Pop-up shops are so last year. An emerging trend for brick-and-mortars is the so-called “nomad store,” a fresh take on the temporary location of retail stores that have been cropping up in unexpected places, carrying unexpected products, and disappearing (and re-appearing) just as fast.

Embracing Ephemerality

The unpredictability of the shops are part of their appeal, and reflect the transient times in which we live, where permanence is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. The term was coined by Browns, a trendy London-based boutique, who opened their first iteration of the nomad shop in East London this fall, according to The Guardian.

The store’s interior is part gallery, part store, part cafe. Housed in a former print factory, It retained its raw, unfinished aesthetic with unpainted walls and unadorned electrical outlets, preserving an unfussy, chic warehouse aesthetic. The store’s high-end goods cater to both men and women, and the space itself is deliberately designed to appeal to shoppers of every gender. Its stock includes items from luxury fashion brands from Sies Marjan to Jacquemus to Gucci, according to Refinery29.

Holli Rogers, CEO of Browns told Refinery29 in an interview that the concept is in line with the company’s history of innovation.

“We’ve blended our love of fashion with incredible in store experiences and we’ve always ensured that we change and evolve with our customers. The store will have new elements that are tied to emotion and identity — it’s truly a sensory experience,” she said.

Browns Store in East London

Appealing to the Senses

Part of that sensory experience includes a cafe offering nibbles by Fatties Bakery, and multimedia art displays by local artists, all of which are available for purchase. The interior is designed to reflect the flexibility of the concept, which will see continuous turnover of its merchandise, which includes everything from footwear to bags to clothing to fine jewelry, creating a sense of urgency and excitement to see what’s new and, of course, to buy it before it goes away.

By stoking customers’ sense of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), and engaging them on a sensory level (unique art displays, coffee and snacks, an immersive, unique aesthetic), Browns is following the modern retail playbook (as well as adding a few chapters of its own) on how to surprise and impress shoppers. Pop-up shops have been a great way for brands to generate buzz, and in some cases, give e-commerce brands a temporary brick-and-mortar location, but the bleeding-edge nomad store concept is a new and interesting take on the retail store.

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