How to open a pop-up shop

April 27, 2023

What is a pop-up shop, and why should you care?

A pop-up shop is a temporary retail space that lasts anywhere from a few hours to a few weeks. They are an incredibly effective way to increase your brand awareness, drive sales, and find new customers. 

Opening a retail space outside of your usual retail space gives new shoppers the opportunity to discover you.  On top of that, if you’re hosting your pop-up alongside other small businesses or within another business’ retail space, you’re introducing all of their customers to your brand. 

Plus, pop-ups have a kind of novelty and exclusivity that customers love. The time-sensitivity creates a kind of urgency for customers that doesn’t really happen with a traditional retail space. If you set up shop in a permanent brick and mortar, shoppers will feel like they can visit your store any time – with a pop-up, they know they need to get in while they have the chance. So, a short-term pop-up is a great way to drive sales and create some buzz around your brand. 

On top of this, pop-up shops are much less costly than opening a permanent retail space. Pop-ups are typically much smaller than a permanent retail space, and since you would only be renting the space temporarily, the cost to rent the space will be affordable. What’s more, pop-up shops require less staff, and less stock, so there’s no need to hire a new team or purchase extra inventory. It’s a low-cost, low-investment endeavor that could potentially boost your sales and brand awareness tenfold.

How to set up a pop-up shop?

Choose a Location

Firstly, you’ll need to find a space for your pop-up. There are a number of different location types to choose from, so it really depends on what’s accessible and what makes sense for your business in terms of size and location. Any of these locations are ideal for a pop-up shop:

-Another business’ brick and mortar

-A vacant storefront

-A shopping mall

-A market

-A mobile vehicle like a truck, bus, or van

how to open a pop-up shop
Scout Street Style, a vintage clothing store, hosting a pop-up along a street of shops.

Be strategic in your location. Choose a retail space that will be convenient for potential customers to find you. Setting up close to or inside a location with a lot of foot traffic is ideal, but also make sure they are the type of shoppers that will be interested in your business. If you sell jewelry, it’s probably not a great idea to set up your pop-up beside another jewelry store. Instead, you might want to settle beside a clothing or shoe store, so shoppers might decide they want to find some earrings to go with their new pair of shoes or their new blouse. Or, you could set up shop beside a florist or a chocolatier to get in on all the shoppers looking for gifts.

Oliver POS customer French Affair has pop-ups in shopping centres and at special events, and enjoys using Oliver POS to keep track of sales.

Other things to keep in mind when choosing your location:

-Storage space for your inventory

-Space for a checkout counter

– An accessible and welcoming entryway 

– Inviting signage

– Permits, licenses, or insurance you might need

Get a mobile POS

Whether you have a POS terminal in your brick and mortar, or you’re just starting out with the pop-up shop, you’ll need something to keep track of your sales, customers, products, and inventory. A mobile POS like the Oliver Go makes it easy to take your shop anywhere, and easily keep track of customers, inventory, and sales. With your entire store in your hand, you can conveniently check customer purchase history, product information, and stock levels. If you don’t want to invest in hardware, Oliver POS is fully compatible on the devices you already own, including your iPhone and your iPad. Oh, and it’s free. You can try out the demo here

“Oliver POS makes it easy to take our shop anywhere. It automatically keeps track of customers, inventory, and sales. We can conveniently check customer purchase history, product information, and stock levels no matter where we are.”

– Sue McGary, French Affair

Likewise, make sure you have a way to take card payments. Since the pandemic, not as many customers are using cash. Find a payment processor that offers a compact payment terminal to accept quick and convenient payments on the go. 


Market your pop-up

Start the buzz around your pop-up shop as soon as possible! Let your existing followers know with an email marketing campaign, or social media posts. It’s never too early to start! Focus on the exclusivity of your pop-up, urging your audience to get in while they can. 

Reach out to local media personnel and pitch your pop-up to get all the locals excited and ready to visit your pop-up. Likewise, post about your pop-up on social media. If you’re hosting your pop-up inside another business’ storefront, piggyback off of their followers and tag them in your post to get more attention, or even ask if they can post about your pop-up to get the attention of their followers. 

Happy selling!

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