When should your business open up a pop up shop?

There one day, gone the next. You told your friends to check out a great shop that has popped up in a space between two shops you never knew existed. They tell you a few days later that you must have been dreaming, there’s nothing there. You start to wonder whether Harry Potter and the world of wizards is real, and perhaps you aren’t a muggle but a wizard yourself. That is just one of the benefits that come from the magical world of pop up shops.

As a business owner, how do you know when is a good time to open up a pop up shop? The answer: there is no one right time. Pop up shops can solve all sorts of problems and all sorts of questions. Here are the main occasions when a pop up shop may be a good idea for your business:

  1. When you have achieved strong growth as a digital business. As an existing successful business, whether you are a digital-only business or you have an existing store/s, opening a pop up shop can be a great addition to your marketing activities, whether you want to promote your existing stores, your business or an upcoming store opening.
  2. As part of your initial branding efforts. When starting a business, branding can play a huge part in establishing your name within the local market. This is especially so for a physical business, which is why opening a pop up shop can be a strong tool for promoting and testing your brand with the sort of audience you want to attract.
  3. If you are considering opening a bricks-and-mortar store. You may have plans to open a store but are not sure about where or how you want to sell your products. What sort of questions will you be asked by customers, what conversations will you have and will these things impact the service or product you provide? Opening a pop up shop can effectively act as a test run for your store, testing the waters in terms of your service as well as the location. Think of it like renting a home in various suburbs to see where you want to buy a home.
  4. When releasing a new product. A pop up shop can be a great way to promote and test responses to a new product, and can be used as part of a more wholistic advertising campaign.

Things to remember when opening a pop up shop

  1. Make sure you have the capital to open a pop up shop in a good location. You want to reach your target audience, so you need to be in the right place at the right time. One way to get around this if you are a start up is by connecting with likeminded stores, especially if you sell products that a store may be interested in showcasing, and organising a pop up within that store. Think outside of the books as to what sorts of businesses or locations may be open to hosting a pop up.
  2. Be aware of the need to market your pop up shop if you are new. If you already sell some of the best hamburgers in town, then your pop up shop is going to attract a lot of attention. If you are a new business, then be aware that you are going to have to put in a lot of work to promote your pop up shop, which is why doing as much to make it an inviting and exciting physical space can help to bring foot traffic through your doors.
  3. Be realistic about inflated interest. If you have successfully marketed your pop up shop, it should attract strong attention, especially if your brand is well known. Keep this inflated interest in mind when evaluating what you are testing (your product for example). Traffic to a website is no sure sign of the value of that website, but how people interact with that website and how long they stay on it are a much stronger sign of its value. This is the same for your pop up shop and your product/s. Judge your success by the conversations you have and the feedback you receive.
  4. Go beyond selling your product and be creative. While a pop up shop can feature a new product, it can be a branding exercise as well. Consider linking up with artists or other creatives to create something that reflects the transient nature of a pop up shop or that simply engages audiences for a variety of reasons. Treating your pop up shop as an advertising and branding opportunity can be more powerful than using it to showcase a new product.

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