A nine step pop-up shop checklist

A nine step pop-up shop checklist

By Christina

A nine step pop-up shop checklist: Everything you need to know to launch a pop-up

Pop-up shops are a great way for small businesses to test new products, market their brand, and generate sales.  They offer a short-term, low-risk way to reach new customers and get feedback on your products or services.

If you're thinking about hosting a pop-up shop, here's a checklist to help you get started:

  • Choose a location. The location of your pop-up shop is one of the most important decisions you'll make.  You'll want to choose a location that is easily accessible to your target audience and that has the right amount of foot traffic.
  • Secure the space. Once you've chosen a location, you'll need to secure the space.  This will involve signing a lease and paying a deposit.
  • Design the space. The design of your pop-up shop is important, as it will create the overall atmosphere of your shop.  You'll need to choose a layout that is functional and that reflects your brand.
  • Decorate the space. Once the space is designed, you'll need to decorate it.  This will involve adding signage, displays, and other elements that will make your shop look inviting.
  • Stock the shop. You'll need to stock your shop with products that your target audience will want to buy.  You can either purchase products from suppliers or create your own products.
  • Promote the shop. Once your shop is ready, you'll need to promote it.  You can do this by creating social media posts, running ads, and handing out flyers.
  • Staff the shop. You'll need to staff your shop with employees who can help customers and answer questions.  You can either hire employees or ask family and friends to volunteer their time.
  • Run the shop. Once the shop is open, you'll need to run it on a day-to-day basis.  This will involve tasks such as opening and closing the shop, processing orders, and managing inventory.
  • Close the shop. Once your pop-up shop has run its course, you'll need to close it.  This will involve tasks such as cleaning the space, returning merchandise, and refunding customers.

By following this checklist, you can ensure that your pop-up shop is a success.

pop up shop of clothes

A nine step pop-up shop checklist: Everything you need to know to launch a pop-up

  1. Develop ideas for your pop-up shop
  2. Set Goals
  3. Find a venue for your pop-up shop
  4. Decide what tech and utilities you'll need
  5. Pop-up shop permits and insurance
  6. Get staff for your pop-up shop
  7. Attracting customers to your pop-up shop
  8. Plan your furniture and display
  9. Talking to customers - and getting feedback

1.  Develop ideas for your pop-up shop

This first step is to understand what you're going to sell and what you want to get out of the opportunity.

The first step is to define your goals and objectives for your pop-up shop.  What do you want to achieve? Do you want to generate sales, test new products, or build brand awareness? Once you know what you want to achieve, you can start planning your pop-up accordingly.

Pop-up shops offer a low-risk way to test your start-up idea and learn from customers.  If you're already developing your products, consider running a pop-up shop to gather feedback and identify a good space.

Pop-up shops can last anywhere from a single day to several weeks or months.  This flexibility makes them a low-risk way to test a new product or market your business.  However, it's important to keep in mind that the novelty of a pop-up shop can wear off over time, so it's best to keep your pop-up shop short and sweet.

How much do pop-up shops cost? The cost of a pop-up shop can vary depending on a number of factors, including the size and location of your shop, the length of time you rent the space, and the cost of your inventory.

Here are some of the costs you'll need to factor into your budget:

  • Rent: The cost of renting a space for your pop-up shop will vary depending on the size and location of the space.  For example, a one-off market stall could cost £300 for the day.
  • Stock: You'll need to purchase stock for your pop-up shop.  The cost of your stock will depend on the type of products you sell.
  • Staff: If you need to hire staff to help you run your pop-up shop, you'll need to factor in the cost of their wages and benefits.
  • Marketing: You'll need to market your pop-up shop to let people know about it.  This could involve costs for things like social media advertising, print advertising, or public relations.
  • Other expenses: There may be other expenses associated with your pop-up shop, such as insurance, security, or cleaning.

Overall, the cost of a pop-up shop can range from a few hundred pounds to several thousand pounds.  The best way to determine the cost of your pop-up shop is to create a detailed budget and factor in all of the potential costs.

Here are nine pop-up shop ideas to inspire you:

  1. Themed pop-up shops. These pop-up shops are designed around a specific theme, such as a holiday, a season, or a popular culture trend.  For example, a Christmas-themed pop-up shop might sell Christmas decorations, gifts, and food.
  2. Collaborative pop-up shops. These pop-up shops are created by two or more businesses to offer a unique shopping experience.  For example, a clothing boutique might team up with a coffee shop to create a pop-up shop that sells clothing and coffee.
  3. Pop-up restaurants. These pop-up restaurants are temporary restaurants that are often created by celebrity chefs or restaurateurs.  They offer a unique dining experience that is typically not available at traditional restaurants.
  4. Pop-up art galleries.  These pop-up art galleries are temporary galleries that exhibit the work of local artists.  They offer a unique way to see and purchase art.
  5. Pop-up fitness studios. These pop-up fitness studios offer a variety of fitness classes in a temporary location.  They are a great way to try a new workout class or to get a workout in on the go.
  6. Pop-up libraries. These pop-up libraries offer a variety of books that can be checked out and read for free.  They are a great way to get a free book or to find a new book to read.
  7. Pop-up farmers markets. These pop-up farmers markets offer a variety of fresh produce, meat, and other goods from local farmers.  They are a great way to support local farmers and to get fresh, local food.
  8. Pop-up workshops. These pop-up workshops offer a variety of workshops on a variety of topics, such as cooking, crafting, and photography.  They are a great way to learn new skills or to try something new.
  9. Pop-up events. These pop-up events can be anything from concerts to fashion shows to art exhibitions.  They offer a unique and memorable experience that is not available at traditional events.

pop up shop jewelry

These are just a few ideas to get you started.  The possibilities are endless!

The key to a successful pop-up shop is to find something that will grab people's attention.  Novelty products or items that are trending are always a good choice, as they are likely to pique people's curiosity.  After all, you only have a short amount of time to make an impression, so you need to make the most of it.

Another important factor is to be passionate about what you're selling.  If you're not excited about your products or services, it will be difficult to generate enthusiasm in others.  Your passion will show through in your interactions with customers, and it will make them more likely to buy from you.

Finally, don't forget to have fun! Pop-up shops can be a great way to get creative and experiment with new ideas.  So relax, enjoy the process, and make the most of your opportunity.

2.  Set Goals

It's helpful to know what you want to achieve with a pop-up shop.  They can help you get feedback, sell products, and market your business.

How important these things are will vary depending on the stage you are at in your business journey.  If you're working on a re-brand, customer feedback might be the main priority.  Likewise, if you've just launched a new business, it's a great way to test your pricing and find out what customers think.

Here are some possible goals for a pop-up shop:

  • Get feedback on a new product or service.
  • Test new marketing campaigns.
  • Reach a new audience.
  • Generate buzz and excitement.
  • Sell products and make money.
  • Build your email list

The best way to choose your goals is to think about what you need to achieve at this stage in your business.  Once you know what you want to achieve, you can start planning your pop-up shop.

3.  Find a venue for your pop-up shop

There are many different places to find a venue for your pop-up shop. 

Here are a few ideas:

  • Online marketplaces: There are a number of online marketplaces that list pop-up shop spaces for rent.  Some popular options include Storefront, Appear Here, and PopUp Republic.
  • Real estate agents: Real estate agents can help you find a pop-up shop space in your desired location.  They can also negotiate the terms of your lease on your behalf.
  • Business associations: Local business associations may have a list of pop-up shop spaces that are available for rent.  They can also provide you with information about the local market and help you connect with other businesses in the area.
  • Word-of-mouth: Ask your friends, family, and colleagues if they know of any pop-up shop spaces that are available for rent.  They may be able to connect you with a landlord or property manager who is willing to work with you.

Once you have a few leads, it's important to do your research and compare different options.

Consider the following factors when choosing a venue for your pop-up shop:

  • Location: The location of your pop-up shop is important.  You want to choose a location that is easily accessible to your target audience.
  • Size: The size of your pop-up shop will depend on the amount of inventory you have and the type of experience you want to create for your customers.
  • Amenities: Some pop-up shop spaces come with amenities such as Wi-Fi, security, and parking.  Be sure to factor these amenities into your decision when choosing a venue.
  • Cost: The cost of renting a pop-up shop space will vary depending on the location, size, and amenities of the space.  Be sure to get quotes from multiple vendors before making a decision.

With a little planning and effort, you can find the perfect venue for your pop-up shop.

Pop-up shops are temporary retail spaces that can be set up anywhere.  This makes them a great option for businesses of all sizes, as they can be used to reach new customers, test new products, or simply generate buzz and excitement.

When choosing a venue for your pop-up shop, it's important to be creative and think outside the box. 

There are many different places that can be used for a pop-up shop, including:

  • Empty storefronts: This is a classic option for pop-up shops.  Empty storefronts are often available for rent at a discounted rate, and they can be easily transformed into a retail space.
  • Event spaces: If you're planning a pop-up shop around a specific event, such as a holiday or a trade show, you can rent space at the event venue.  This is a great way to reach a large number of potential customers who are already interested in what you have to offer.
  • Unconventional spaces: Pop-up shops can be set up in all sorts of unconventional spaces, such as abandoned buildings, shipping containers, and even people's homes.  This is a great way to make a statement and to generate buzz about your pop-up shop.

The possibilities are endless when it comes to choosing a venue for your pop-up shop.  The most important thing is to choose a space that is creative, eye-catching, and easily accessible to your target audience.

pop up shop coffee

4.  Decide what tech and utilities you'll need

When planning your pop-up shop, it's important to think about the technology and utilities you'll need. 

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Payment: How will customers pay for your products or services? Cash is always an option, but many shoppers prefer to use credit or debit cards.  If you want to accept card payments, you'll need a card reader.  There are a number of different card readers available, so be sure to compare prices and features before making a decision.  Square, Zettle and SumUp are some of the cheaper options.  Customers may want a receipt, the easiest way to do this is to hand write them on receipts booklets you can purchase from stationery shops.
  • Stock tracking: It's important to track what you've sold so that you can restock and keep track of your sales.  This can be as simple as writing everything down, or if you already use a stock tracking systems tap into this.
  • Other utilities: Depending on the type of pop-up shop you're hosting, you may need other utilities, such as:
  1. Electricity
  2. Water
  3. Wi-Fi
  4. Phone service
  5. Security

Be sure to ask your host about what utilities are available and what you'll need to bring yourself.  With a little planning, you can ensure that you have all the technology and utilities you need to run a successful pop-up shop.

5.  Pop-up shop permits and insurance

All businesses need to have employers' liability insurance.

Public liability insurance is important for businesses running pop-ups because it covers you for claims made against you by members of the public.  Some venues will require a certain level of cover

If you sell food, you'll need to register your business with your local authority's environmental health department 28 days before you start trading.

Some festivals and other venues will require a Food Safety Management System (FSMS), which is a systemic approach to controlling food safety hazards.  FSMS standards include Safer food, better business (SFBB).

Venues may require health and safety documentation.  That could include business policies and risk assessments for the pop-up.

PAT Test and Gas Safety Certificates may be necessary for businesses using electrics and gas in certain locations.

You likely also need licences if you want to play music and sell alcohol.

Ask the venues you're speaking to for a list of their requirements.

6.  Get staff for your pop-up shop

Pop-ups are often staffed by the business owners themselves, but if you need more help, there are a few things you can do.

  • Ask friends and family. They may not be able to work full-time, but they might be able to help out during busy times.
  • Hire staff. If you don't already employ people, you'll need to set yourself up as an employer.  The Gov.uk website has lots of advice about how to register as an employer.

No matter how you choose to get help, it's important to have a plan in place so that your pop-up shop runs smoothly.

7.  Attracting customers to your pop-up shop

So, you know what you're going to sell, where and how.  Now it's time to start marketing your pop-up.

You might be able to rely on some existing footfall but the more you can do to get people to visit your stall, the better.  And, there's an art to attracting people that are walking by.

Here are some ideas on how to attract people to your pop-up shop:

  • Free stuff: Giving away food or samples is a great way to start a conversation and get feedback.
  • Launch with a bang: Create a buzz around your opening on social media.  Perhaps you could take people behind the scenes or have some kind of giveaway.
  • Closing party: Similarly, closing with a bang can help you move more stock.
  • Promotional material: Flyers, business cards, leaflets etc.
  • Influencers: Are there local or industry influencers who will talk about what you're doing? Micro influencers might share your story if you share sample products or invite them to events.  Customers can be encouraged to share on social using hashtags, novelty backgrounds or Instagram-friendly products.
  • Music: Play something on-brand to catch people's attention.
  • Signage: Show your personality.  Make people laugh.

People want experiences.  The more fun you can make visiting your pop-up, the more buzz you will get.  Think about how your product and personality can be leveraged.

8.  Plan your furniture and display

Set up your space in a way that is visually appealing and informative.  This will help customers quickly understand what you sell, why they should buy from you, and who your target market is.

Think about the practical aspects of running your pop-up shop.  Make sure you have enough space to display your products, a comfortable place for customers to browse, and a checkout area that is efficient and secure.

Take steps to prevent theft.  This includes positioning the till so you have a good view of the store and putting high-price items behind the counter.

By following these tips, you can set up your pop-up shop for success.

9.  Talking to customers - and getting feedback

One of the best things about running a pop-up store is that you get to meet lots of customers.  This provides a goldmine of feedback for those of you selling online or just starting out.

Here are a few ways to get feedback from customers at your pop-up store:

  • Have conversations with customers. Ask them what they think of your products, what they like and don't like, and what they would like to see more of.
  • Run a short survey. This is a great way to get more quantifiable feedback from customers.  You can ask questions about their demographics, their shopping habits, and their opinions of your products.
  • Take notes. Pay attention to what customers are saying and doing.  This can give you valuable insights into their needs and wants.

By getting feedback from customers, you can improve your products, your marketing, and your overall business.  So don't miss out on this opportunity to learn from your customers!

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