Co-op in the community


Pop-ups are now, in retailing circles, a fairly ubiquitous idea. But at times, they are perhaps an overused promotional vehicle.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m happy to accept client briefs to design pop-up stores – but before embarking on a brief, it’s important to question whether they are always the right type in the right place at the right time.

Never have I been more convinced of the true value of the pop-up store in the right circumstances, as when The Co-operative Group popped up on my village green recently (Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex).

The village’s permanent Co-op store suffered a fire in September (2016), so the group opened a pop-up store on the tiny village green, allowing residents to continue to buy their (slimmed down) groceries whilst the clean up operation was carried out. It’s not a first – the Co-op has launched similar initiatives before in Appleby – but it was the first time I had experienced the format first-hand.

I’m not sure the temporary store has helped mitigate the group’s lost sales entirely, but for me, it’s about so much more than that. If there was ever a way for a retailer to demonstrate in a really practical way that they are well and truly at the heart of the local community, this is it: this pop-up is delivering continuity and reassurance to shoppers – values that a brand simply cannot buy, but instead, must seek to earn. Sometimes the most effective things are borne out of necessity. Good job, well done!

Tony Lock – MD, Sherlock Studio

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