Pop up shops are a new phenomenon, but take the concept of a market stall a stage further and are quite literally shops that ‘pop up’, operate for a few weeks or even just a day – and then close again. The term may be new but the idea has been around for years, and many pop up shops pander to seasonal demand such as during the run up to Christmas. So how can you run a successful pop up shop? Here are a few tips.
#1 – Know what you want to achieve
If you make homemade crafts or produce then your target market may only be around for a portion of the year, so in that instance your pop up shop will be designed purely to take advantage of that particular window of opportunity. However, you may want to use it to ‘dip a toe in the water’ before opening a more permanent establishment. Before you invest time and effort in your pop up, make sure you know what you want to achieve from the experience first to maximise your chances of success.
#2 – Create a memorable customer experience
Even though it’s a fleeting affair, make every experience a memorable one. So push the boat out when it comes to creating an eye-catching layout, make sure you meet and greet every customer with a smile and engage with them as much as you can without becoming overbearing! Pop ups are generally much more relaxed affairs than conventional long-term shops, so make your customers feel welcome and valued.
#3 – Be adaptable
By its very nature a pop up shop requires you to be adaptable, but it also gives you the opportunity to ‘test run’ different products. If you find that one doesn’t work then the next time you can try something different. Again, this allows you much more flexibility in your business plan and, once you find something that works, the chance to take your operation to a more permanent level.
#4 – Don’t overlook the legalities
Just because a pop up shop is a temporary affair does not mean you can overlook the legalities. You will still need to pay tax on your earnings, so make sure you have some good bookkeeping software such as QuickBooks Simple Start to help you keep track of your costs, expenses and profits. Also ensure that you have all the required trading licences and that you don’t breach any legislation.
#5 – Let people know you’re out there!
A pop up shop is quite literally ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ so make sure your customers know you’re there. Market your shop beforehand, using online social media, local press adverts and even good, old-fashioned flyers. Market your presence as a one-off opportunity for your customers to grab something unique.
#6 – Choose your location carefully
Pop up shops rely on footfall and passing trade, so choose your location very carefully. Too out of the way and you’ll be lucky to make a bean. Too exposed and you could find yourself overwhelmed. Check out the location beforehand to see whether it’s right for you.
#7 – Learn from your experience
Once the experience is over, step back and assess how it went. What were the strong points? What mistakes did you make? Did you have the right kind of products on offer, or was your selection too limited or too generalised? By assessing the overall experience you can then ensure that your next pop up shop venture is more successful and that you don’t repeat mistakes.
About the Author:
Carlo Pandian is a freelance writer and blogs about small business, finance and technology. He has previously published for small business blogs such as UNASHAMEDLY CREATIVE, HR Wisdom and Dynamic Business.