I recently opened my second pop up shop. I love the experience of a bricks and mortar shop - even for a short time. I love seeing how customers respond to my products. Listening to them talk about the things I make gives me such an insight into what people really think of them.
My shops have both been short term lets of just 6 weeks each. They are exciting and exhausting all at the same time – but there is just so much to do before you can open!So if you are opening a pop up shop here are my top 10 tips to make it as successful as you
1. Make sure you have the right insurance
Check that your current business insurances - including public and product liability insurance - covers you in a retail space. Mine doesn’t and so I take additional insurance through the brokers W.B Baxter’s for the duration of the pop up shop.
2. Check where the nearest toilet is!
And if you can you make a cup of tea in the shop!
My first shop had electricity but no heating, water or toilet facilities - which meant closing up and walking to the public toilets several times a day and taking down a large bottle of water, small fridge for milk and a kettle. The first unit also had no heating so I had to take down portable heaters and wear a lot of layers! The unit I am currently in has heating, water, electricity and a toilet - which feels like a big luxury! Make sure you know what your unit has so you can take provisions with you if needed.
3. Where can you unload/load?
Again, from experience a unit with a back door is much better than one without! My first unit only had access through the front door which meant I needed to lug all my display stands and stock through a shopping centre, which was quite a mission to say the least!
What access do you have for loading and unloading? Make sure you know if there are specific unloading hours and make sure you factor this into your set up timescales. Include setting up time
4. Layout and Design
It is really important to think about the layout of your shop before you move in and start setting things up. Visit the space and see where plug sockets are, what is the lighting like and how big is the window space? Then Pinterest and google are your friends for great display ideas and also ideas on how to maximise your selling space to make those sales!
Here is a link to my pinterest board of ideas for the shops I have been in: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/tuttifrutti_/pop-up-shop/
If your shop is only a short term let - and mine have only been for 6 weeks at a time - then you really don’t want to spend out on fixtures and fittings you might not use again. Look on facebook marketplace and eBay for racking and shelving that you might be able to use again or sell on when the shop has finished. Make sure you know if you can or can’t fix anything to walls or bang any nails in. Command hooks and strips are your friend if you are limited in what you can fix to the walls.
5. Branding, shop signs and banners and marketing
A bold sign that is visible to passers-by is a must for any shop and you don’t need to spend lots to get a professional look. I have my logo printed on to foamex board which is really light and very transportable. Hung in the shop window it is clear and professional. If you already have roller banners or other marketing signs from markets and fairs you do you could think about how these could work in a shop window.
6. Don’ forget to test your technology
Test you payment machines (and any other tech!) before you open your doors!
I cannot stress enough how important it is to test the tech you have down the shop. Does your card reader only work on WiFi? Test it! Make sure you know how the connection works and any areas that might trip you up. The shops I have used have had free WiFi but signal has dropped from time to time to I needed to log on to the WiFi every time I used my card machine. It wasn’t a problem but it was something I needed to be aware of.
7. Advertising and Social Media
Flyers are a great way of getting the word out about your pop up shop but don’t forget to make the most of free local advertising too. Can you take an ad out in the local paper? Or better still send a press release with a photo to your local paper and see if they will feature you and your shop.
Ask other independent businesses to promote you or put posters in their windows, make use of local facebook groups and don’t forget your ‘coming soon’ posters in the window of the shop you are renting!
Don’t forget your current online customers and social media followers and engage them with your journey to setting up shop. I had great engagement with various polls on my Instagram stories about which window display people liked best, or which products to stock. It is a great way to start conversations on your social media channels and create a buzz around your shop opening.
8. Host a VIP or Preview Night
The day before you open to the public why not host a preview or VIP shopping evening for local customers? Invite any Instagram followers that you think will be able to share on their accounts and stories for you, invite the press and make it a bit of a party!
This is a great way to get your valuable local customers in through the door - and a special discount or offer on the night always goes down well too!
9. Leave the space as you found it
At the end of your tenancy, make sure that you clear up your shop space make sure you leave it as you find it. Clean the floors, remove any blue tack or hooks from the walls and make sure you leave the property in a good condition.
I hope that this list had given you lots to think about when planning and preparing your own pop up shop. I’d love to know if it has helped you of it you have more to add - let me know if the comments what other tips you might have for potential pop up shop owners!