Pop-Up Shop. Is it worth your while?
A pop-up style retail business is brilliant on multiple fronts and can be a great success for business owners if executed well. What is a pop-shop? It’s exactly as it sounds—a temporary retail location that can “pop up” just about anywhere there is store front—usually anywhere from three days to three months is the norm.
What’s the point of a pop-up?
There are multiple reasons business owners choose pop-up over a more permanent, brick and mortar location, some of which include:
A seasonal business: For Hallowe’en costumes, a summer clothing line, or a ski-outfitter, a pop-up shop seems like a no-brainer.
Business expansion: This is a great way for a business owner to test out the interest level and foot traffic in a new location, or a new city to determine whether a second or third location is a good investment. The pop-up is also great for subscription-based businesses to try out a new revenue stream and test whether there is a customer desire for a physical location.
Online to in-the-flesh experience: If you are an online business, a pop-up allows customers to experience your product in an aspect of your business they don’t usually get to see.
Create brand loyalty and build brand awareness: Any chance to have visibility is a chance to build brand awareness. For those who buy your products or services online, for example, pop-ups are a chance to meet a business owner in person, build a relationship and solidify brand loyalty.
Find early adopters: You are about to launch a product online and you want to show people how the product works and demonstrate its value and benefits. A pop-shop is an opportunity to stage demos and give potential customers a chance to engage with and experience your new product before they purchase.
A way to connect with local charity: Pop-ups are a great way to reach out or partner with a non-profit, bring awareness to social justice or celebrated day, such as Aboriginal’s Day, Father’s Day, or International Women’s Day.
Marketing your Pop-up shop
The beauty of a pop-up shop is clients and customers know it is a “limited time offer” which creates a sense of urgency—the perfect marketing tool.
Social media: Pop-up shops benefit greatly from a good social media campaign. Get out in front of your launch and create some anticipation with teasers, as well as images and blurbs of what will be available at the temporary location.
Keep the dialogue rolling and stay active on social media for the duration of your pop-up shop, providing daily updates, or at least three times a week. Offers and new products exclusive to the pop-up (and not available online) are great ways to get customer attention.
After you have packed up and moved on, let customers know where they can find your product online or at other location(s). Thank them for coming to see you. Let them in on a business secret—for example, what was your hottest item this year? If you have an idea what next year looks like, give them a sneak peak of what is to come.
Print media: Posting posters with the permission of other business owners in their business locations, or, if you have the budget, ads in local magazines are always helpful in getting the word out about what you are up to.
Partnership with charity/foundation: Bringing awareness to a social issue, charity’s work or a foundation in need is never a bad thing and can sometimes help your cause if there is a relevant link.
Partner with an existing business: It’s not uncommon for a pop-up shop to appear inside another business’ location, if there they do not compete in the same vertical. This can help to boost business for both parties!
Evaluate your success to know whether to do it again: Like every business move, it is important to assess whether your pop-up shop efforts were worth the time, effort and money. Though the pop-up shop itself may not have been profitable, it may have worked to increase traffic at a more permanent location or online sales. Swells in sales elsewhere in the business might be a good sign that your pop-up is working for you.
Do away with the old inventory: Put whatever didn’t sell last year on clearance. Customers are smart, and may easily bore of your products or feel “cheated” if they find the same items, styles and products on display this year that they did last. You risk losing loyal customers.
Overall, a pop-up shop is a way to pump some energy and creativity into your business. You never know what it might do for brand awareness and sales.