Tips for Planning and Launching a Pop-Up Shop

Determine the type of event

Before you begin thinking of the details, you have to figure out what type of event you want to host. The term pop-up shop may bring to mind images of a temporary retail store, but that’s not the only form this type of event can take. Do you want to introduce a new product? Then your pop-up shop should be a launch party. Or, if you want to generate buzz about a new product or service before it hits the market, consider doing a press preview for local journalists and members of the blogging community only.

In the end, many brands do stick to the temporary retail store concept. This is a great way for e-commerce brands that don’t have a brick and mortar location to get their products in front of a new audience. It can also help brands test a new market before making the decision to add another brick and mortar location. Brands can find even more success if they tie a flash sale or special offer into the event to entice customers to shop.

Choose a location

Now that you know what type of event you want to host, it’s time to find the perfect location. You have several options when it comes to locations, including vacant retail spaces, indoor and outdoor shopping centers, and event spaces. You could also take the “store within a store” approach, which would require you to partner with a retailer and temporarily rent out a small section of their store to host the event.

When looking at the different options in your area, don’t forget to think about foot traffic. Your marketing plan for the event should bring in traffic, but you still need to pay attention to how much foot traffic a location gets on its own. For example, if you choose a vacant retail space that sits in a row of other vacant buildings, there won’t be much foot traffic in this area. However, if you choose the “store within a store” concept, you will instantly be exposed to the foot traffic that your retail partner normally gets. Keep in mind that not just any foot traffic will do—it’s important to learn more about the demographics of the people who are visiting the area. Either talk to the people who are renting out the space, or visit the location multiple times to do a little people watching on your own.

While you’re scouting out locations, take note of the number of parking spots in the area. If the location isn’t easily accessible, people may not be willing to make an effort to find a way in.

The location can make or break your event, so it’s best to make this decision with the help of an experienced marketing agency. The agency you work with should have extensive local knowledge and experience planning successful pop-up shop events.

Plan the layout

If this is your first pop-up shop, you may think designing a layout is just figuring out how to get all of your merchandise within the space, but that’s not the case. There are a few areas you should pay special attention to, including the decompression zone and the power wall.

The decompression zone is the first space a customer will step into when they enter your pop-up shop. Within these 5-15 feet, customers are still adjusting to the shift from the outside world to your store, so it’s likely they will miss any signage or displays in this area. Keep the merchandising in this space to a minimum since customers will probably not be influenced or enticed by anything they see here.

Science has shown that customers instinctively turn right when they enter a retail space, therefore the wall on the right side of the store is known as the power wall. The power wall should have all of your best merchandise since is the first thing your customers will truly pay attention to when entering your store. If you’re not selling a product, this should be where your signage or brand’s story goes so you can make a strong first impression on every customer.

Market the event

At this point, the basics of the pop-up shop have been finalized, so now you just have to figure out how to get people to your event. Start out by finding influencers in your industry that you would like to either attend or cover the event. If you don’t already have a list of influencers, use paid tools such as Moz’s Followerwonk or just try a few simple Google searches to pull up key industry players in your area. You may be able to find their email addresses, but sometimes it’s better to reach out to them via social media so they can click over to your brand’s page and see if they’re interested in your event.

But, don’t rely solely on influencers to market your event. Build buzz around your event by documenting every step of the planning process and showing your followers sneak peeks through Snapchat and Instagram stories. You could even host a Facebook live Q&A session and invite fans to ask questions about what they can expect from the event. Just be sure to keep some element of surprise so fans don’t know exactly what they will see. You still want them to enter your shop and experience that “wow” factor.

Remember, the marketing shouldn’t stop once the event begins. Incorporate social media into your event so you can continue to create buzz and draw people in after the event has already started. If you have space, create a small selfie booth where visitors can pose for photos with fun props. Make sure you advertise the unique hashtag you’ve created for the event all around your pop-up shop so guests know what they should use when talking about it on social media.

Another idea would be to host contests or giveaways during the event. Ask your visitors to check in on Facebook or take a photo of the pop-up shop and post it to Instagram with your unique hashtag. Then, choose a winner at random and give him or her a prize. The more people that participate, the more your event will be splashed across visitors’ Facebook and Instagram pages.

Are you thinking of launching a pop-up shop? Our team of experiential marketing experts can help you with every step of the process from concept creation to implementation. Contact us today to discuss how we can bring your vision for a pop-up shop to life!