How to Plan and Execute a Profitable Pop-Up Shop

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

For all of the strengths that the ecommerce channel affords small businesses, there’s always something missing in terms of face-to-face engagement. But just because your small business operates online, doesn’t mean you can’t dip your toes into “temporary” brick and mortar. A pop-up shop is the perfect way to merge the best of both worlds.

What is a Pop-Up Shop?

“Introduced as early as the 1990s in large urban cities such as London, Los Angeles, Tokyo and New York City, pop-up shops and pop-up retail are temporary retail spaces that sell merchandise of any kind,” Storefront Magazine explains. “From art to fashion to tech gadgets and food, pop-up stores are exciting because they create short-term stores that are as creative as they are engaging. And, they come in all shapes and sizes.”

Pop-up shops can last anywhere from a single day to two or three months. Most last for a period of three to seven days and are held in high foot-traffic areas like busy streets, city centers, malls, and even parks.

The temporary nature of pop-up shops allows businesses to get valuable placement without a massive expense. The cost is typically paid up front and allows brands to generate considerable brand awareness and excitement within a very isolated window of time.

5 Tips for Pop-Up Shop Success

The simple act of launching a pop-up shop doesn’t guarantee you’ll get results. In order to make it a high-returning investment, you’ll need to come up with a plan and execute with some purpose. Here are a few tips:

1. Be Strategic With Location

Location is everything. You can get all the other aspects right, but if you miss the mark in this area, your entire shop will be fruitless.

One popular strategy is to temporarily rent out a vacant storefront, but there’s also a lot of value in holding an outdoor shop in a high traffic area. If you do choose to go this route, installing a pop-up canopy around your shop will provide some brand visiblility to those passing by (as well as protection from the elements).

2. Generate Excitement

One of the keys to a successful pop-up shop is to build anticipation in the days and weeks leading up to the event. While there will inevitably be customers who randomly stop by on the day of the shop, you want as many people as possible to know about it in advance. Social media, physical signage near the shop location, and even radio and TV spots can be helpful in raising awareness.

3. Keep it Simple

You want to avoid overdoing things in your shop. While there’s something to be said for grabbing people’s attention, simplicity and minimalism are your calling cards. Strip down your inventory to your best, hottest items and channel all of your energy towards these products.

4. Use Your Most Personable People

For an ecommerce company, a pop-up shop may be the only opportunity all year to engage customers in a face-to-face manner. You can’t take this lightly. Get your most personal people to work the event and encourage them to be outgoing and communicative. They will literally be the faces of your brand – so be purposeful with whom you choose.

5. Offer Online Shopping Capability

While you should probably strip down your inventory to a handful of items, this doesn’t mean you can’t sell other products at your pop-up shop. One idea is to incorporate a tablet into the shop and connect it to your online store. This allows people to browse your entire line of products and even place orders while they’re there.

Make it a Regular Part of Your Business

If you have success with your first pop-up shop, you may consider incorporating it into your business as an annual or semi-annual event. This gives you an opportunity to drum up excitement around your brand and reach people you would otherwise have difficulty engaging.

The more you host pop-up shops, the more you’ll learn about them. Makes notes about what works. Gather feedback from customers and listen to what they have to say. As you tailor the pop-up experience, you’ll find that you get increasingly positive (and profitable) results.