to be fun, functional and informal. A central dropped ceiling detail was fitted with flush-mounted downlights and adjustable track heads. Additional tracks were beamed on wall-mounted graphics and product displays.
Baltimore-based active apparel and footwear brand Under Armour inc. took a similar approach to lighting when it occupied a 3,300-sq.-ft. store a few steps away from New York’s fabled retail intersection of Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in December. Floor-to-ceiling photo enlargements divided the product categories, while ambient illumination was provided by overhead grids of rectangular flush-mounted, lens-covered fixtures. In between were mounted tracks for accent lighting and additional ambient fill-in lighting in the high-ceiling space.
From halogen lamps to metal halide to LED, the temporary lighting programs in pop-up stores aim to create store environments as enticing—and profitable—as any permanent locale.
-- Nielsen Business Media