How To Launch A Pop-up Store

We’ve all meandered our way through markets in search of the next big thing from time to time. With a resurgence in boutique culture and an appreciation for the underground (or underdog) retailer, pop-up stores are becoming highly anticipated, highly sought after methods of sales and building a brand name.

To bring your products offline and onto the streets, we’ve come up with these tips to launching a pop-up

Plan

To get past the banalities of business planning, follow the five W’s and H guide to logistical success:

Who are you renting space from?

With any rental contract, you want to have an idea of who you’re renting from. Convince them your pop-up will prevent their space looking barren, bring in income and illuminate it for future tenants. Decide the length of your rental terms. Know the boundaries of the space. And don’t refurbish if you’re going to have to foot a repair bill. 

What’s your budget?

Knowing what your limit and allocating funds for each stage of your pop-up will prevent cash flow drying up halfway into the process. Use online tools and plan your budget around set parameters to cement the bricks and mortar of your pop-up. 

Where are you setting up?

It goes without saying, the old Aussie idiom ‘location, location, location’ is a vital one. Great foot traffic will take your pop-up swiftly out of the teething stage and onto its first steps to success. Research the area you pick and ensure the demographic is something you cater to. The more may not be the merrier if you don’t have the stock for it, and there’s no point in selling designer diapers in childless suburbs.

When are you launching?

Be tactful and seasonal. Swimwear belongs in summer and no one likes expired or unripe products that they’ll have to wait to use. Also be aware of what’s going on. Is a similar fashion label that’s more established than you having a warehouse sale? Be smart, don’t compete and pick your dates wisely.

How will you follow financial and legal obligations?

Trick question, you kind of HAVE to. Figuring out how you will accept customer payments is a no brainer, so check out apps like SQUARE for simple point of sale systems. When it comes to legal obligations, it’s important to get your head around what you may need depending on your business. Think about insurance, think about licensing. If you don’t remember to, we guarantee the law definitely will.

Why are you launching a pop-up?

Keep your original mission clear. If you want to sell all your stock, organise your plan accordingly. Looking to make a name for yourself? Host the best launch party the streets ever seen! Whatever it is, don’t lose sight of your vision.

Design

Once you get the logistics out of the way, channel your creativity. While it’s easy to lose yourself on Pinterest, here’s a straightforward list of things to consider when designing your store:

Atmosphere: What vibe are you going for? Take inspiration from an era, an art movement, even a city and design accordingly to evoke a unique atmosphere in your pop-up.

Art: Your product may be visually captivating enough, but a little culture never goes astray. Hanging paintings or sketches are a great temporary way to vamp your space.

Change Rooms: Mirror mirror on the wall, do I want this product at all? Yes, your customer does, so make them more likely to buy with flattering lighting or a ‘try before you buy’ sample station.

Decals & Signage: If you can’t get a proper shop sign, consider decals. Window decals are a great, customizable and easily removable way to advertise your brand name so highlight when your stores operating dates and watch curious customers pour in.

Displays: Consider whether you want to feature certain products. Does your online site have a best seller? Bring attention to it in the middle of the store. 

Flooring: Antique record store? Linoleum manifests that retro vibe. New skin care line? Look clean and fresh with a polished floor. Whatever your product, you’ll see your customers put the right foot forward with the right flooring underneath them.

Music: Nothing builds atmosphere like the right soundtrack. Your playlist will ignite the sensory experience that is your brand

Ornaments: A lot of boutiques have random knick knacks lying around. It may be unnecessary, but having a quirky symbol that represents your brand decorating the store are like freckles on the face - unique and one of a kind.

Product Placement: Whether feng shui or your mother’s way, arrange you products neatly and aesthetically. Your product placement will curate your stores entire image.

Storage: Keep your pop-up organised and get creative with your stock storage! 

Seating: We all know of the “husband” chair in stores that keep painful co-shoppers placid, so it might be worth investing in suitable seating areas to make your customer’s shopping process all the more seamless. You can even take it as an opportunity to sit down and connect with your clients in person instead of online!

Promote

Promotions will all depend on the length of time your pop-up is open, where it is, the reputation of your brand and so on, so we’ve listed a few methods that may help you spread the word:

Flyers: Even though trends say everything has moved online, if you know your customers will appreciate a physical pop-up, then they’ll appreciate a glossy flyer to hold at the opening. Design them with simple graphic design pages like Canva.

Social Media: Post on your Instagram, announce on your Facebook and Tweet your loyal customers! Spread the word on the Internet to create a viral buzz for your physical store and turn followers into foot traffic.

Press Release: Put together a press release and send it out to local influencers, bloggers and media. You may score a number of free articles promoting your pending pop-up. 

Launch Party: You never need an excuse for a party, but to promote a pop-up business definitely earns itself a top spot on memorable, buzz-worthy themes.

Launching your pop-up store is a day by day task, so when it comes to the big opening day, remember - even on the yellow brick road, Dorothy skipped with The Lion, Tin Man and Scarecrow in tow. With a small window of time to succeed, make sure your staff are educated to drive positive brand representation.

Create relationships with your customers and stand out in the selling process and make them feel valued. With quality service, products and follow-up, leaving things like handwritten notes in the bag or sign ups to the company newsletter will keep them interested, in the loop and loyal to your brand.

Bianca Farmakis