Setting up a Pop-Up Shop for your Retail Brand

Pop-up shops are a trendy, modern way for retailers to create a physical presence, gain brand exposure and, hopefully, increase sales. Existing only temporarily, pop-ups can be a great lower-cost, lower-risk method, proving particularly useful for businesses just starting out, those wanting to expand to new locations, and those who currently only have an online presence and wish to explore additional channels.

Pop-ups allow retailers to test the waters by getting on the high street and engaging with customers face-to-face, making people aware of the brand, building new customer relationships, and giving the retailer an idea of what it may be like to have a proper, bricks-and-mortar shop in a particular location, before deciding whether to commit long-term.

With more and more brands looking to cash-in on this growing trend, retail research and competitor price tracking experts, Assosia, discuss how retailers can go about successfully setting up a pop-up shop.

Choose your location

Choosing the right location to host your pop-up shop in is the most important factor in ensuring the right people show up. Obviously, an area in which there will be high foot traffic and, therefore, a lot of shop-front visibility is desirable for many retailers, but this may not be suitable for all brands and should not be the sole criterion on which to base your choice.

For instance, a lesser-frequented, “underground” neighbourhood might be more appropriate for a particular type of brand and could more strongly resonate with their target customer. As such, finding a location that aligns with your brand’s personality and your core target market is an essential ingredient for pop-up success.

Additionally, it helps to think-outside-the-box when planning a pop-up retail space. By limiting yourself only to traditional, empty brick-and-mortar buildings, you are missing out on a whole heap of potentially great spaces. Town halls, community buildings and abandoned warehouses are all valid alternatives that you may even find are a lot cheaper to rent. Moreover, hosting your event in a non-conventional space sets you apart from the crowd and adds to the uniqueness of your pop-up experience.

If you want to keep costs at a minimum, it might be worthwhile to consider choosing a pop-up space provider that offers a “turnkey” solution – that is, having all the essentials needed to effectively run your pop-up, including the fixtures and fittings, electricity and décor – as part of one overall package.

Above all, take the time to do your research and seek out a quality space that suits your needs, being sure to negotiate a reasonable deal on the short-term lease.

Think about your budget

Retailers must think carefully about their budget, ensuring they have the means to make their vision a reality. Yes, pop-ups are normally a lower-cost, short-term option, but they still do not come cheap, particularly in major cities. Beyond the physical space, many businesses fail to consider all the additional overheads needed, like utilities, insurance, staff and marketing, when planning for their pop-up.

With regards to the design of the store, you don’t need to break the bank to make your chosen space stand out. The current trend in retail design is more minimalist, so bear that in mind when kitting out your temporary shop.

Market the pop-up throughout

Marketing your pop-up is important, not just in the run-up to the event, but at every stage of the journey. In order to get the most out of the event, building exposure before, during and after is key, and your marketing efforts should be focused on providing the greatest impact in the limited amount of time that you have.

During the pre-event stage, your main marketing focus should be on creating a buzz around the event and getting people interested in it. Tried-and-tested methods include; handing out flyers locally and heavily promoting the pop-up on social media, perhaps even creating a unique hashtag by which to build awareness, establish consistency, and deliver an easy way to track the performance of the event’s marketing campaign.

It is also beneficial to contact local promoters and publications to let them know about the event, as well as drawing up press releases for local media distribution. Many local event websites even have free calendars that let you list details of an upcoming event in your city for free.

When the pop-up is taking place, you should aim to make your brand stand out and offer something of value to make people want to come into the shop. Live music, DJs, workshops, food and drink and handing out free product samples are all great ways to get people through the door.

Moreover, inviting other local businesses and key industry influencers to the event can also help in marketing your pop-up, both on the day and afterwards, as those in attendance share details of the event with their followers, particularly where given an incentive to do so.

Once the pop-up comes the end, it is important to continue sharing memorable content from the occasion on your brand’s social media platforms, website and blog, as well as asking industry influencers to share their version of events. This ensures the experience is remembered even after it is finished, which also helps to build-up hype for any future pop-ups planned.

Remember, the most successful pop-ups are fun and innovative enough to create a buzz and keep people talking long after they are over!

Pop-ups are a modern showroom for retailers, providing a flexible, cost-effective and creative way to increase sales, boost brand awareness, and engage with real-life customers. Many brands have successfully used pop-ups as a means to branch out into other channels, enter new locations and showcase exclusive products, which is why pop-ups will continue to dominate the current retail experience.

Contributor: Assosia, a UK-based retail research and quality assurance consultancy with years of experience. Their industry insights are trusted by many of the world’s leading FMCG and CPG companies.