The Benefits of Opening a Pop-Up Shop (and 6 Essentials to Have)
The current retail industry makes some brands nervous and others excited. Every company wants to be successful like Amazon and avoid following in the footsteps of Sears. This means trying new things, taking risks, and keeping up with the latest trends.
One of the most popular trends that consumers and retailers are embracing is the pop-up shop. This is a store that is only open for a few days or weeks and then disappears. Pop-up shops have been called the “Uberization of Retail” amongst other names and have been hailed by economists as both brilliant and disasters to the industry.
If you manage an eCommerce store or run a brick and mortar location, it may be worth testing out the pop-up shop waters. Here’s why and how your brand should embrace the pop-up shop trend.
Why Should You Open a Pop-Up Shop?
There are many reasons why pop-up shops have worked for both retailers and customers. They have arrived right in the middle of a perilous time for retailers and when customers want something new. Below are a few factors to consider if you are on the fence of opening a pop-up shop which should sway you in the positive direction:
- Pop-up shops are affordable right now. With mall stores sitting empty, landlords are desperate to fill the space, even for a few weeks. They are happy to make a deal for a pop-up shop so you only need to pay rent for a short period of time. (Look at Halloween supply stores as a key example.)
- You can test new products or branding with a lower risk. A pop-up shop allows you to take another direction with your brand without taking the risk of actually changing everything. You can open a pop-up shop with new products and services, or a new brand image, and see how it is received. If your customers are excited, the change can be permanent. If not, then you don’t lose much.
- Customers are hungry for experiences. Pop-up shops come in all forms. Celebrities debut exclusive fashion lines, museums tease exhibits, and food chains test their culinary boundaries. Pop-up shops are highly experiential. Customers can take photos and show off that they’re at the latest, coolest place to be. If you are considering starting a pop-up shop, make sure you add experiential elements that draw curious shoppers to visit and share with their friends.
Like all trends in fashion and retail, no one really knows how long the pop-up shop trend will last, but it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down in the near future.
What Do You Need to Open a Pop-Up Shop?
While pop-up shops are meant to be fun and temporary, you still need to treat them with the same level of care as a traditional brick and mortar business. Below are six things to consider when opening your pop-up shop.
- Find a space that does short-term rentals. Try to negotiate using the space for a month or two (depending on your pop-up duration) and make sure your contract is made for a monthly lease.
- Cover your bases with permits and insurance. You don’t want to lose money if something comes up, so make sure you have all of your paperwork in order for your pop-up business.
- Develop a comprehensive marketing plan. Pop-up shops generally rely on buzz to succeed, but it takes a lot of marketing to develop that buzz. Make sure you have a strategy in place to promote your pop-up shop and get people excited about it so they can take over and start driving the conversation.
- Choose store designs and visuals. Just because the store is a pop-up doesn’t mean you can leave the walls bare (unless that’s part of your branding). Make sure you budget for decor, mannequins, mirrors, and other essentials.
- Set up answering services to route your calls. Expect your customers to have questions about the location, the hours, and the products of your pop-up shop. Make sure that your phone solutions can either route calls to your traditional answering service or be just as effective at helping shoppers.
- Train staff to handle the pop-up location. You may need to hire temporary staff to work at your pop-up location and help customers. Make sure you budget for these extra hands and take training time and materials into your calculations.
A pop-up shop is a great way to make money in a short period of time while growing your audience. If you carefully develop your pop-up strategy, then you can use this sales plan to connect with your customers and drive them to connect with you online or to shop in your traditional stores.
Christine Soeun Choi is a digital marketing associate at Fit Small Business. Currently based in NYC, she has a background in business studies and math with a passion for business development. Outside of work, Christine enjoys traveling and exploring art.