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SXSW Interactive 2013

Pop (Up) Culture

Deliberately temporary, often housed in once-blighted spaces, and enabled by social and mobile technologies, Pop Ups are disrupting the retail experience and revitalizing our neighborhoods.

In the last year, the vacancy rate of commercial space in the US has plateaued. Online retail giants, such as Aamazon and Apple are continuing to move the average shopping experience from High Street to our desktops, tablets and phones.

Concurrently, Pop Ups are a growing trend in urban centers across the US, such as New York and San Francisco. Food and retail entrepreneurs are bootstrapping their way into whatever ground level space they can get - from street corners, to food trucks to established stores and restaurants. These pop ups are not just selling products. They’re selling experiences. The one thing you can’t add to your online shopping card.

The question looms: As retail inventory continues to move online, what are the growing opportunities for pop ups to occupy our cities?

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  1. The web allows for products and services to compete on price, as information becomes more and more ‘perfect’ for the consumer. Is online shopping turning retail products into commodities?
  2. Following the previous question, do brand experiences become more valuable for product differentiation? Please elaborate.
  3. A Temporary Offering (San Francisco), Pop Up Hood (Oakland) and A Start Up Store (New York) are revitalizing underserved neighborhoods, increasing foot traffic and bolstering the local economy. What role can property owners play in these revitalization efforts?
  4. How has the rise of mobile payment technology, such as Square and PayHere, affected pop up culture?
  5. How can retail entrepreneurs design better experiences across real and digital?



Tina Santiago, User Experience Designer, Hot Studio

Meta Information:

  • Tags: retail
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Entrepreneurialism and Business
  • Level: Intermediate
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