Popertee website seeks locations for pop-up businesses

Service provided by Irish company described as ‘Airbnb for retail properties’

 

An Irish company matching potential pop-up locations with businesses is seeking suitable properties and venues.

Popertee has 50 properties signed up to its brochure website, but is anxious to increase this number. The company describes itself as “similar to Airbnb for retail properties”. Landlords list their properties for free on the site and decide themselves whether to accept or decline a business interested in the space. Businesses can browse, consult or book spaces through the website.

Popertee makes a 10 per cent commission on each letting, 5 per cent from the property owner and 5 per cent from the renter. As bricks-and-mortar shopping has come under pressure from the migration to online retail, the market for pop-up shops – where retailers can test a product or sell seasonal goods – has exploded. One recent survey suggests that one-third of all new retail businesses will soon be pop-ups.

The sector has a number of benefits for retailers. Pop-ups are cheap and don’t involve a long-term commitment; they generate a buzz, especially when outlets specialise in seasonal goods (Halloween, Christmas, Easter and St Patrick’s Day stores); they allow retailers to test markets; they encourage spontaneous buying; and they assist brand extension.

“A pop-up doesn’t just have to be a vacant retail premises,” says Popertee founder Lucinda Kelly. “We have clients looking for unique venues – such as historic buildings, parks, warehouses, galleries and streets – so we would welcome any kind of a space that businesses could pop up in.

“We are getting inquiries from large global brands through to artisan brands and craft makers, and we can cater for all. We are also offering pop-up space within existing businesses, a store within a store. By allowing a brand pop up for a few days within your current business, you can attract a new type of customer and really increase footfall.”

Ms Kelly, a former mobile manager of gaming at Paddy Power, says Popertee is focused on the Irish market but plans to expand to the UK by the end of 2016. The company has been accepted on three business accelerator programmes (Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers, NDRC Launchpad and the AIB Start-Up Academy) since it was founded late last year.

“The pop-up phenomenon has exploded in recent years, and in the UK alone there were £3 billion (€3.9 billion) of sales through pop-ups last year,” Kelly says. “This is set to grow further as not just retail but also sectors such as technology, energy and government see how they can reach customers through pop-ups.”