Although large shows and conferences are making a comeback, we are witnessing a shift in peoples thinking when it comes to how they approach sourcing, buying and networking. With working from home and layering in limited travel and expense budgets, this has forced people to re-think the way they do business on all levels. Limited and smaller exclusive environments are also appealing as they can make people for comfortable when it comes to social distancing and capacities.
We recently had the privilege of touring the Work Better Lab, a forward-thinking pop-up showroom curated by POI Interiors and Steelcase that brought to life real solutions for the what the ‘new office landscape’ can look like. While exploring this environment, not only were we inspired but it hit home many points as to why this concept works.
Pop-ups keep us on our toes
That same mentality that comes with a brand’s retail pop-up location adds excitement. People take notice and think “what will they do next?”, “where will they show up now?” And what an exciting space to land in. And, remember pop-ups, no matter what genre they encompass can add vitality to vacant buildings and otherwise dead spaces.
Why this works
On so many levels showrooms check multiple boxes. First and foremost, we tend to think about exclusivity. Designated or limited shopping times can automatically elevate a brand or space. Economically real estate spaces may be at a premium and in turn investing in a showroom space month-to-month makes sense when it comes to the books.
Coach's Bagel's Pop_Up Shop in New York City NY. Photo: Windowswear.
Suppliers need to be even more forward thinking and accommodating
Shopping & buying on demand
The pandemic taught us many things, but it also blurred buying patterns and the ways retailers buy. Suppliers need to be even more forward thinking and accommodating for what seem to be ongoing pain-points relating to manufacturing and shipping.
The Tongue n Groove flagship showroom designed by architecture and design studio Tobias Partners. Photography by Anson Smart.
Just as shoppers love to test, try, and buy, this whole experience for a designer or retailer rings true. Being able to see first-hand how a product feels, to see the actual colour ways, and to learn about any features or benefits is a bonus. At the Work Better Lab, they even considered scent, which made visitors feel as though they were entering a clean and fresh, yet comforting and modern environment.
The Midgley Tecnica Showroom in Toronto
Equipped for flexibility
Not only can a showroom create limited or flexible opening hours, but it can divide time between different industry partners. It is so great to think that the public can tour a space but also allotted times can be set aside for designers and buyers, and of course new clients. One huge benefit is that a brand or company already has a ready space for entertaining and hosting events. Many showrooms are now designed to be modular or accommodate special events. Think launch party, holiday season or a ‘just because’ networking party.
Showrooms allow you to cancel out all the noise and provide a huge visual brand identity boost.
This is your chance to make BIG impact and say exactly what you want to say to the world. A well curated environment will entice the senses, invite imagination, and forge memories that will last the test of time. So go ahead - show us your good stuff - and consumers will show you the money.