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Spotlight on Seoul: Must-see Pop-ups from Our Curated Retail Study Tours

Seoul is a global leader in technology, beauty, food, music, and increasingly, world-class retailing.  During a recent project with our clients in Seoul, our team visited major and up-and-coming shopping districts in this bustling metropolis and weighed in on an impressive array of pop-up retail concepts.

Pop-up stores are an increasingly popular way for brands and retailers to experiment with (and gather data on) new concepts, designs, and products without a long-term commitment. Since these spaces are temporary, they provide an opportunity to reach new customers in locations where a permanent space may not make financial sense. As a bonus, the common theme of “instagramability” amongst the pop-ups we’ve seen no doubt produces an abundant stockpile of user-generated content.

For consumers, these spaces provide opportunities to engage with brands in unexpected, meaningful, and often personal ways.

We have curated dozens of inspirational retail study tours to inform our clients around the world on the latest trends and best practices in retail. We share four unique pop-up concepts from our recent visits to Seoul below:

LG U+ 5G

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To celebrate and educate consumers on all that is possible with 5G, LG U+ recently undertook their first pop-up store in the Gangnam District of Seoul. Visitors were treated to first-hand experience with the technology through a series of AR and VR zones including a virtual date with K-Pop star Chan Eun-woo, a front row seat in a 360° viewing of Cirque du Soleil and a baseball stadium where sports fans can get a birdseye view of a game and zoom in on their favorite players. The company also embedded an element of gamification where visitors could earn tokens for each activity they tried and could trade them in for a variety of prizes.

Although the purpose of the space was to promote LG’s new 5G phone plans and their technology, very little mention was made to either in the design of the space. In fact, if it weren’t for the unmistakably LG storefront, there would be a lot of “where are we’s?” being exchanged as people entered the store.

Where they win: Gamification, Interactive Experience


In the trendy neighborhood of Sinsa, Parisian Perfumer Diptyque opened a pop-up shop as part of a global celebration of the 50th anniversary of the brand’s first personal fragrance with similar spaces popping up around the world in Berlin, New York, Los Angeles, London, and Tokyo.  Inspired by Diptyque’s Parisian roots, the store pays tribute to the brand’s heritage as it takes visitors on a journey through the process of creating a fragrance.

Where they win: Brand Storytelling, Design, Edutainment

Samsung Sero

Down the street from Diptyque is the Samsung Sero pop-up which stands in magnificent contrast to many other Samsung retail stores throughout the city and proves that the electronics manufacturer is capable of building something with a certain panache that is inherently cool.

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Built with younger consumers in mind, the pop-up opens with the ground floor dedicated to the Sero, the television that (Samsung hopes) millennials have been waiting for. Upstairs, guests are treated to an interactive showroom complete with a coffee bar and an opportunity to have their picture taken as a souvenir.

The most impactful part of the store is the lower level which is dedicated to The Frame TV.  Here, guests can experience for themselves the gallery-like characteristics of The Frame, complete with famous works of art from museums around the world and video interviews with artists.


Where they win: Hands-on Trial, Edutainment, Differentiation, Brand Storytelling

Samsung #ProjectPRISM

On June 4th, Samsung opened a pop-up space on the top floor of their Gangnam Digital Plaza Store to usher in a new era of fully customizable home appliances beginning with their BESPOKE refrigerator.

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The layout allows visitors to experience different lifestyle scenarios that highlight how different configurations of the BESPOKE accommodate each lifestyle’s unique needs. In another area, the product becomes art, blending seamlessly into various environments to prove once and for all that appliances can be anything but boring.

Where they win: Hands-on Trial, Edutainment, Design

The retail landscape is changing fast, and innovative concepts are “popping” up every day. Please contact us to learn more about how our innovative retail study tours can provide fresh insights and best practices to inspire your team. Our retail experts would love to hear from you.

Alyson Fischer

Alyson Fischer is an engagement manager and cross-functional leader with 10+ years of experience helping Global 100 clients tell data-driven stories to elevate the customer experience and inspire dynamic engagement across channels.

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