Boxpark – pop up mall

Rosie Baker is Marketing Week’s specialist on sustainability and retail.

The world’s first pop up shopping mall is coming to London. I’ve taken issue with the term pop-up in the past and by definition since Boxpark will be open for five years, I’m not sure the term is accurate but the concept is radical and impressive nonetheless.

It’s a shopping mall, leisure and gallery space built entirely from old shipping containers. Retailers can opt for a five year or one year lease which means that it can constantly change and adapt as to the needs of consumers, and the changing societal behaviour.  

It also means that at the end of the five years, it can be lifted and shifted somewhere else.

From October the temporary shopping centre will be located in London’s East End next to the recently opened Shoreditch High Street overland station – and right in my back yard as it happens.

Dubbed Boxpark, in its marketing brochure the mall describes itself as a “living, fertile community” and says: “Boxpark isn’t just where you shop. It’s an inspiring and enjoyable place to drop in and hang out. It’s what a real brand experience should be all about.”

Boxpark seems to me an interesting concept that has the potential to do what the traditional high street still seems to be struggling with. It follows on from my column last week about how retailers are failing to deliver a decent brand experience in their stores.

It’s a fantastic alternative to the traditional high street, which in case you’ve been asleep for the past five or more years, isn’t doing so well.

It will house young and growing brands, none of which have been revealed yet, and will be built in around three weeks. Its philosophy is that it is an antidote to the indentikit high streets around the UK  giving brands a “low-cost, low-risk” option  and making a home for “round pegs that can’t afford and won’t fit into the high street’s square holes”.

I can’t wait to experience it myself and see if it delivers on its lofty promises.

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