5 Tips to Create a Successful Pop-Up Shop

Blog originally published by MVP Visuals

Pop-up shops have been a rising phenomenon for all types of brands for the fun and flexibility they offer.  Brands that are primarily e-commerce can test the experience of a physical retail shop without the long-term commitment; other companies that already have a permanent location can set up a temporary shop at events, or collaborate with local communities or other businesses to expand their reach.

These types of activations are also relatively accessible to brands of all sizes – meaning you don’t need a bottomless budget to make it a hit. Here are some top tips to plan and execute a successful pop-up shop for your brand.

Set Actionable and Measurable Goals

As with any marketing venture for your business, you need to have actionable goals (things you can definitively execute with the resources available to you) and measurable goals (making sure you can assess the effectiveness of your actions after the fact). 

Why do you want to test out a pop-up shop? Are you looking to increase your sales? Push a new product line? Test how your products or services resonate in a certain area? Asking yourself these important questions, and answering them, are the key first steps to planning your pop-up shop.

Location, Location, Location

The next step is, of course, choosing where your brand is going to be popping up. Location is a major factor that can make or break the effectiveness of your pop-up, just like the impact it has on permanent retail shops. The spaces available to you are dependent on your resources, but thanks to the swell in popularity with these types of activations, you can get pretty creative with your choice of venue. Some types of trendy spaces for pop-up shops include:

  • Empty storefronts. Scouting out your desired location, and you see an empty store? Vacant of long-term tenants, these spaces are perfect to set up camp for a weekend or however long you’re looking to host your pop-up shop. Connect with a local real estate agent to help you negotiate a deal on a short-term rental of a business space.
  • Inside of other stores. Sometimes referred to as “pop-ins,” this is when you coordinate with a complementary business to hold a pop-up shop inside of their store. It may be tricky to set up an initial relationship, but this can go a long way in getting you prospective customers if you’re partnered with shops they already trust and frequent. It can also be fun and mutually beneficial to build a network of support with other businesses in your community.
  • Trailers/mobile structures. These are becoming increasingly popular for brand “tours” if you want to have a more flexible way of setting up shop throughout multiple locations. Look around for companies that offer turnkey solutions for these types of structures to make it ultra-accessible for almost anyone to transport and set-up a mobile pop-up shop.

Build the Hype

You’re putting in the work to plan the logistics of your pop-up shop and what you hope to get out of it – but you need to make sure people are going to show up! Your marketing strategy is just as critical as setting the perfect location. This is where you may want some help from the pros at experiential marketing agencies to maximize your return on investment. Some critical points of a pre-marketing strategy for your pop-up shop could involve:

  • Targeted social media advertisements. Leverage platforms like Facebook and Instagram to promote your upcoming shop to users in the area where you’ll be. These social tools let you tailor your desired audience by several demographics, like age, gender, and geographic location, so you can push directly to those that will be most likely to engage with your brand.
  • Partner with social media influencers. Do you have people you consider to be “brand loyalists” in your arsenal already, or a certain social media presence who has a large following and may be interested in your brand? Reach out to them! You can set up a swap of free product for publicity, or whatever is best for you, but word-of-mouth marketing is mega-powerful on social media. 
  • Connect with local media. Local media outlets are always seeking events or topics to cover, so reach out to them a month or so in advance of your pop-up shop so they can help generate buzz in the community. 
  • Leverage existing customer relationships. If you have existing lists of email newsletter subscribers or social media followers for your brand, don’t forget to make them aware of your upcoming shop, just like you would with any other special promotion. Even though social media for businesses is becoming increasingly “pay-to-play” to garner new growth, organic content still has its impact! For emails, depending on what service provider you use and how much data you gather about your subscribers, you can even segment your audience to send an email campaign to customers closer to where your pop-up shop will be.

Prioritize Customer Experience

CX, short for customer experience, isn’t just a fancy acronym or buzzword. It’s a major driving force behind the success of your marketing endeavors. You want to sell your product and make money, but it’s been said time and time again – customers don’t buy a product, they buy an experience they get with a brand. Creating an experience for your customers is the crux of a pop-up shop’s ultimate results! Some primary focuses to enhance your shop’s customer experience can be:

  • Offering amenities and entertainment like free Wi-Fi, refreshments, interactive games and contests, and a DJ or independent musician.
  • Utilizing interactive stations like a life-size inflatable replica of your product or logo for a fun photo-op spot – group selfies encouraged!
  • Free gifts for each purchase like a sticker or tote bag; something low-cost to you, but that will add that fun little extra “thank you” customers will remember.
  • Ensuring adequate staffing levels to make sure checkout remains smooth and speedy, help is readily available, and encouraging your staff to just interact with your customers and have real conversations. People appreciate it when a brand feels human.

Not to mention, engaging with your customers in real-time is priceless to gather qualitative feedback – what people like, what they don’t, and the overall impression that they’re getting from your shop and brand as a whole.

All in all, pop-up shops are definitely no minor undertaking, but they can make major positive impacts on your brand success. Now more than ever, consumers crave standout experiences from the brands they’re considering putting money into – make sure you’re ready to give that to them.

About MVP Visuals

MVP Visuals helps brands increase their return on investment for event activations with beautiful, custom displays.