How to open a pop up business in 10 steps

Launching a pop up is an excellent way to build awareness of your brand, test a business concept and meet your audience. This new monthly shop feature with a twist is brought to you by experts We Are Pop Up who have put together the top 10 steps to launching your pop up, breaking down the process into a go-to checklist for starting your own temporary space.

1. Pick a space

Choose your space wisely, as the location is very important. It should not only suit your budget, but also your brand identity. Find out how far it is from the nearest station. You want plenty of foot traffic, but make sure it’s the right demographic for your products or concept and price point. Check out the surrounding area, including the neighbouring retailers and the passers-by. Do they match your audience and style?

2. Cashflow

Your budget and the amount of stock you have tends to be the defining factors for how large your pop up will be, its location and its duration. Start with your budget and work backwards. Crowdfunding is an excellent way to top up your budget, and sites like Kickstarter and Crowdfunder are two of our favourites. They can help you get financial backing for your project, while also building a community that will be passionate about your concept from the start.

3. Promote your pop up

You need to start promoting early to create a buzz around your project. This can even be before you’ve confirmed your space. If you have a PR team, engage them well in advance. If you’re promoting the event yourself, be sure to use a combination of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to target your specific audience. Contact any relevant magazines, bloggers and local press to tell them about your concept and launch date with plenty of notice so they can get you in their busy schedules. Drop us a line at We Are Pop Up too so we can put the word out about you on our channels.

4. Tickets

If your pop up is a ticketed event, use a company like Billetto or Eventbrite to deal with your ticketing. They take away the admin headache and it’s also a useful way to increase the visibility of your pop up on a platform with an established audience.

5. Design a store that works

Think about colour, layout and theme. It is important to stay true to your brand, but a pop up is also an interesting way to experiment with the message you want to send; create a unique experience and tell a story. Layout also has a significant impact on sales - where you place a product in the shop and how it is displayed can be a defining factor. Did you know 64% of products are sold from eye level within a shop?

6. Test, listen and iterate

Set out your key aims for your pop up and measure them daily, be it sales, new social media followers, press coverage or otherwise. For sales, try out different products in your shop - pay attention to how customers interact with your items to find out which are the strongest performers on your shop floor as well as what’s not working. From this you can decide what to highlight and what to rotate, to help refine future choices.

It’s also important to speak to your customers. How did they hear about you and what do they think of your pop up, product range, in-store experience and so on? Not only can you gather valuable information and feedback about your concept, but you can also learn a lot about your consumer base itself in terms of their experience and expectations.

7. Collaborate

Think about how you could join with other brands to enhance the overall experience of your pop up. We Are Pop Up’s ShopShare provides a way to quickly and easily create concession stands, or even form your own micro-department store. Ultimately it allows you to pool resources and extend your reach by accessing the extended community behind each brand.

8. Set up a workshop

Consider creating an interactive element like an in-house workshop or studio, maybe even as part of a ShopShare. From our experience, having this element in the window of your pop up can increase sales in the shop by 800%. It enables you to demonstrate a product’s unique selling point directly to an engaged audience and also tell the brand story in real life.

9. Follow up

Don’t forget, it’s not all over when the pop up closes. The fortune is often in the follow-up. Collect customers’ contact details in-store and communicate with them regularly beyond the life of your shop. Can you give them a discount flyer to encourage them to repeat buy on your website or come to another event? Keep them up to date with your news, and invite them to the next pop up.

10. Evaluate and learn

The beauty of a pop up is that it is an opportunity to experiment, test and learn. Be bold, and take risks. Then afterwards, focus on what went well and what didn’t - learn from any mistakes and plan how to build on successes in your next one.

Final Thoughts

Launching a pop up is a tried and tested way to grow your company whether large or small and get a new business concept off the ground. There are new pop up space opportunities daily for you to explore on We Are Pop Up with planning, collaboration and an eye on your reasons for popping up, these top tips will help you achieve pop up success.

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