Shipping Container Stores and Shops - Flexible Space for Retailers


  • Share Article :
shipping container stores and shops

Shipping container stores are one of the fastest-growing trends, thanks to their immense flexibility and versatility. You can use shipping container stores to expand business operations, open a new brand, or even start a chain of restaurants.

Since the world's first pop-up container mall, Boxpark Shoreditch, opened in 2011 in London, several major franchises have cashed in on the trend of customizing containers into visually appealing pop-up businesses.

From artisanal stores to big-brand retailers such as Nike, owners love the idea of low-cost, quick-setup, shipping container stores that provide a novel shopping experience to customers.

Request a Quote

How Shipping Container Stores are Business-Friendly

  • If you are opening a retail store, you want to save on upfront capital payment and start earning fast. Leasing commercial space might be expensive, and you have high turnarounds for building a permanent structure. If you invest a lot initially and your business doesn't click, moving your shop to a new location can be tedious.
  • Shipping container stores have lower costs, faster delivery, and most importantly, give you the freedom to move business where you want and capitalize on seasonal trends, festivals, and events.
  • Shoppers love it when your brand has a distinguishing factor. The idea of shopping in modified, repurposed units appeals to the environmentally conscious and can attract many curious customers. You can also customize your shipping container store and create a brand signature.

Watch how shipping containers made shopping malls possible in Christchurch after an earthquake.

How to Build a Container Shop

Consult an architect or expert to customize your pop-up shop as you follow these steps: 

  • Determining the location of personnel door, patio, windows, roller shutters, and serving hatches. Then, have these sections cut out.
  • The layout of your doors, windows, and service area helps determine the location of electrical connections, ventilation, and other utilities.
  • Conceal wiring and plumbing lines with the help of suitable cladding. You can then opt for vinyl flooring, ply or melamine lining, and insulation for the walls and floor.
  • Next, plan suitable interior partitions and make room for steel shelving and racks to create storage space.
  • Paint your shop with shades that suit your brand.

building a container shop.jpg

Read this container dimensions guide to understand the space you get with different units.

Ideas for Retail Pop-Up Shops

Pop-up retail stores are perfect to create a memorable experience for shoppers at live events, farmer markets, or college campuses.

You can place your shop at strategic locations temporarily to see the audience's response to your brand, generate demand for new products, or reach out to untapped customers in:

  • College Campuses
  • Holiday Markets
  • Seasonal Celebration Markets
  • Food Festivals
  • Sports Events and Concerts
  • Farmers Markets

Make the most of a busy seasonal celebration, share your harvest at a farmers' market, and give retail shops the space to sell merchandise and supplies at sporting events and concerts. These pop-up stores provide you a safe space to keep your inventory and adequate room to display your products and perform transactions.


You can customize the storefront of your shop using unique doors, windows, paints, and vinyl. There are other custom options like patios and bi-folding doors, shelves and racks, partitions, and rolling shutters.

These customizations depend on factors such as intended use of the unit, location, and budget. Consult experienced architects for ventilation systems, solar panels, insulation, and utilities.

shipping container customizations.jpg

How Much Investment Do You Need?

The cost involved in making a containerized store for retail involves two components:

The Cost of the Unit

The price of storage containers depends upon their condition, size, and security features. A container usually ranges from ISO sizes 10 feet to 40 feet. Once you determine the products and services you offer and the foot traffic you expect, you can arrive at an appropriate unit size.

Customization Costs

Take expert advice to customize the number of ventilation units, plumbing, and electrical accessories, the number of shelves, food or perishable storage units, and the choice of detailing on the exteriors of your store.

Benefits of Containerized Pop-Up Shops

Low Initial Cost

Using a container for your shop is more affordable than building a structure from scratch. If you are unsure of investing initially, you can also rent a unit to test your audience's response.

Low Turnaround Time

Shopping centers and retail spaces built from containers require much lesser time than regular structures. This means more savings on the labor cost and faster returns on your investment.

Highly Customizable

You can convert these units into pop-up retail shops, mobile stores, clothing and merchandise shops, or even bookstores. Retailers can also ask for stacked and combined structures for creating aesthetics rooftops and patios. The interiors of containers are compatible with numerous designs and projects.

Better Safety and Security

Shipping containers are made of high-quality Corten steel that makes them highly durable and resistant to wear, breakage, and external weathering. Retail brands also have the option to select high-security doors that protect the containerized store from theft and vandalism.


You can easily move your shop to a different area if your current location is not working out. Catering to seasonal changes is also much easier if your containerized store is mobile.

Improved Brand Awareness and Consumer Experience

A container pop-up shop can help businesses with customer foot traffic. You can attract people from all age groups and create strong brand awareness using the distinctive charm of shipping containers.


A container shop is made of steel. This option allows shop owners to reuse steel boxes that would otherwise lead to more wastage. They reduce our dependence on building materials that cause waste and the strain on natural resources.

Pop Up Container Shops.jpg

Buying containers for the first time? Read our guide on how to buy new and used shipping containers.

Examples of Shipping Container Stores and Shops

Aether, San Francisco

This pop-up store for LA-based fashion brand Aether features three stacked containers designed to be highly functional and aesthetic.


Superdry has opened a variety of pop-up stores featuring their trademark orange and blue shades and trademark logo.

Evergreen Brickworks, Toronto

This community center in Toronto has a welcome hut made from a repurposed 20-square-foot unit. It features bright green exteriors and a rainwater chain to drain excess water into a rain barrel.

Lila B. Design, San Francisco

San Francisco floral designer Baylor Chapman has used a container for her brand Lila B. Design. The space functions both as a retail and office space alongside the floral studio.


You can modify and turn high-quality containers into stunning pop-up shops in a short time without spending major investments. You can also rent storage units to manage your inventory without shelling out money at expensive warehouses.

Shipping containers are customizable and are an ideal option to expand business operations, create extra storage, and deliver a quality shopping experience.

Why Partner with Us

Mobile Modular Portable Storage provides shipping containers for sale that you can easily modify into stores as you like.

Our dedicated team of experts stays in touch with you throughout the process for hassle-free delivery of containers. We have our own fleet of vehicles that help us deliver shipping containers at the scheduled time.

Get in touch with us or call 866-459-7600 and we’ll connect you with a specialist in your area.



What Can Be Customized in a Container Pop-Up Shop?

Nearly everything, from the size of your shipping container store to the design, interiors, and utilities is customizable. You can add doors, windows, and exterior features to the unit and stand out as a unique retail business.

Note: Mobile Modular Portable Storage does not customize containers. However, we offer new and used containers that you can customize after purchase.

How Does The Delivery of Container Units Work?

Businesses use a roll-off truck or similar vehicles to deliver containers. Delivery is usually performed by seasoned drivers from your container provider. Delivery costs depend on the unit size and the distance between the shipping point and your location.

Do You Need Planning Permission for Container Stores?

Shipping containers are a special type of construction and may require permits that vary from state to state. Check with your local municipal or county authorities for details.

Are Used Shipping Containers a Good Choice for Shops?

New storage containers are ideal but then you can find used containers that do the job equally well and are easy on the pocket too.

Loading Conversation