OK, so you’re ready to open a Pop-Up store. Or at least to plan it out. Check out my post on what Pop-Up stores are, and why to do them. This article covers how to do them.
Location, Location, Location
It’s a retail industry cliché, but for a physical store, it’s all about the right location. Where will your Pop-Up be seen? Where will be a good location, considering your target audience? Where do your customers live, work, play, travel?
A lot of this has to do with adjacencies; what other amenities, do your target audience visit, that your Pop-Up can be near? For example, workspaces, restaurants, gyms, grocery stores, residential complexes.
Types of Locations (not in order of importance)
- Urban street level store-fronts
- Shopping malls
- Hospitals (7-Eleven recently installed a Pop-Up convenience store inside the Dallas Children’s Hospital, to serve health care staff and visitors, during the current Corona Virus crisis)
- Train Stations
- Highway travel plazas
- Inside other stores (For example, Designer Show Warehouse (DSW) just announced they are installing shoe departments in Hy-Vee grocery stores)
How to Find a Pop-Up Location
There are several online platforms – see list below – that connect real estate landlords to potential Pop-Up operators. But as location is probably the most important factor for the success of a Pop-Up, we recommend you do your own scouting for the right location. It’s probably the last aspect you’ll want to outsource, although these platforms may be useful. If you locate an empty storefront in the right spot, you can just contact the property owner directly. If you don’t know who owns the building, ask local businesses; you’ll figure it out.
Shopping malls all have leasing personnel on staff, so it is relatively easy to find someone at these locations to ask about availability, rents etc.
The other types of venues mentioned above, like, airports, colleges, workplaces, hospitals, will take some ingenuity, persistence and selling, to open paths for a Pop-Up. The right location will rarely be easy to find, or negotiate the right deal with. But it can be done (and we can help, contact us here)
Pop-Ins, also Known as Shop-in-Shops
This is where you rent space within an existing store, usually paying a % of sales as rent. So, you’re not really ‘renting’ space as much as profit-sharing your operation with the store owner. To pull this off, your brand will need to complement the retailer and help them build traffic. But it’s a sound strategy.
Online platforms where you can find and book a Pop-Up location:
This is likely the most important contributor to whether your Pop-Up is profitable; how much to pay the landlord. Remember, everything is negotiable. The least risky rent structure is to share a % of your sales with the landlord, and pay that instead of a fixed rent. Or a combination of fixed, guaranteed rent and a % of sales over a certain break-point.
What you spend on the design and build-out of the store, signage, store fixtures, lighting and other elements will also be important to profitability. The ideal is to find a space where the previous occupant has left a build-out that you can re-use. This may even be part of your criteria for looking for the right space. If a space’s flooring, ceiling treatments, lighting and store fixtures fit your brand this will be a huge advantage.
You’ll likely need some type of liability insurance. You’ll probably need a business license from the city or state, and register to collect and pay sales tax. And you’ll need utilities and internet.
Marketing the Pop-Up Event
As discussed in my article on why to do a Pop-Up, a key reason to operate a Pop-Up store, is to promote your brand, as well as to make sales now. To optimize the value of your investment you’ll want to market the event, before, during and after it takes place. And then measure the effects of that marketing.
Alert local and business media to your Pop-Up well ahead of time, and have a launch party, to which you invite media figures and influencers who will help you amplify the event.
After the event, measure the effectiveness of your Pop-Up; not only sales, but media mentions of your event.
Here are some tools you can use to measure your social media effectiveness
If you are able to invest in traffic counter tools like, Dor, Aislelabs, or ShopperTrak you will be able to measure how many customers walked into the Pop-Up, by day and time. And by dividing sales transactions by traffic you can measure your store conversions; how many people visited and how many purchased.
There you have it; a not fully complete, but hopefully pretty useful plan on how to open the doors for a successful Pop-Up store. And don’t be a stranger – if you need help with any of this, reach us here.
And to learn even more, here’s a great article on Pop-Ups published by Shopify, some of which we’ve summarized here.