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Brief Published: 3 Nov 2016

The Storefront: Retail’s Airbnb for Agile Global Pop-Ups

Plugging into the continued relevance of the pop-up retail format, Storefront and Oui Open (online agents for short-term retail spaces, based in New York and Paris, respectively) have merged to create the world’s largest pop-up database.

Unified under the banner The Storefront, the joint venture hopes to echo the success of Airbnb – it doesn’t own any of the 10,000+ rent-by-the-day spaces, but simply provides the organisational backbone to the network. Properties range from industrial lofts to galleries, as well as traditional street-level storefronts across London, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Amsterdam and Los Angeles.  

Listing a space is free for property owners or landlords, while The Storefront takes a 20% commission on the daily rental prices. Companies already involved range from pure-play e-tail start-ups to US giants Target and Google.

Similar companies have experienced turbulent times – UK-based We Are Pop-Up shuttered in April 2016, only to be acquired by European property investors Retail Estate Partners shortly after. However, the breadth of spaces on offer reflects the gamut of businesses seeking agile, cost-effective ways to test location-specific store formats or consumer appetites in new markets. See also Beta Brandscapes, Shape-Shifting Store Formats and Pop-Ups Evolve: Tech & Social Media and Cultural Collisions.

The merger follows a series of innovative pop-up experiences this year, from New York Fashion Week S/S 17 to Ikea’s DIY Dining Club. See also Shop With Me: Responsive Pop-Up, Fan-Tailing: Touch Merch Pop-Ups, Hermès Scarf Tune-Up and Luxury Retail’s Hamptons Hit