As a small business owner, finding new and innovative ways to get your products into the hands of customers is exciting, but also challenging. A pop-up shop is an effective strategy for engaging IRL with potential and existing customers, while boosting sales at the same time.
Pop-up shops give your customers a chance to engage directly with your products and your brand, creating a connection that online platforms often can’t replicate.
A pop-up shop is not just a selling space; it’s a creative and engaging way to tell your brand’s story, allowing your customers to become physically immersed in your brand’s universe.
So, whether you’re a seasoned seller or a budding entrepreneur, use this comprehensive guide to help you succeed at your next pop-up shop.
What is a pop-up shop?
A pop-up shop is an ideal opportunity for emerging digitally-native brands to trial a temporary retail space. Also known as “flash retailing,” they allow you to meet your current customers where they live and put your brand in front of new shoppers.
Pop-up shops are also a direct way to encourage sales without pouring more money into online customer acquisition. They can look like a regular store, but many brands use them to create a unique, engaging physical shopping experience.
If you’re interested in testing out a retail presence for your business, but you’re put off by the financial risk and commitment of a permanent storefront, a pop-up shop could be the solution for you.
What are the benefits of a pop-up shop?
Create an in-person connection with customers
Technology might make purchasing more economical and convenient, but there’s no replacement for face-to-face service and immersive in-person shopping experiences. A physical store allows you to connect with your customers on a human level and build a network of loyal and engaged shoppers.
Build buzz and awareness
Scarcity is a proven sales tactic that drives action through a customer’s desire to purchase exclusive or otherwise limited products. A temporary pop-up shop with a definite end date encourages shoppers to visit before missing out.
This approach works especially well when promoting new products or collections, kicking off major campaigns, or simply looking to increase overall brand awareness.
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Balance customer acquisition costs
The pandemic forced retailers and their marketing dollars online, driving up the cost of acquiring a customer through paid search and social media. But as ecommerce has boomed, the gap between digital acquisition costs and rental costs has gotten smaller.
Rising consumer real estate vacancy levels forced commercial rents to record-low levels—37.5% lower than they were in 2019 in places like New York City’s SoHo, according to CBRE. To address vacancies, landlords relaxed lease terms and eagerly sought out pop-up tenants just to keep their storefronts activated. According to Reuters, in New York City, the residential real estate market has bounced back, but commercial rents are still down from where they were before the pandemic.
There’s still an opportunity to test out the retail waters and diversify your marketing to include foot traffic alongside web traffic—in a low-risk, lower-cost environment.
“Soon, a physical impression is going to be more affordable and higher quality than a digital impression,” says Ben Seidl, founder of Neyborly, a platform that matches brands with commercial spaces.
Soon, a physical impression is going to be more affordable and higher quality than a digital impression.
Test the market for a permanent physical location
Pop-up shops require little upfront investment, which makes them a great testing ground. A successful pop-up can be a good indication that your business is a candidate for expansion into physical retail. If your shop doesn’t end up as successful as you’d hoped, you might need to regroup and find a new way to test your expansion plans. (We’ll look at some post-mortem metrics later.)
Eyeglass brand Warby Parker is a one-time digital-native brand that initially tested physical retail through pop-ups. Its experiment was so successful, the company opened several storefronts and now has nearly 90 retail locations.
Drive sales during busy seasons
Black Friday Cyber Monday and any other peak sales periods are excellent times to open a pop-up shop. A pop-up can drive retention long after your shop is closed and the holiday season is over, turning seasonal shoppers into lifelong customers. If you host seasonal pop-ups regularly, you’ll build a sense of anticipation among your most loyal customers. Denver’s annual Christkindlmarket is just one example of a pop-up locals and tourists alike bookmark the date of every year.
Test new markets and gain traction in existing ones
One of the most important things for a new business to do is validate demand for its products—and real product validation happens only when money changes hands.
Whether you want to test new merchandise, pricing, or product bundles, a pop-up shop is one way to validate customer demand before investing in a larger number of units. If you have an idea for a new collection or product line, for example, start with just one or two items to see if they have traction.
And selling in person means an added benefit of receiving direct, unfiltered feedback from customers by seeing their initial reactions and finding out if they’re willing to spend money on what you’re selling (and how much).
Unload older inventory
Holding on to dead stock is more expensive than you might think. You’re not only missing out on sales, you’re also paying for carrying costs and tying up money that could be invested elsewhere in your business. Plus, that inventory could eventually age out and no longer be sellable, which means lost revenue and capital.
Pop-up shops are a great way to breathe new life into aging stock—especially seasonal merchandise with a short shelf life—by using fresh displays and enticing visual merchandising elements to attract new shoppers. Encourage impulse purchases by offering special deals, such as buy one, get one free, or bundling items together.
Types of pop-up shops
Sometimes pop-up shops work so well that they become permanent fixtures. Permanent pop-ups result from experimental or short-term pop-ups that drive enough traffic and sales to justify the long-term cost.
Storefront is a leading online marketplace for renting short-term retail space.
Storefront operates a pop-up to permanent program that helps retailers locate pop-up venues to test temporary retail spaces and discover if brick-and-mortar is right for them.
Other brands, like Chicago Makers, opt for semi-permanent pop-ups. Co-owners Anna Romo and Monica Little launched their first pop-up during the 2020 holiday season. In early 2021, they started a semi-permanent site in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood.
Transitioning to a permanent or semi-permanent model can also be the result of seller demand. "The latest expansion was driven by a steady interest from local artisans and creatives eager to sell their wares," says Anna Romo, co-owner of Chicago Makers.
Marketing event pop-ups
Brands often use pop-up shops as marketing events to generate buzz around a new product launch, rebranding campaign, or company announcement.
According to the Event MB blog, “There’s a marketing component to all events, but few events are so uniquely positioned to cultivate word-of-mouth marketing [as pop-up events].”
Similar to how you craft a marketing plan for your pop-up shop, your pop-up shop can also serve as a marketing strategy for your retail business. Launching a pop-up shop is as much a marketing strategy as a retail strategy.
Seasonal pop-up shops leverage seasonal characteristics to drive traffic and sales. The most common type of seasonal pop-up is the holiday pop-up shop. These shops tap into peak shopping season, which, for some businesses, accounts for one-third of their annual revenue.
Chicago’s Chriskindlmarket is an example of a seasonal pop-up shop. Offered from mid-November through the end of each year, the Chriskindlmarket offers consumers an interactive holiday event featuring locally made goods from dozens of vendors to purchase as gifts.
💡 PRO TIP: Thinking of opening a temporary retail location like a pop- up shop? Don’t buy your POS hardware. Instead, sign up for Shopify’s Hardware Rental Program to start selling fast without buying hardware outright.
One of the main reasons that brands launch pop-up shops is to experiment with new products, markets, merchandising, or retail experiences.
Experimental pop-ups typically deliver something slightly different than a business’s main offering so business can gather valuable data around customer reactions and feedback.
If you’re considering expanding your ecommerce business into brick-and-mortar stores, launching a new product line, or pursuing a new target market, a pop-up shop may be the best way to run your experiment.
Virtual pop-up shops offer your customers the opportunity to browse your products in a digital storefront. They allow your customers to virtually walk through your store and browse your products, similar to how they’d engage with your brand in person.
Unlike a traditional ecommerce website, virtual pop-ups are an interactive, 360-degree shopping experience.
A pop-in store is a shop set up within an established store. Retailers typically rent a portion of a store or boutique as a place to sell their products. Launching a pop-in store markets your business to the shopping traffic of the larger store and helps you save money on rent and décor.
“We decided to do a t-shirt design reading “Plant Care Is Self Care” in the infinity symbol layout, because we believe that plant care is self-care, and vice versa,” shares Plant Man P founder Jon Perdomo.
"We love that we’re able to go out and meet people in the community and help out in any way we can, whether it’s plant care or self-care and anything else in between,” Perdomo adds.
How much does it cost to open a pop-up shop?
Popertee, a retail analytics firm, estimated the total cost of one 30-day pop-up at €29,085 (about $32,000), while Inkbox, an online temporary tattoo brand, totaled the cost of its 2016 two-week pop-up at about $15,000, plus $3,000 in furniture that it will be able to use for other purposes.
Unfortunately, there’s no clear-cut answer to how much a pop-up shop costs. Location, duration, and size are just a few of the factors that can determine the total cost. The sky’s the limit as far as how much you can spend, but you can also pull off a short-term pop-up for as little as $1,500.
It’s worth noting that experts predict pop-up shop costs will be significantly lower for 2021. Historically low commercial rent prices mean the bulk of your costs—rent—are more than 11% lower than they were in 2019.
💡 PRO TIP: Tap to Pay on iPhone for Shopify POS is the fastest way to start selling your products at events, farmers markets, or wherever your customers are. Download the Shopify POS app on your iPhone to accept contactless payments without having to buy hardware or a card reader.
How to set up a pop-up shop in 4 easy steps
- Choose your event space
- Decide on your pop-up shop location
- Figure out the shop type, exterior, and interior
- Book your pop-up shop venue
1. Choose your event space
It’s important to find the right spot for your pop-up shop. There are a number of factors to consider, and one of the most important is determining what type of space makes the most sense for your event. There are a few common spaces used for pop-up shops:
- Vacant storefront: An empty storefront is a retail space just waiting to be used. All you have to do is customize it to your brand. Look around for vacant storefronts in your ideal area or contact a local real estate agent for help.
- Shopping center or mall: Many shopping malls have kiosks, booth space, or vacant in-line stores available to rent. Mall space may be less cost effective than other venues, but it can put you in front of the best kind of foot traffic—consumers who are looking to spend their money.
- Pop-ins: Pop-ins are stores within a store and a great way to piggyback off an existing brick-and-mortar brand’s success. Pop-in@Nordstrom, for example, is a series of pop-in shop collaborations with other brands, like Away luggage. Hotels are also a great location for pop-ins.
- Gallery/event space: Gallery or event spaces, unlike pop-in shops, offer a blank canvas for translating your digital brand into a physical space with eye-catching displays. These venues are also primed and ready for events, unlike some typical brick-and-mortar retail environments.
- Mobile: If you don’t want to limit yourself to one location, consider going mobile and renting a truck or bus to host your own traveling pop-up shop. In 2016, Casper’s Nap Tour traveled from Vancouver to Toronto, offering customers throughout Canada the chance to test out its mattresses. This opens you up to operating in various locations and maximizing your reach—you can set up at a farmers market, park, or any public setting you think your customers would be frequenting.
2. Decide on your pop-up shop location
After you’ve determined what type of pop-up you want to have, you can begin deciding on a location. Knowing what your shop’s goals are is one important factor to consider.
If you’re looking to launch a new swimwear collection, somewhere tropical or near a beach might be best. If you’re trying to decide whether to make a permanent move into physical retail, use current sales data (if you have it) to figure out where most of your existing customers are.
Once you have a general area in mind, look at some other factors to help you zero in on an exact spot.
Nearby retailers and events occurring in the vicinity are other important considerations. Look to see if surrounding retail stores are complementary or competitive to what you’re offering. Complementary is good, but you may want to steer clear of direct competitors.
When established shops feel threatened by competing stores, you lose out on making a potential ally. Take the time to introduce yourself and establish a rapport with other shop owners in the area. From them, you can glean valuable information on what makes your shared target demographic tick.
Finally, one of the biggest considerations is always foot traffic. Is the neighborhood or street you’re considering a high-traffic area? Are there plenty of people walking by the location you’re scouting—and, most importantly, are those people your target customers? Ultimately, it comes down to who your customers are, where they are, and how they want you to show up.
💡TIP: To see where your customers are located and if they’re congregated in certain cities or neighborhoods, view the Customers by location report in Shopify admin.
3. Figure out the shop type, exterior, and interior
Here are a few more factors to help you narrow down your venue options:
Type of pop-up shop
First things first—you need to figure out what type of event you’re having and understand what specifically makes that appealing to a pop-up shopper. There are a few common types of pop-ups:
- Press preview: Usually an invite-only/exclusive look at your shop for local journalists and bloggers who can help you spread the word about your store.
- Launch party: Pop-up shops make for great launch parties, whether it’s your pop-up debut or the launch of a new product line. Remember, if you’re billing it as a party, you need to deliver on your promise. Consider hiring a DJ, serving food and drinks, and promoting social sharing to further your reach.
- Experiential: Entice visitors with immersive experiences they can’t get anywhere else. Think about what types of featured workshops, speakers, and individuals work best for your brand.
- Influencer party: Tap into an influencer’s audience in your niche by allowing them to host, curate, and be the “star” for the night. Ask them to build anticipation before the fact by posting about it on social media, and view the opportunity as a collaboration that ends up paying big dividends for both parties. They’re presented with a unique opportunity to do a meet-and-greet with their fan base—and their fan base becomes your customer base.
- Sponsored event: While even a one-off piece in the media can be advantageous, investing in a sponsored event can land you even more coverage. A partnership with a local magazine in your niche, for example, can provide you with coverage before, during, and after your pop-up happens.
- Frontage: Does the storefront have a sidewalk for walk-ins and foot traffic? Is the frontage big enough so you can easily manage curbside pickup orders? These will be important considerations for pop-up venues in the coming months.
- Signage: Check to see if the shop location you’re looking at comes with signage and, if so, whether you’re allowed to customize it. Some spaces may already have branded entrance or storefront signs, which could prevent people from noticing your shop. Other spaces may not allow signage at all. Determine what you need and how customers are going to find your pop-up.
- Condition and cleanliness: Landlords typically ensure the interior of a pop-up space is pristine, but the exterior can be susceptible to the elements. You’ll likely have to assume responsibility for its cleanliness. Get out there with a broom, bring your own potted plants, or invest in a bottle of Windex to get every last face smudge off the venue’s windows.
- Parking and access to public transportation: The easier it is to visit your store, the more customers you’ll have. An on-site parking lot is ideal, but not always realistic. So create accessibility any way you can. Research public transit routes, check on parking meter rates and times, and look for nearby paid parking lots.
- Browsing space/square footage: Make sure that the space is big enough to allow shoppers to browse comfortably without bumping into other people.
- Internet access: Wi-Fi is usually included with most spaces, but double check with the leasing agent to make sure high-speed internet access is available. This is crucial for your point-of-sale software to run smoothly, but also for your customers to be able to browse your online sales channels while exploring your physical store. It also means you can equip your sales representatives with a mobile POS to help pull up customer profiles on the spot and personalize the in-store experience.
- Stock space: Visible inventory not on display can make even the largest spaces look cluttered, so make sure you have a storage area. Many spaces won’t have a back stockroom, so see if it’s possible to create a makeshift separation or partition using curtains or a room divider. This will make the space seem more professional and tidy.
- Lighting: Proper lighting sets the mood and makes your merchandise stand out. The right lighting for your store ultimately depends on the mood you want to create. If your brand is more modern, brighter lighting may work. Soft lighting pairs well with brands that feature a classic aesthetic. Ask to see if the bulbs are on dimmer switches or if lamps and portable lighting are available as an alternative.
- Anti-theft features: According to the National Retail Federation’s National Retail Security Survey, 37% of retail shrinkage is due to shoplifting and crime. Find a space that has adequate loss prevention measures in place. Surveillance cameras and alarm systems are both great tools for preventing shoplifting. If a retail space doesn’t have cameras, see if other tactics were employed by previous pop-up vendors.
- Display space: Every space is different, so make sure the spot you’re considering is equipped with whatever you need to display your products or materials.
- Speaker system: Music is important for setting the mood in your store. It’s a big bonus if the space comes equipped with a speaker system. If not, make sure to bring your own bluetooth speakers and do a sound test before you launch.
4. Book your pop-up shop venue
You can contact realtors directly to see if they have any pop-up shop venues. There are also many online databases you can search to book properties yourself. Here are a few that we recommend:
- We Are Pop Up
- Appear Here
- Pop Up Shops
- Popertee (UK)
Tips for closing the deal on your pop-up shop venue
There are several legal documents pop-up operators need to be familiar with before securing a space:
The lease is the most important document. Under a lease, the renter is considered a tenant and given exclusive possession for the time agreed to by both parties, otherwise known as the “term” of the lease. The term will outline what you’re allowed to do in the space, such as modifications, hours of operation, and several other key aspects.
When evaluating a retail space, request a comprehensive estimate of your monthly payment. Depending on your space, additional expenses could equal base rent, doubling your monthly payment amount. This could devastate your budget if you weren’t prepared to pay for it.
Depending on your geography and the length of your pop-up shop, you may need a license rather than a short-term lease. A license gives you, the licensee, the legal authority to use the landlord’s asset. In some cases, without a license, using the property is unlawful.
Generally, licenses are given out for short-term occupants and come with a limited arrangement that sometimes doesn’t guarantee exclusive use of the property.
Each region has its own legal regulations and business permit requirements. Many cities, for example, require a permit to sell food and alcohol. So, if you plan to serve champagne at your opening, you’ll need to secure the appropriate permit.
To ensure you’re set for opening day, check with your real estate agent, landlord, and/or the city to make sure you’re doing everything local law requires.
Business insurance (or commercial insurance) is different from personal coverage. Without the proper insurance policies in place, you’re not only putting your business at risk, but your employees and customers as well.
Some rentals include insurance coverage, but you may want to look into consulting a risk management expert or firm.
Questions to ask before you book a pop-up shop space
To make sure you have a complete understanding of what you’re getting into, have the following questions ready for your property manager or real estate agent:
- What’s the rental cost? Find out the daily, weekly, or monthly rate (depending on how long you plan to be open). Be sure to check out multiple spaces and weigh your options, and don’t be afraid to negotiate on price before you sign.
- What’s included in the rental cost? Drill down on what you’re getting for your money. Make note of specifics like square footage, amenities, and occupancy dates—and get everything in writing.
- Are there any additional utility costs? Clarify any additional costs and how they’re split up. Make sure you determine which expenses you’re responsible for—and whether they’re reasonable. Utility costs for a pop-up rental can become a major unexpected expense.
- What’s the layout of the space? Have a good grasp on the shop’s current layout so you can visualize what your final presentation could look like. It might help to sketch out a scale drawing to make sure the space will work for your needs.
- What are the specific dimensions of the ceiling, windows, doors, counters, pillars, etc.? Know exactly what you have to work with—and work around. This information is good to have when you start designing your displays or printing signage, and it’ll give you a sense of how much or how little you’ll need to dress the space up.
- Can the space be modified? Know how much control you have over the space. If you’re sharing a gallery with multiple vendors, you might not be able to drill holes into the wall or make significant changes. Determine the landlord’s dos and don’ts and whether they’ll work for you.
- Who’s liable for what? Property owners typically will attempt to limit their liability, so read the fine print on your lease. If something happens, like a fire or a plumbing issue, it’s better to know ahead of time who’s responsible instead of disputing or creating a claim down the road.
- Is there internet or Wi-Fi? You’ll need an internet connection to process transactions and accept credit card payments using your POS system, so determine if it’s included or if you need to set it up yourself.
- Will I need insurance? Getting property insurance is often a prerequisite when signing a lease agreement. This kind of coverage protects you from a number of things that could go wrong, including, but not limited to, theft, venue or glass repairs, and merchandise damage.
- How much of a deposit is required to secure the venue? Often, if your pop-up shop will span multiple months, the rental deposit is equivalent to a month’s rent. For shorter timelines, you might be expected to put down a third of the total rent payment. Be sure to find out how and when you’ll get your deposit back after the pop-up is over.
- What type of foot traffic can I expect? It’s a good idea to do your own research on foot traffic, but sometimes the property owner will have numbers they can share with you. This becomes even more pertinent if you’re getting a booth at a trade show.
- Will we co-market the event? While this isn’t a question you’d ask a realtor, if you’re popping up in another venue or shop, remember to ask the owner or manager if they’ll help spread the word about your pop-up shop.
Learn more about POS systems
- What is a POS system?
- What is POS software?
- What POS hardware do stores need?
- How to choose the best POS system
- Which POS system features do you need?
- What is a mobile POS system?
- How much does a POS system cost?
- What is a POS terminal?
- What is a touch screen cash register?
- What is a cash register POS?
- Why do small businesses need a POS system?
Pop-up shop examples
Coming up with ideas for your next pop-up shop can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are a few examples of retailers who thought outside the box to create unique, experiential pop-up shops. Hopefully, these ideas will help inspire your next event.
The Dating Shop
In this collaborative pop-up leading to Valentine’s Day, human connection led the strategy. The pop-up was meant to raise awareness for sparkling wine brand Bev and CBD brand Highline Wellness. And while the products were clearly placed throughout the store, they weren’t the focal point.
To market this pop-up, singles in the San Francisco Bay Area were asked to answer a personality quiz and applied in advance to be matched for blind dates while at the shop. And they were incentivized to bring their friends. For couples, private bookings were taken for photoshoots in front of photogenic flower installations.
Florist Priya Mistry validated her one-time at-home business Petal Mistry (now Misflorism) with a pop-up concept before launching her business online. This may seem like an unusual route, but in-person customer acquisition costs can be more affordable than digital advertising.
Setting up shop in a strip mall in Palo Alto, surrounded by cafés and complementary brands, Priya filled the small space with her unique and tropical floral arrangements. She made more than a month’s worth of sales in just two days, and validated her business idea before launching online.
Neighborhood Goods is a new kind of department store with an online presence and three retail locations. It works with more than 100 hand-selected brands, from major international names to direct-to-consumer startups to bootstrapped local concepts.
The company strives to bring together brands, restaurateurs, musicians, and artists to engage with customers and support local communities. And it’s seen a lot of success hosting local vendors’ pop-ups in its own stores and restaurants. This store-within-a-store pop-up shop concept is increasingly popular.
Neighborhood Goods hosted a two-week pop-up for Austin-based noodle cup company Chop Chop at its store in South Congress. Chop Chop’s founders offered mouthwatering specials for Neighborhood Goods customers while also selling its famous noodle cups.
Marketing tips for making a pop-up store successful
When determining your pop-up shop marketing strategy, remember what consumers go to pop-ups for: an immersive, unique in-person brand experience. According to Retail TouchPoints, most consumers want unique services and products, localized assortments, and optimal pricing. If your pop-up offers any of those things, spread the word!
Here are a few marketing tips:
- Build buzz by targeting media and influencers. Keep your target customer in mind when creating a list of media outlets to contact, thinking about where they most likely find information on local events and what publications and websites they might regularly read.
- Build hype for your pop-up shop with social media. Maximize your exposure through social media before, during, and after your event—not only with your current and future customers, but with the editors and influencers whose interest you’ve piqued. Do this by sharing behind-the-scenes content, sending influencers your products, and encouraging user-generated content at the event.
- Drive traffic with email campaigns. Let your existing customers and newsletter subscribers know that you’re hosting a pop-up shop by sending a series of email campaigns leading up to the event. Obviously, you’ll want to share the details of the event, but you can also entice people to visit your pop-up shop with a special promotion. For example, bring one friend and you’ll both get 10% off your purchase at the pop-up shop.
- Expand your reach with co-marketing opportunities. Ask hotels and restaurants near your pop-up to mention you on their social media feeds, offering them some free promotion in return. Tourists love to return home with a unique product and story they discovered on vacation.
- Grow post pop-up sales by collecting email addresses. Collecting contact information during the event lets you keep in touch with customers (or potential customers) after the event is over. Send email campaigns and run targeted social media ads to drive shoppers to your online store. The lessons you learn from your pop-up can inform future digital campaigns.
💡 PRO TIP: Sending digital receipts via email is a great way to organically collect customer contact information at checkout and build an email list to fuel your retention marketing. Just make sure they’ve opted in to hearing from you before sending them anything.
How to evaluate your pop-up shop’s success
Among the first things you should do when planning a pop-up is identify your shop’s goals and set specific key performance indicators (KPIs). This will help you understand what you’re trying to accomplish and eventually help you determine whether your venture was successful.
Conducting a postmortem will show you what you can do differently next time and whether selling in person is an effective channel for you.
Be sure to closely analyze your pop-up’s metrics, such as sales, foot traffic, brand awareness, and new email leads.
Examine sales metrics
There’s more to retail than just sales, but strong sales is the ultimate end goal. When you dig into your data, consider the following sales metrics:
- Sales by date: Sales by date can help you determine the best timing for your next pop-up. Knowing which days or hours were particularly busy is also useful information for planning special promotions and giveaways and for knowing when you need to add more staff.
- Sales by customer: Sales by customer can be broken down to both the average total items and total dollars spent. You can use this data to create refined customer profiles, which you can then analyze to segment your customers. You’ll also gain insights into price sensitivity, purchasing habits, and product preferences that can inform online promotions and campaigns.
- Sales by product: Zooming in on things like sales by stock-keeping unit (SKU), variants (e.g., color, size, etc.), and vendors can help you evaluate which product lines to invest in and which to consider scraping. Your bestsellers will also inform your visual merchandising and window displays.
- Sales by employees: Knowing which of your employees generate the most revenue can provide insights you can incorporate into the hiring and training of future employees, even if you’re not running a traditional commission-based compensation structure.
Track foot traffic
In the past, measuring foot traffic was hard to do and often yielded less-than-accurate data. Now, there are foot traffic counters that make it easy to learn not only how many people are walking into your store, but who they are and what preferences they have.
Once you have a grasp on how many people entered your pop-up, you can drill down into other metrics, like conversion rate (the number of sales divided by the total foot traffic).
Measure social media mentions and engagement
What happens offline is only half the story. Just as important is how an offline experience impacts your brand online. One way to look at this is by analyzing your social media mentions and engagement before, during, and after your pop-up.
Look at how many conversations your promotional hashtag inspired and how customers engaged with it via user-generated content. If you used a branded hashtag, track and measure impressions or conversations. And if you ran a contest or specific giveaway, look at how many entrants you had and how many emails you gained.
Here are some tools you can use to get a clear picture of just how much traction your pop-up shop brought to your brand:
Qualitative analysis for your pop-up
Perhaps the most meaningful information you can take away from your pop-up isn’t a metric at all—it’s in-store customer interaction and feedback. Seeing customers react in real time to your products can be an eye-opening experience, especially if you’ve previously sold only online.
Being able to talk to your customers about everything from your branding to displays to products to layout can be vital feedback for thriving in a retail environment.
Moving forward with your pop-up shop
A pop-up shop isn’t just a way to generate quick sales—it can be part of your overall brand strategy. It’s a powerful way to reach new audiences and retain existing ones, an accessible path to test ideas and gather data, and a great way to build buzz and awareness for your brand.
No matter how consumer trends shake out in 2023 and beyond, one aspect of pop-ups will remain unchanged: they offer an affordable first step into physical retail for digital brands and entrepreneurs who want to connect with their community. Online will always be a key distribution and marketing channel, but physical retail is where you can create long-lasting connections with your customers.
Additional research and content from Alexis Damen.
Pop-up shop FAQ
What is meant by “pop-up shop”?
How much does it cost to set up a pop-up shop?
How do pop-up shops make money?
How do you advertise a pop-up shop?
- Partner with influencers and creators.
- Build hype on social media.
- Run geo-targeted ads on Instagram.
- Share information about your shop with your email list.