Using Shipping Containers for Pop-Up Shops

Nina Barango
Jun 8, 2023
11 mins

In today’s unique economy, it goes without saying that your business doesn’t need a permanent, brick-and-mortar location. However, it’s a great way to attract new customers and create interesting experiences. Pop-up shops are a great way to do this since you only need a temporary space where you have a temporary location for a set period of time, pack up and then leave.

A pop-up shop is a retail store that operates in a short window of time. This window of time could coincide with a particular season, holiday, or special event. You’ll spot an abundance of pop-up shops selling beach essentials like sunglasses and bathing suits in the summer months, which will all disappear the moment that fall rolls around. And at the beginning of fall, you’ll notice pop-up shops selling Halloween costumes and decorations right up to October 31st before closing their doors.

Not all pop-up shops are retailers. Some are food stalls and coffee shops. Think of all of the kiosks and food trucks that are stationed at winter holiday markets, selling gingerbread cookies and cups of hot cocoa to customers walking by. These are pop-ups, too.

Could your business benefit from a pop-up shop? Boxhub can help you. A shipping container is the perfect vessel for your small, temporary store. Find out why new shipping containers are so useful for making pop-up shops.

Why Are Shipping Containers Useful for Making Pop-Up Shops?


Of course, one of the best things about shipping containers is that they are customizable. You can make shipping container modifications so that the structure meets all of your business’s specific needs.

For instance, if you are a clothing retailer, you might want to build a pop-up shop that shows off your merchandise and stops pedestrians in their tracks. So, customize your shop with big windows that will put everything on display. Learn more about shipping container windows and window kits that you can purchase. 

Or maybe your pop-up shop is selling hot convenience food. In that case, you will want to consider a practical modification like ventilation. Proper ventilation will help your shop circulate air, control humidity, and minimize problems like mold and mildew. Learn more about how to create vented shipping containers and improve your indoor air quality. 


One of the biggest perks of shipping containers is that they are transportable. They can easily be loaded onto a tilt-bed or flat-bed delivery truck, which can drive them to a brand-new destination - meaning you can bring your pop-up shop on the road! You can reach customers in a variety of different locations without having to lease a variety of different storefronts. 


If you rent out a storefront for your pop-up shop, you’ll lose access to it once your lease is up. On the other hand, if you purchase a shipping container and turn it into a pop-up shop, you won’t lose it once your sale schedule ends. That container is yours. You can keep it and reuse it whenever you’d like. 


Shipping container pop-up shops don’t just function in indoor venues. They can be placed outdoors, too! So, if you want to reach crowds at outdoor festivals, parades, and markets, you can use a shipping container pop-up shop. 

Shipping containers are designed to withstand all sorts of weather. They are wind and watertight, which means that the interior is properly sealed from precipitation and windy weather. Your shop can stay open, rain or shine. However, certain modifications will make your shipping container pop-up more capable of handling outdoor conditions, like adding wall insulation and installing an awning or canopy for shade.


Shipping container pop-up shops will stand out from the crowd! They look unique and unexpected, especially when they are surrounded by traditional storefronts. So, if you want your business to grab everyone’s attention, you can do it with this style of store.

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Examples of Shipping Container Pop-Up Shops

Pantone LLC

Pantone LLC set up a shipping container pop-up shop called the Pantone Café during Paris Fashion Week. The pop-up served up playful drinks and foods that perfectly matched the shades on the Pantone color palette. 


Birchbox is a monthly subscription box service that sends customers makeup samples and other beauty products, like skincare products and perfumes. In order to reach customers in person, the online business opened up pop-up shops where pedestrians could try out and purchase beauty products. These pop-up shops were made out of two converted shipping containers. Birchbox managed to transport these shops to three different cities: Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles. 


The beauty-brand Glossier is another online company that used pop-up shops to reach potential customers in person. The business set up nine pastel pink pop-up shops made from converted shipping containers on Seaport Boulevard in Boston. Customers could visit the shops to sample and purchase the brand’s most popular skincare products, makeup products, and fragrances.


The famous athletic brand Nike used shipping container pop-up shops in Toronto and Vancouver. These pop-ups were meant to generate excitement over the fact that the Nike website would start making deliveries to Canada. In the pop-up shops, customers could look through the brand’s seasonal apparel and create a pair of custom shoes through the Nike iD studio.


The coffee company Nespresso has hosted pop-up shops around the world to garner interest in their coffee products and encourage customers to recycle their famous pods. Some of the company’s pop-up shops have been made from converted shipping containers, including a high-end multi-container cafe in San Francisco during America’s Cup in 2013.

A shipping container could be just the thing that you need to start a pop-up shop. It’s worked for other companies, and it can work for yours! Come to Boxhub and browse your options for shipping containers to get started on this business venture.

About Nina Barango

Nina Barango is an experienced content marketer and container expert with a proven track record in the tech and logistics industry. Having worked with various startups and SMEs, she bridges the world of marketing, tech and shipping containers. When she's not creating content that'll revolutionize global container trade, you can find Nina reading a book or mastering her video editing skills.

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