You’ve started your business, you know it works where you are, be that online or in one location – but what next? Perhaps you’d like to branch out into other areas yourself, to test the market with a view to starting a franchising opportunity, or perhaps you’d just like to boost your income during a particular event or season – enter the pop up shop.
The great British summer is a great time to start popping up. Three retailers tell us why as we look at the ins and outs of pop up shops.
Pop up shops can work for both start up businesses and established brands, and timing really depends on your product or service, your target audience and their availability, and what your objectives are.
Timed well, seasonal pop ups can provide excellent opportunities, and pop ups are hot stuff in the great British Summer. At fetes and fairs, and making use of the additional space that the weather allows, you can optimise potential from the footfall at a number of different events, building your brand and demand for it.
Lucy, a jewellery designer, says: “While I take a big proportion of my annual turnover at Christmas, I can’t get out and about then as I’m busy filling orders. The summer gives me the opportunity to go out and meet customers to show them the quality that I know they’ll love to get their hands on. And a lot of people remember and buy online later on in the year too. It works for me!”
Pop Up- Why?
In a tough economic climate, retailers are facing bigger and bigger challenges. The opportunities presented by an increasingly open marketplace online are offset by fierce competition, rising rental costs and steadily decreasing margins.
And while the internet provides many with huge sales potential, customers are better informed, and more demanding. A pop up shop allows your customers a new experience – delivering real sensory interaction with your product, tying in an offline experience with your online offering.
For the start up business pop up shops offer even greater opportunity. A pop up shop is your opportunity to:
- research your market and your product in a live environment
- measure the demand for your product or service
- refine your offering as you collect data.
Kate, who sources and sells clothing and accessories from her home in Essex, chose the pop up route while she was refining her product offering: “I’d started out after a friend had commented that I always sourced unique gifts and that I should source them to sell. But the choices I was making were quite personal.
“I opened a pop up shop in a shopping centre for a couple of weeks last winter, and quite quickly realised I needed to change my focus. I opened again for a fortnight early this summer and it was a completely different experience, with customers looking to rejuvenate their wardrobe for the summer months with my scarves and accessories.”
Pop Up- What?
So what will a pop up shop do for you? Emma, who designs and makes children’s clothes from home in Northumberland says: “My pop up shops offered me a wonderful insight into what my customers really want – both the children and the adults buying my clothing for them.”
Emma elaborates: “As well as establishing my name and brand with new people, I find lots of new customers, who come back to me again online too. I also run a social media campaign around the shop opening, and a competition, which help build the buzz and teach me a lot about who’s going to turn up and what I need to stock.”
With so many retail units sitting empty in town centres across the UK, there’s plenty of space for short term leases. And your pop up shop doesn’t necessarily have to be in a store space at all. From churches and church and village halls, galleries, shopping centres, fetes and fairs, through to even less conventional spaces such as boats, buses and more.
“I’ve always loved craft markets” says Emma. “I feel most at home among the artisans you meet there and the summer brings with it lots of lovely street markets full of life and atmosphere – these are great for independent pop up shops like mine.”
Alternatively you could choose to approach an existing store that offers products that complement your own. Helping to offset one of their biggest outlays – their rent – and potentially increasing the footfall into their store, you’ll also be able to benefit from lower set up time and costs as your shelf or floor space will already be planned out.
Spaces can be browsed easily using leading Popup activists Popup Britain; or investigate the spaces offered by the likes of Appear Here (where we caught up with interesting popups Fever Tree, Bailey Nelson and Apples & Pears). Do a quick online search on popup spaces near your dream area.
Pop Up- How?
If you’re already selling online, you’re probably already using social media to boost awareness and sales. Coupled with the power of social media, the pop up shop is a formidable sales opportunity, allowing you to be connected and dynamic, and to establish excitement and a stir for your venture.
When planning your pop up shop you need to:
- set clear objectives
- establish your target audience
- research your location
- get connected however you can.
Pop Up Shops To Top Up Potential
British business is building and whether you’re a start up just registering and beginning to plan out your venture, or if you’re more established and want to reach out to new customers and areas, they work to strengthen your business and brand, as well as helping to support the economy and our High Streets.
Pop up shops, or ‘lean retail’ as they’re also known, are reinvigorating the high street and as an efficient, targeted and cost effective way of bringing your brand to your customers, they make real business sense.