Small Business Saturday Blog

10 steps to launch your pop-up

Tuesday, July 21 at 10:04Planning | Retail Space | Shop Share | We Are Pop Up

Hundreds of independent retailers are hosting pop-up brands with We Are Pop Up’s ShopShare as a way of forming exciting collaborations, pooling their resources and creating a buzz about their business.

In our last article we spoke about how to make sure that brands and retailers find the right match. This time, We Are Pop Up has put together the top 10 steps for brands for launching your own pop-up, to break down the process into a go-to checklist for starting your own temporary retail space.

1. Pick a space

Choose your space wisely, as the location is very important. It should not only suit your budget, but also your brand identity. Find out how far it is from the nearest station or transport links. You want plenty of foot traffic, but make sure it’s the right demographic for your products and price point. Check out the surrounding area, including the neighbouring businesses and the passers-by. Do they match your audience and style?


2. Think about finances

Your budget and the amount of stock you have tend to be defining factors for how large your pop-up will be, its location and its duration. Start with your budget and work backwards. Crowdfunding is an excellent way to top up your budget, and sites like Kickstarter and Crowdfunder are two of our favourites at We Are Pop Up - they can help get financial backing for your project, while also building a community that will be passionate about your concept from the start.


3. Promote your pop up

You need to start promoting early to create a buzz around your pop-up. This can even be before you’ve confirmed your space. Be sure to use a combination of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to target your specific audience. Contact any relevant magazines, bloggers and local press to tell them about your concept and launch date with plenty of notice so they can get you in their busy schedules. Drop us a line at We Are Pop Up too so we can put the word out about you on our channels.


4. Tickets

If your pop-up is a ticketed event, use a company like Billetto or Eventbrite to deal with your ticketing. They take away the admin headache and it’s also a useful way to increase the visibility of your pop-up on a platform with an established audience.


5. Design a store that works

Think about colour, layout and theme. It is important to stay true to your brand identity, but a pop-up is also an interesting way to experiment with the message you want to send; create a unique experience and tell a story. Use Pinterest for inspiration - why not start with We Are Pop Up’s Top 10 mood boards to see how other businesses have done it. Layout also has a significant impact on sales - where you place a product in the shop and how it is displayed can be a defining factor. Did you know 64% of products are sold from eye level within a shop?

Hint: take a look at We Are Pop Up’s top tips for visual merchandising and building your brand story here.


6. Test, listen and iterate

Set out your key aims for your pop-up and measure them daily, be it sales, new social media followers, press coverage or otherwise. For sales, try out different products in your shop - pay attention to how customers interact with your items to find out which are the strongest performers on your shop floor as well as what’s not working. From this you can decide what to highlight and what to rotate, to help refine future choices.

It’s also important to speak to your customers. How did they hear about you and what do they think of your pop-up, product range, in-store experience and so on? Not only can you gather valuable information and feedback about your concept, but you can also learn a lot about your consumer base itself in terms of their experience and expectations.


7. Collaborate

Think about how you could join with other small businesses to enhance the overall experience of your pop-up. We Are Pop Up’s ShopShare provides a way to quickly and easily create concession stands, or even form your own micro-department store. Ultimately it allows you to pool resources and extend your reach by accessing the extended community behind each brand.


8. Set up a workshop

Consider creating an interactive element like an in-house workshop or studio, maybe even as part of a ShopShare. From our experience, having this element in the window of your pop-up can increase sales in the shop by 800%. It enables you to demonstrate a product’s unique selling point directly to an engaged audience and also tells the story behind your business in real life.


9. Follow up

Don’t forget, it’s not all over when the pop-up closes. The fortune is often in the follow-up. Collect customers’ contact details in-store and communicate with them regularly beyond the life of your shop. Can you give them a discount flyer to encourage them to repeat buy on your website or come to another event? Keep them up to date with your news, and invite them to the next pop-up.


10. Evaluate and learn

The beauty of a pop-up is that it is an opportunity to experiment, test and learn. Be bold, and take risks. Then afterwards, focus on what went well and what didn’t - learn from any mistakes and plan how to build on successes in your next one. Finally, get back in contact with We Are Pop Up and we will be on hand to take you to the next stage.


Final Thoughts

Launching a pop-up is a tried and tested way to grow your business, get a new brand concept off the ground, test new markets or create a buzz about your next project. There are new pop-up space opportunities daily for you to explore on wearepopup.com and with planning, collaboration and an eye on these top tips for launching, every small independent business can achieve pop-up success.

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