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Luxury Daily |  March 11, 2020 

Department store chain Bloomingdale's has opened the doors to its annual pop-up, The Carousel, with an international theme of handcrafted pieces and unique international finds based on the theme: World Bazaar.

Pop-ups often take branded retail to the next level, allowing influencers and brands to create an immersive shopping experience for affluent consumers that increase traffic into the store. This year's edition was specially curated by Karla Martinez, editor in chief of Vogue Mexico and Latin America.


"The Carousel @ Bloomingdale's is a rotating

concept shop that changes themes every two

months," said AnyaDeweerdt, director of

unique merchandise initiatives at

Bloomingdale's, New York.


"The idea is to introduce the Bloomingdale's

customer to new and exciting brands that

they may not know we carry or be able to find

somewhere else," she said. "The Carousel

takes customers on a journey of guided

discovery of new brands and experiences brought together by a guest curator."


Global Spin

The 10th installment of the retailer's immersive shopping experience, World Bazaar opened on March 5 and will run through May 3 in select Bloomingdale's stores and on  World Bazaar will include a floral bouquet bar and global food options. The retailer will host events and activations in the space over the next few weeks.


"The rotation of the shop gives us the opportunity to continually grow and enhance the customer experience," Ms. Deweerdt said. "We've learned that our customer really responds to unique merchandise they can't find anywhere else, as well as the opportunity to explore a mix of product across multiple price points," she said.

Popping Up All Over

Bloomingdale's launched its Carousel pop-up store in 2018, following in the tradition of European department stores . The Carousel @ Bloomingdale's is a 1,000-square-foot rotating pop-up shop that is hosted in four locations in New York and California, curated by guest tastemakers.


"For brick-and-mortar retailers, there is a constant need to generate excitement and drive foot traffic at their stores," said Ryan Grogman, managing partner at Retail Consulting Partners, Boston.


"Seasonal merchandise and period sales events are the reliable but predictable approaches to promoting the idea of new products and discounts to existing and new customers. However, forward-thinking retailers recognize that there are more creative ways to generate buzz and give consumers a reason to spend time in their locations," he said.


Grogman continued "In-store pop-ups, or pop-ins as they are sometimes referred, provide a unique way to entice shoppers with a curated selection of merchandise which is on-brand for that retailer's base. These in-store pop ups create a sense of freshness and newness of available products, while also generating a feeling of exclusivity when coupled with a known end date for the concept. Bloomingdale's 'The Carousel' approach, which sees the pop-ups rotate in and out based upon a pre-determined schedule, provides a consistent cycle of promotable experiences for the retailer."


Similarly, LVMH-owned French luxury retailer Le Bon Marché hosts an annual pop-up in the spring. Christian Louboutin hosted a temporary boutique with an homage to Paris' sights, including the black-and-white checkerboard floor at Galerie Véro Dodat, in 2016. The pop-up let visitors share a scooter ride with the brand's eponymous founder. 


This year, the Parisian department store transformed into an Italian hotel as part of a new exhibition called "À Deux C'est Mieux" (Better Together), a strategic curation aimed at luring affluent consumers seeking cultivated experiences when they shop. The store is curated with displays of products that are best enjoyed while sharing them with another person. The exhibition was put together by Morgane Sézalory, founder of the Sézane label, and Morgane Ortin, the force behind the "Amours Solitaires" Instagram account, whose collection of anonymous romantic text messages has been turned into a book (see story).


Also, British department store Selfridges opened a rotating Corner Shop at its London flagship on the corner shared between Oxford and Duke Streets during the holiday season of 2017. Since then the regular pop-up has been taken over by luxury brands Fendi, Bulgari and Burberry.


"The pop-up concepts and styles create an influx of new, but lifestyle-aligned merchandise and products from creative new designers who are often independent and local, or from existing buyers looking to establish a unique offering in the store through themed collaborations," Mr. Grogman said.


"As the digital world continues to drive a very personalized and curated experience for shoppers through online and mobile purchases, retailers are seeking new ways to heighten the in-store customer experience as well," he said.


"A rotating cycle of pop-up experiences is a perfect way for Bloomingdale's to offer fresh content to new and loyal customers in a physical environment, while also creating an opportunity to promote products aligned with the lifestyle of their key customer personas."

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