8 Ways Opening a Pop-up Shop Could Boost Your Business

All the rage, these temporary stores can help you bring in new customers, move holiday-related merchandise and build brand devotion.
Pop-up shops move from place to place which spreads brand awareness and builds customer-base. (Photo: LorenPhotography/Shutterstock)

During this time of worldwide economic uncertainty, pop-up shops are defying the odds and flourishing, growing by more than 16 percent since 2009.

A 2014 PopUp Republic study estimated the size of the annual U.S. pop-up shop market at $45 to $50 billion. In 2015, Independent Retailer put the number at $50 billion. Now may be the perfect time for you to grab your share of those sales.

“I think this trend has legs,” said market researcher Pam Danziger, founder of Unity Marketing and author of “Shops that POP: 7 Steps to Extraordinary Retail Success.” “A pop-up shop offers a way for fledgling retailers to get their feet wet, try out their idea and see if it sells. A successful pop-up shop can give retailers the confidence to open up in a new location or expand into new directions.”

What are pop-up shops? Think of them as temporary stores. They might stay open a day, a week or a month in a location (such as a gallery, an empty retail space or even a related store), and then they’re gone.

Here are eight reasons to consider opening one.

You can start or grow your business on a tight budget

The first quarter of 2016 saw a more than 12 percent vacancy rate for retail space in the United States. While this empty space may be bad for real estate, it could be an opportunity for you. For many landlords, partial rent is better than none, and that may translate to a short term retail space rental for you in a surprisingly great location.

Duke York, co-founder of PUNTO Space, a three-level events and performance space in midtown Manhattan, said he thinks pop-up shops are a great way to get the benefits of a shop without many of the hassles. “Instead of having a permanent showroom, you rent a space for a while, put your stuff there, sell and then leave when you’re done,” he said.

Thanks to the advances in technology such as point-of-sale (POS) systems, York said, you need only a Wi-Fi or cell phone connection to get sales going.


Bringing your store to the streets makes your merchandise more accessible. (Photo: Enlur/Shutterstock)

You can take your products to the people

“Pop-up shops are effective for small specialty retailers to spread the word and attract customers that might not be aware of or may not have crossed paths in the main street locations where their stores are located,” Danziger said.

They’re even a form of customer service.

“Today retailers must make that personal and personalized service their key competitive edge. Bringing the store to the customer, rather than waiting for the customer to come to them, is the real best reason to open a pop-up shop. It is a true customer service,” Danziger said.

You can test the market

Opening a pop-up shop can be an economical way to launch new products or see how customers like an idea before you initiate a full production run.

“Pop-up shops are a great way to test new concepts, new product lines and new business ideas,” said Danziger, who called them a “really effective way to see if your concept will ultimately sell.”

Pop-ups create a sense of urgency

Consumers are naturally drawn to limited-time offers and the idea of getting something unique.

Sam Wheeler, digital marketing specialist at Inseev Interactive, a digital marketing agency, said, “Creating a sense of urgency for the consumer stimulates conversion from a psychological standpoint, as the feeling of, ‘Oh I may not be able to get this product tomorrow so I better buy today,’ helps drive sales.”

They help you build a devoted following

According to Wheeler, another reason to open a pop-up shop is to create and build a following. “Pop-ups can be beneficial from a pure gorilla marketing standpoint,” he said. “Consumers that are lucky enough to be part of this ‘quick opportunity’ feel more attached to the brand and more inclined to share with their circles.”

Danziger noted pop-up shops are great way to connect personally with new customers. “Pop-up shops like carts in malls offer a different way to interact with customers — more more personal than what they experience in a store, where clerks are behind the counter or busy doing other tasks.” This connection can translate into loyal customers.

You’ll capitalize on seasonal and holiday buying

In a 2014 survey by PopUp Republic, 61 percent of shoppers listed seasonal goods as the main reason they shop at pop-up shops.

Flowers and jewelry near Valentine’s Day, costumes leading up to Halloween, perfume and personalized gifts ahead of Mother’s Day — the temporary nature of the pop-up shop makes it a natural for selling holiday themed merchandise.


Testing the market with new products in a pop-up shop can help determine if merchandise will sell well. (Photo: Avatar_023/Shutterstock)

They’re perfect for selling your standout items

“If you have a unique line of merchandise which is selling really well in your store or online, for example a line of handcrafted products, a pop-up shop can offer a way to expand sales of that particular product line,” said Danziger. “This is especially valuable if the unique product line has a story to tell and wants to reach a wider audience. But it needs to be something special.”

They take your e-business 3D

Pop-up shops offer online customers the chance to see and touch your merchandise in person, which should, if you have great products, make them more likely to buy. And pop-up shop clients may share their experience through online reviews and social media.

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