How to Organize and Operate a Pop-up Shop


The ways you can sell your product are limited only by your imagination. A pop-up shop offers sellers many of the benefits of brick and mortar stores while doing away with a few of the limitations. The most effective pop-up shops are used in conjunction with other marketing methods to create a fuller brand atmosphere for the customer.


If you have a brick and mortar building but you want to scout out new locations, or you run an online business but you’d like to become a familiar face in the community, a pop-up shop might be the right choice. Since you decide how long the shop lasts and how much to put into it, you can end up reaping big rewards with relatively little risk.


In order to get the most out of your pop-up shop, you need to know how to set it up and how to keep it running. That means you’ll need a detailed plan before you launch to keep you on track throughout your campaign, however brief it may be. Ahead we’ll teach you how to organize and operate a pop-up shop for your business.


Man and woman in the market


What You Can Do

A pop-up shop is essentially a physical outpost for your business that only operates during a period of time. Depending on your needs, resources, and goals, it can function for days or several weeks. Here are a couple of things you can do when you set up your shop:


1. Experiment with different marketing strategies, locations, and promotion lengths. Promotions can be short, so you can try out different tactics at different locations over a relatively short period of time.


2. Create a sense of urgency so your customers will be more inclined to act quickly and make a purchase. Customers don’t want to miss out on the exclusive products and bargain deals, so they’ll be more likely to act fast.


3. Take advantage of seasonal opportunities like national and religious holidays. The “spending mood” is real, and it tends to happen more around the holidays; take that into consideration when timing your campaign.


4. Expand your outreach by interacting with customers face-to-face and online. It’s helpful when customers can put a face to a name, or even a human employee’s name to a brand’s product.


"People need a reason to visit your pop-up shop. If you make it worth their  while, they’ll tell their friends and your business will grow. "  -Click to Tweet-


Getting Yourself Ready

Preparation is huge if you want your pop-up shop to be an instant hit, so don’t forget to map out your plan. Some details might change along the way, but you should have clearly outlined goals and a plan for achieving them.


● Set Reasonable Goals — What do you hope to achieve with your pop-up shop? You might want to shine the spotlight on a new app, let shoppers try out your latest product, or put yourself in the middle of the local mall to interact with more people. Clearly define your goals in terms that you can objectively measure, like percentage increase in traffic or gained Facebook likes over the course of the pop-up shop.

Remember, these should be reasonable goals. If you strive for something unrealistic, chances are you’re not going to reach your goal, and that won’t work wonders for your team morale. Set your goals based on past data, adjust your strategy as you learn more information, and don’t be discouraged if you don’t hit the jackpot immediately.


● Choose a Time Period and Location — Now that you have an idea of the “why” you can move on to the “when” and “where.” Here you can go for a time and place that attracts the most traffic, or a time and a place that appeals most to your specific demographic.

It’s never a bad idea to set up shop in an area where there’s heavy traffic, especially when it’s at its peak. More eyeballs on your brand means increased familiarity and sales. A strip mall during busy season could be a prime spot for a pop-up shop. Due to the sheer amount of people passing by your shop, a couple of them are bound to look your way.

On the other hand, this might not be the ideal approach for smaller niche markets. If you sell a product with a very specific target demographic, it could be more helpful to plan your shops around their behaviors rather than simply putting yourself in front of the masses. Learn about where your customers shop and at what time, and use this data to plan your pop-up shop.


● Look Over Your Finances — Pop-up shops aren’t free, and they can become quite extravagant, so part of the planning process is deciding how much money to spend. You might decide to run an intense campaign for a brief period, or you might go the slow and steady route; think about how to allocate your finances so you can make these decisions according to your budget.


● Generate Buzz — Due to the temporary nature of pop-up shops, it’s wise to spread the word about your shop before it opens. If a shop runs for seven days but only starts doing well during the last three days, you might not have the budget to keep it running longer. Get people talking about your brand ahead of time to make sure people show up to your shop. Use your mailing list, paid advertisements on social media, or physical fliers in the vicinity of the shop’s location.


Market in the street

 Image via


Operating the Shop

A strong start is a plus, but you need to see your pop-up shop through to the end. Regardless of the length of time your campaign runs, it’s your job to look at the numbers and refine your strategy on the fly.


● Stick to the Marketing Plan — Take a moment to refer back to your original plan while you run your shop. Are you on pace to reach your goals? What can you do to further your efforts? Analyze your data on a regular basis so you can see how your campaign is performing as a whole.


● Offer Sales and Promo Products — People need a reason to visit your pop-up shop. If you make it worth their while, they’ll tell their friends and your business will grow. Existing businesses can run sales to bring traffic to their pop-up shops, while startups might offer free information and promotional materials to brew up interest in your brand.


● Run with Momentum — Your first pop-up shop may very well not be your last. Once your campaign has ended, look at the data and identify its strong and weak points. Think about how you can solve or eliminate the problems, and consider different locations and times of day. If your first attempt was a massive success, consider tweaking the design and replicating it regularly in the future.


Now that you’ve been through a crash course in pop-up shops, think about how opening one might help your business. Remember to plan ahead, but be ready to adjust as you go. Pop-up shops may become a regular part of your arsenal as your business grows.

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