How to leverage your Pop-Up store for maximum profit.
Pop-up shops or stalls are a phenomenal method of generating a new revenue stream, maximising your profit at an event, increasing your brand awareness and amplifying your customer base. They are especially potent if your brand is predominantly based in the ethereal internet sphere and lacks a physical presence or is a sports company seeking to promote itself at an event. From a marketing perspective, a well positioned and promoted pop-up store can exponentially increase traffic to your website and subsequent sign-ups and lead generation. In this whistle-stop guide, I will whisk you through the multitude of benefits of starting your own pop-up shop and the tweaks you can make to your operation to bring home the maximum ROI.
Right off the bat, one of the major advantages of setting up a pop-up store is the sense of urgency it creates. In most cases, people are aware that the pop-up shop is a temporary stunt by an organisation and this arouses an added desire for their offerings given that they will only be available on a limited time basis. One clear example of this is poster pop-up stores which are ubiquitous on university campuses. These will crop up once every month or so, and when they do, are inundated with foot traffic and with people looking to bedeck their rooms. The intermittent appearance ramps up the urgency and increases the amount of sales the pop-up shop makes. Combined with an excellent location and cut-throat prices, then the outlet stands to make a tidy profit. This is especially effective if you are offering an exclusive product with a limited number produced. If it is a quality product and you have expertly marketed the event, then you will have crowds trampling and jostling each other like Black Friday at Walmart to get a piece of the action.
Pop-up shops are also a low-risk strategy for testing the waters of a particular field. Perhaps your business is reluctant to take the risk on hiring a permanent brick-and-mortar location and merely wishes to gauge the public reaction to your products. The first option requires a significant outlay, with permanently hiring a store location being a precarious decision. On the other hand, a pop-up is frequently a much smaller, cost-effective space on a temporary lease so that even if you don't achieve success, your company is not completely wiped out financially. In this sense, a pop-up shop is like your traditional retail location on training wheels.
Another vital functional that a pop-up shop can play is in enabling you to dispose of excess inventory and stock in a profitable way. Fashion chains can often be quick to discard out of season printed clothing when they could easily spin it into an extra revenue stream by setting up a pop-up store and offering discounts and promotions. When we consider that a large amount of unsold clothing is burned or shredded, this is a much more appealing route. If you are an online-based clothing brand then a pop-up shop can bolster your reputation among your existing fan base while also spreading the good message about your brand, in turn encouraging purchases and sign-ups on your website. For any business, a human face is important and this is often difficult to achieve when all interactions are taking place remotely and impersonally over the web. Actual physical interaction with your clientele is an invaluable experience and creates good will.
Furthermore, it is much easier to choreograph and control the entire retail experience with a pop-up shop. You can create a unique ambience that is magnetic for the inquisitive bypasser. For example BirchBox, a company which specialises in curated beauty products went on a beauty tour in 2015 and set up pop-up shops in shipping containers ith a vibrant aesthetic, displaying their products in additional of the added bonus of offering manicures and astrology readings. This is a textbook example of the company clearly identifying their buyer personas and tailoring their offerings to their interests and wants. Adidas also impressed in 2014, with their giant shoebox pop-up store which was like bait for any sneakers aficionado. Inside, they had an interactive floor and a 3D printer where you could design your own custom lace locks. Unfortunately, this pop-up didn't linger for long, only sticking around for about three days, but the entire experience tied into Adidas's eco-system and built up buzz and urgency.
Fundamentally, pop-up stores are a real force for creating hype around an event or product. Perhaps you are an enterprising sports brand that has an event on the horizon. By ordering a range of branded merchandise such as sports bottles, tote bags, sunglasses, bibs and printed T-Shirts and polo shirts and then either gratuitously distributing them or selling them at a pop-up shop prior to the event, you drastically raise interest and awareness about your event. You can further drive customer participation with a left-field, experimental pop-up shop like those demonstrated above.
Refining your Pop-Up operation:
We've established that a pop-up enterprise can be a great investment for your business, now let's delve into the nitty-gritty of ensuring it's a successful event.
Budgeting is one of the essential steps you can take in the build-up to your pop-up experience. There are multiple variables you need to factor in. First and foremost, rent is something that you need to pay heed. There are numerous small enterprises which specialise in helping link you up with attractive and geographically appropriate retail space at equitable prices. Among these are Storefront, Appear Here and PopUp Britain. You want to pay a reasonable price and be in a location that is visible to your target demographic. Organise this as far in advance as possible, so you don't end up being fated to set up underneath an overpass.
Next, think about utilities. How much are you going to need to fork out for electricity, water, gas and internet? Setting up a speedy and reliable POS system should be on the agenda to protect against any customers slipping through the net through a lack of means of payment. Also, consider inventory. Are you going to need to boost production to meet the demands of the pop-up store? Will this be the main expense or will most of your stock be unsold of leftover items? If you want your pop-up to dazzle then decide the amount that you are willing to spend on decorations, posters and lighting to construct an idiosyncratic atmosphere. You may be more willing to increase your outlay on this expense the longer your pop-up will be present in a location or if you will be constantly packing up and transporting to a different location. Finally, don't neglect marketing and promotion in addition to potential bonus features like food and drink. In the run-up to the event, you should be using every social media channel to hype up your pop-up event and distributing flyers. You can make the most mind-blowing and compelling pop-up experience possible, but if people have no clue it's even taking place then it counts for very little.
If your brand has previously been confined to the digital sphere, it's important to define your brand and how it would transfer to the retail environment in terms of appearance and customer service. The colour scheme and other distinctive features of your website should be contiguous with the appearance of your pop-up store. Let's cast our minds to the technology titan Apple, minimalism is a consistent feature from website to store. In addition, there is the same typeface, colours, images, styling and products. The same philosophy of total brand coordination should be applied to your pop-up shop. This is your chance to position your brand in the physical realm and so no expense should be spared in making sure it's a true reflection of yourself.
Staffing is another salient feature that you can't afford to overlook. If you're a sports company then you need employees manning your pop-up shop who are passionate about sports and your products. They need to be able to generate a warm atmosphere for customers as well as being sufficiently versed in your products to assist customers with any questions they might have. You have a few options when it comes to this. You can contract an agency to equip you with the staff. This involves an element of ceding control, and so while being the convenient strategy, you many not necessarily end up with the quality of employee that you craved. Alternatively, you could post ads on social media and in newspapers, leading to a rapid-fire interview process. Finally, you could co-opt existing members of your team into working at the pop-up store. This is a good option if you see certain members of your team as excellent salespeople, and people who truly embody the values of your brand.
If we return to location for a moment, there are a range of opportunities open to you. You can opt to rent out an unused retail space, providing you with the full latitude of a traditional retail store. You can go for a pimped out shopping container dropped into an open area with a high level of foot traffic, provided you have a permit or license. Other options include setting up a kiosk in a mall, a booth within an existing shop, or a stand within a gallery or event space. The right decision depends on the nature of your business and your goals. If expanding your brand awareness is imperative then a mall kiosk is probably an ideal choice given the number of people you'll be exposed to. Alternatively, if you're a specialised seller of isotonic gels then an event space just before a marathon is your golden ticket. The most important question to ask yourself is where does my target market gather?
The pop-up shop is the ultimate brand awareness stunt, therefore almost every point of contact should affirm and emphasise your brand. If you feel as though it is fitting for your company and industry, then a large digital display can be an interactive and advantageous in-store way of peacocking your inventory and drawing in foot traffic. Branded merchandise is an additional fantastic form of brand promotion. Specifically, I'm referring to branded banners, flyers, catalogues, marquees , pens and mugs among others. We've mentioned in previous blog posts about how you can use printed clothing to promote your brand and the pop-up shop is no exception to this rule. Outfit your staff with T-Shirts and hoodies, or even offer them to the first 100 customers who enter your pop-up and make a purchase. Such an initiative offers a bona fide incentive and can really help get the ball rolling when it comes to those initial visitors into your store. Next, don't stop at merely selling your inventory. Especially if you are primarily an e-commerce store, focus on acquiring your customer's information and see if you can parlay the sale into the customer becoming a long-term advocate for your company.
Hopefully, this guide has shown you why the pop-up, temporary store business model is on the resurgence and how you can approach setting up one yourself. Currently, it is one of the best methods to add an extra revenue stream to your company and firmly place your company on the map. With the increasing importance of distinguishing yourself from your competitors, offering a singular pop-up experience can lift you head and shoulders above the field. So, what are you waiting for? Get planning now!