Should You Open a Pop-Up Shop?

open a pop-up shop

Are you looking for a way to spark excitement around your retail store, test a new product line or reach out to a new market without making a huge financial commitment? The answer just could be a pop-up shop.

Should I Open A Pop-Up Shop?

Pop-up shops are temporary retail locations deriving their appeal from their short shelf life. They got their start during the recession as a way to make money from empty store space. Today, however, they’ve become so popular that major retailers are creating pop-up shops of their own and sometimes even hosting pop-up shops within their larger stores.

Like a limited edition product or a flash sale, the pop-up shop lures customers with the promise of “act now, because this chance won’t come again.” While a pop-up shop most commonly takes place in an empty retail location that’s available for short-term lease, Forbes recently highlighted a growing trend of companies placing pop-ups near gas stations, supermarkets and home and garden centers in the U.K. Pop-up shops can also work in art galleries, commercial office spaces and lofts. It just depends what will appeal to your target audience.

A pop-up shop can be a great way to:

  • Test the waters in a new market before committing to a longer retail lease.
  • Sell excess inventory or past-season products.
  • Create an “experience” that you can’t replicate in your retail store, such as hosting musical events or putting on an art show. One big reason that customers visit pop-up shops is because they offer more than just products for sale.
  • Attract attention to a new product line or other change at your store. For example, a clothing retailer considering adding men’s fashions could use a pop-up shop to highlight men’s clothing and see how well the products sell.

How Can You Make Your Pop-up Shop a Success?

  • Choose your location carefully. Based on what you hope to achieve (see above), look for a location that attracts attention, gets a good amount of customer traffic and fits your needs. Of course, you also want the space to be near complementary businesses that will attract your target customer base.
  • Promote your pop up. Creating buzz is key to attracting people to your pop-up shop. In addition to spreading the news through all the usual avenues — email marketing, social media or even direct mail — be sure to do public relations to let the local media know about your shop.
  • Have fun with it. A pop-up shop is an event as much as it is a retail location. Create a sense of fun and excitement — this is no time to lie low. You want people passing by to be aware that something special is going on, so pull out all the stops to attract attention with music, decor and more.

While pop-up shops are often associated with fashion and youth, the concept can really work for any type of business. The key is to know what you want to get from your shop, define your target audience and figure out where to find them.

adidas Pop-Up Store Photo via Shutterstock

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Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.

2 Reactions
  1. I couldn’t agree more. Working for a shipping container pop-up shop company, i’d say that there is no limit to what you can do with a pop-up store. Great read, thanks!

  2. I think that it is great for introducing your brand or introducing your products. It always has a limited edition feel to it so I like it.