Small Business Saturday Blog

Get your business on the High Street with a PopUp or Shop Share

Thursday, March 12 at 13:20Marketing | Sales | Start-Up Support

We're seeing 40% monthly increase in the number of days small businesses are booking to pop up through We Are Pop Up. Its gone from being something used only by the more fringe, creative community or high-end brands, to something that any size of business can now access to grow their business and raise their profile. Our mission is to make finding retail space instant, easy and accessible to everyone, whatever their business size or sector, so it's very rewarding to see that small businesses can, and are popping up.

Are landlords becoming more accommodating of PopUps? 
Certainly they are more aware of PopUps as a possibility for their empty space. For many landlords, PopUps have become a viable option, now they are able to find and book tenants quickly and easily online. We are even seeing landlords who favour short term over long term, which is really exciting for us. That said, there’s still work to do to make the case to all landlords!

What is ShopShare and how does it differ from a PopUp? 
With ShopShare retailers can rent part of their premises - from a rail or window display to an entire floor. It gives emerging brands the chance to be stocked in an existing shop with an established customer base, without the need for fit out costs. Brands can test their product or concept in an up-and-running shop, at low cost and low risk. It's totally flexible - they can book a prestigious space for a short period, or an emerging space for a longer stay. Brands and shops can 'curate' an experience. For example, brands can pick a shop that matches their brand, or go for a contrasting 'brand clash' to create a unique pop up. If the collaboration is going well and both sides are happy, it's easy to extend the booking.

How much should a small business expect to pay for, say, a one week PopUp or Shop Share? 
Prices vary hugely but with ShopShare we've tried to create a low-cost entry point for small businesses. For a one week ShopShare, prices start at £1 per day, but the average is £15/day so expect to pay about £105/week all expenses included. For a one week PopUp, it depends on the location and size of space - we have small businesses clubbing together to share large spaces, or some taking on a full space for around £700/week.

What are your top tips for making a success of a PopUp? 
Pick a space to suit your brand and concept - this can be where your customers are, or test out new areas and find new customers.

Start promoting as early as possible. Have you told everyone where, when and what you're doing and invited them to your launch night? Keep in touch with your customers, fans and press and encourage them to help spread the word.

Think about the finances - have you priced your products appropriately, do you have your cashflow in order and do you have margins in your pricing to run discounts or promotions on launch night?

Experiment! Try, measure, learn. Pay attention to what's working in terms of sales on the shop floor and what's not.

Don't be shy. Talk to your customers and gather feedback about your products or service. Do more of the things they love, and improve what they don't.

The fortune is in the follow up: Collect customers' contact details in store and keep in touch with them about your news and promotions.

Do you think PopUps can save the High Street? 
At We Are Pop Up, we're passionate about vibrant and diverse high streets which reflect the local area. We're seeing wonderful examples of PopUps bringing communities together, like Feast Norwood. Also with ShopShare, we are seeing independent retailers use it to top up their revenue by hosting pop ups in quieter seasons. Those pop ups tend to grow and go on to take on their own space, so whilst it's not the only saviour of the high street (I could talk at length about business rates reform and out of town shopping centres but I won't here!) we know that it is a powerful tool. Today, we're inviting anyone who cares about their high street to get involved by inviting their favourite shops to ShopShare: https://wearepopup.com/r/partners/ and help the next generation of retailers.


By Abigail Freeman from We are Pop Up. Hear from Abi and other experts and small businesses on 18 March at a ‘How to do a PopUp event’ with small business network Enterprise Nation

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