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Pop-up power – How to take your store on the road

Pop-up power – How to take your store on the road

From apparel companies to crafters, soap makers to food vendors, pop-up marketing has become a new trend on the retail scene. Pop-up stores are happening any place, any time, as innovative merchants take their wares to unconventional off-site locations.

How can you take advantage of these alternative selling opportunities? Here is some helpful information and advice for retailers venturing out into the bold, enterprising new world of pop-ups.

Where are pop-ups most effective?

A pop-up can be a kiosk in a mall, a store-within-a-store (sometimes inside a major chain store), a food truck traveling to different locations, a pushcart on a street corner – or any other non-traditional shopping venue that is temporary and entrepreneurial. Sometimes pop-ups sell actual physical inventory, other times they may be connecting consumers with a digital catalog, placing orders online from the pop-up site.

As Inc. says: "Pop-ups – which are about 80% less expensive than traditional physical retail outlets – capitalize on the growing desire to find – and share – unique experiences." Even more importantly, Inc. says they account for about $10 billion in sales revenue. They also allow brands to build an in-person relationship with customers, while facilitating awareness, adoption and conversion on more cost-effective digital channels. 

How to make a pop-up work

If you're planning to do a pop-up event, here are a few tips:

You only have a limited amount of space. Decide on the merchandise you want to offer, focusing on products that are good impulse buys and which are easily transportable to off-site locations. Retail Touchpoints says 39% of shoppers are looking for unique products and services, and 32% want localized assortments.

When it comes to displays, travel light and be creative. For example, Firefly Solutions provides collapsible rolling racks for clothing displays. Firefly also sells lightweight plastic mannequins, small countertop display stands and a variety of display tables of different sizes, colors and shapes.

Sometimes personal interactions can be more important than products. Inc. reported that Canon, the camera marketer, brought photography instructors to its pop-up to teach customers how to take better pictures. Having experts goes a long way toward cementing better merchant-customer relationships.

Don't forget the banners and signs. In a crowded mall or festival environment, how will potential customers know you're there and what you're selling? You can bring along store signs from your regular retail establishment, or create new ones specifically targeted to your pop-up event and location. Firefly offers an extremely wide variety of promotional signs of every kind imaginable, down to the smallest cards and clip-on acrylic sign holders.

Promote the event in advance through social media, email blasts to existing customers and in-store signs, flyers and take-home bag stuffers.

At the event, collect names and email addresses from pop-up visitors, so that you can contact them in the future with news about other upcoming events. That's a vital ingredient of event marketing that you cannot ignore – and one of the best ways to reconnect with these casual pop-up visitors is to send out a quick email after the event, not only thanking them for stopping by but also offering some kind of discount or reward when they visit your regular brick-and-mortar establishment.