How to set up a pop up shop

Unlock how to set up a pop-up shop for your small business. And uncover practical tips and tricks related to pop-up stores.
· 15 April 2024 · 7 minute read

What is a pop-up shop?

A pop-up shop is a temporary retail space where you can showcase and sell your products in a bricks-and-mortar setting for customers to see, touch and experience. Also called a flash retail store, pop-up stores offer a unique and immersive way to engage with your customers. This is because of their capability to create memorable and personalised shopping experiences that resonate with customers in a tangible way.

For small businesses, pop-up shops can help drive sales. The nature of these short-lived setups allow you to expand your business operations beyond your eCommerce platforms or permanent retail location. Pop-up stores can also help create an avenue to experiment with different locations or geographical areas.

Pop-up shops can be more than just temporary ventures. They can be strategic opportunities to help boost sales, elevate your brand visibility and connect with your customers in a unique way.


The power of pop-up shops for small business

The power of pop-up shops lies in their ability to help your small business achieve its business goals. Below we breakdown some of the benefits of setting up a pop-up shop.

Help boost brand visibility

Pop-up stores create a physical brand presence outside your permanent retail store or eCommerce business. This can help capture the attention of bystanders and local customers. And as a result, help boost your brand visibility and brand awareness. 

Face-to-face engagement

Pop-up shops allow you to interact with your audience face-to-face. Customers can enjoy the convenience of seeing your products before purchasing. And have the opportunity to strike up a conversation about your brand or business. Enabling this level of personalisation can help build customer loyalty and boost customer experience.

Help increase flexibility

A pop-up store allows you to test out a physical retail presence without having to commit to a permanent bricks-and-mortar store. You can also enjoy the flexibility of trialling a pop-up shop amongst different communities, different settings and utilising different setups. This can help you uncover what works well and what doesn’t.

Product testing and feedback opportunities

If you want to test a new product or service, offering it in a physical retail environment can help you obtain more tangible customer feedback. This type of feedback can be invaluable when refining your offerings or enhancing your product line.

Help boost sales

The temporary nature of pop-up shops can help create a sense of urgency among customers. Limited-time availability can also help you drive quicker sales, prompting in-store visitors to make purchase decisions right on the spot.

Pop-up shops can empower your small business to create impactful, real-world connections with your customer base, which you can translate into tangible business success.



How to set up a pop-up shop in 6 steps

Setting up a successful pop-up shop involves a series of key steps. We break some of these down below.

Develop a clear goal

A clear goal will help you measure the success of your pop-up shop. For example, you might want to launch a pop-up store to build in-person relationships that online shopping can’t replicate. You can measure relevant metrics like repeat purchases and email signups to see whether customers feel a stronger connection to your brand post-pop-up store.

Select what type of pop-up store you want to run

Carefully select a pop-up style that aligns with your target audience and overall business strategy. And consider this in the parameters of your budget. Some different types of pop-up shops could include:

  • Kiosk or booth space
  • Market stall
  • Gallery or exhibition
  • Event stall
  • Store-within-a-store
  • A rented space within a shopping centre.

Decide on a suitable point of sale (POS) system

Think about how you will accept payments. You should consider this in the context of the payment methods your customers want.

With the temporary nature of pop-up stores, it’s wise to develop a reliable way to manage transactions on the go. And invest in a point of sale software that accommodates various payment preferences.

Plan the layout

Create an inviting atmosphere that will inspire bystanders to check out your pop-up store. By investing time and energy into developing an immersive and visual shopping encounter, you can help boost the customer experience.

Recruit the right staff

If you require additional staff members to work at your pop-up store, start recruiting early. This is particularly important if you plan on running your pop-up shop over the holiday sales season.

Compose a well-written and clear job description that outlines the type of person you’re looking for to represent your business. Think about people who have retail expertise, excellent customer service and experience using your preferred point of sale software.

Promote your pop-up shop

It’s important to build buzz and get people excited about your pop-up store, as this can help contribute to its success.

There are a number of marketing channels you can explore such as email, social media, paid ads and your business website. Learn more about how to use eCommerce platforms to reach more customers.



Elevating customer experience at your pop-up shop

Elevating customer experience at your pop-up store can help create unforgettable interactions with your brand as well as encourage brand loyalty and referrals. Let’s explore some practical and fun ways to create a memorable experience at your pop-up shop.

1. Interactive displays

Interactive displays can help encourage customers to engage with your products. For example, if you're selling makeup, consider creating a beauty station where customers can apply different products.

2. Personalised experiences

Consider offering personalised experiences at your pop-up store, such as monogramming, engraving or other similar customisation services. Your customers are likely to appreciate unique touches that make their purchases feel special.

3. Promotional in-store events

Consider hosting an in-store event at your pop-up shop. For example a product launch, a hands-on workshop, or live product demonstration. These events not only help attract foot traffic but also provide education around your products and brand.

4. Fun photo opportunities

Design an area in your pop-up shop that’s ‘Instagram worthy’. For example, if you run an artisan bakery business you could create an oversized doughnut as a central focal point where customers can pose for mouth-watering pictures. You can also display a custom hashtag for people to use when sharing their photos on social media for some extra organic promotion.

5. Incentivised social sharing

You could offer a discount or small freebie to customers who share their in-store experiences on social media. This not only boosts online visibility but also helps to elevate customer experience.

6. Feedback station

Include a feedback station where your customers can share their thoughts or suggestions. This not only shows that you appreciate their opinions but also provides valuable insights for future improvements.

By prioritising a positive and unique customer experience, you can help enhance the success of your pop-up event. Learn more about ways to improve your customer experience.


Post-pop-up evaluation

After your pop-up shop has run its course, it's important to assess its success by analysing some key metrics. You should consider these metrics against your business goal to see how you’re tracking. This can include things like foot traffic, sales performance and customer feedback.

By combining these strategies at your pop-up shop, you can create an interactive and rewarding experience for customers, which in turn, can help boost sales. Nurturing the experience during the duration of your pop-up store, can help lay the foundation for continued customer engagement and increased brand awareness.

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