A Guide to Pop-Up Shops

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Summertime is the perfect time for pop-up shops. With everyone out shopping and dining, putting up your own pop-up shop in the midst of this traffic can help you sell more this season. Here are some tips to set yourself up for success in your pop-up endeavors.

1. Take Advantage of Festivals, Events and Trade Shows

Festivals, fairs, and exhibitions are consumer treasure troves for pop-ups. Manning a pop-up shop at one of these can wrangle tons of customers and keep them coming back for more once the event is over. Summer is the perfect time to set up shop at these events, but how do you find out when and where they are?

2. Understand Your Ideal Target Customer

It's an important step because of two reasons:

1) It helps determine which events you should focus on attending 2) Determines who and how you target the people who are most likely to buy from you

For example, if your business is selling a product-line of yoga pants, so your target crowd will most likely frequent healthy lifestyle festivals. Check the local Chamber of Commerce websites for festivals and fairs or alternately, use BizTradeShows.com to find tradeshows you can participate in.

3. Set Up Temporary Seasonal Shops

Pop-ups are short-term, and you should use this fact to your advantage. Landlords would rather have their spaces filled than vacant for a lot of reasons. Reach out to any unfilled locations and negotiate with the landlord; it's possible you may not have to pay rent aside from utilities (water, electricity, Internet, etc.). See if you can work out a deal with mutual benefits. Once you've found the perfect location, make sure your budget can handle any other fees. Business rates and insurance are some to keep in mind.

Sidenote: If you reside in the UK as a vendor, Appear Here is a handy tool for looking up landlords listing vacancies for pop-up shops.

4. Experiment With Merchandise

It may not be readily obvious but pop-ups are a great way to test out whether the new merchandise will be successful. If you made an ideal customer profile and selected a relevant event to participate in, you get to observe the purchasing behavior of  people who share essentially identical characteristics to your usual customers. Use pop-ups shops to check whether your gut feeling about pricing, merchandise or package deals are validated by customers.

5. Get a Mobile Payments Reader

The days of paying with cash are dwindling and almost everyone pays by card now. Make it more convenient for yourself and your customers by getting a mobile card reader (ie. Square, Intuit GoPayments, or PayPal Here). It works with your Apple or Android smartphone and tablet, processing cards quickly and easily. It will save you a ton of time and hassle, plus your customers will find it convenient.

6. Increase Traffic with Social Media

If you already have a strong customer following through Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram etc., flaunt your pop-up initiative. Tweet your location and any specials to get them into your shop or to visit the festival you're selling at. It should NEVER matter whether or not you have followers. You're never too early to start telling your story, sharing your experiences and building up a brand.

Get on your social networks, start listening to what  people are saying and get in on the conversation.

7. Create Drama, Attract Attention and Make it an Experience

Put thought into how you're going to attract customers to your stall. It could be simple, such as through great visual merchandising or it may involve more such as having giveaways.  Add splashes of color, movement, lighting, music, or aromas to make your pop-up memorable and welcoming.

Running a pop-up shop can be a labor of love. Yet with the right preparation, your pop-up can flourish wherever you plant it. Best wishes!