How-To Guide: 12 Steps To Launch Your Pop-Up Store

From an initial idea into planing and implementing – Go—PopUp helps you taking 12 steps towards realizing a successful pop-up venture.

Yay. You are facing the thrilling task to launch a pop-up store? You’re flirting with the idea but are not quite sure yet what to expect? It’s gonna be great, promise! By suggesting the following 12 steps, we want to come to your aid and want to give you a well-structured impression what to think of in order to realize a successful pop-up idea.

1. Idea
It all starts with your idea. In order to realize your idea, you must know the reason for your venture: What’s  the story you want to spread with your pop-up store? How will you present your product, your event or your services authentically? A vague idea won’t be enough to find the perfect location. How are you supposed to know which store suits you the best, if you don’t know the direction this is going and the aim you are reaching for? Ask yourself: What’s your unique selling point? Never lose your one unique feature out of eyesight. Focus keeps you grounded and offers great orientation when you are aiming to launch a pop-up store.

You mustn’t believe one should know all the steps and facts by heard from the start. Though certain decisions may be helpful to make beforehand, so future questions could be resolved nearly by itself.

2. Aims
If you are investing your time and resources in the pop-up venture, you should set a clear time frame: Are you looking to attract new customers? Or rather testing products’ marketability? Mainly looking to augment your volume of sales? Or should your pop-up store increase the public awareness? Wanna be part of a marketing campaign? Maybe you’ve mainly been marketed online and are now looking for some offline customer contact and feedback? Trying to reach all those aims at the same time doesn’t look promising. Rather prioritize what’s really important to you and consider what will benefit your enterprise the most?

If you keep track of your pop-up’s development, it will provide valuable data to measure your performance. Sales figures might be relatively easy to collect, yet you will have to come up with a method to count the visitor numbers. In case you might be interested in a frequency meter in your store, come and talk to us! Offer different online and offline touchpoints and collect clippings. How successful did your marketing- and PR strategies turn out to be? What press coverage did you get? Any blogposts written? Can you detect topped-up interaction in your social media networks, maybe elevated attendance figures or followers? Hashtags present a good opportunity to reproduce your range of attention. If you want to stay on top of things, you could already adjust your strategy during the pop-up period.

3. Time schedule
Are you of the impatient kind? Then beware of this practical test: Take your time for a thorough scheduling! Depending on you venture’s extent, several weeks or even months can be an adequate time frame. Besides the flexibility to sleep on it and revisit your implementation ideas, time is a good help while your are hunting for a convenient location. When do you want your pop-up to launch? Do you have a certain date in mind, e.g. due to the release of a new product or in regards to a trade fair event that thematically links to it, or maybe because of the upcoming fashion week or simply since Christmas season is around the corner? Make sure to set a specific date to launch your store, gallery, restaurant or event. In order to head towards the deadline preferably hassle-free, you should plan ahead a time float – when cooperating with external service providers or applying for required licences and permits, some processes are beyond your  control and thus may last longer than expected, however nervwrecking it is. To be on the safe side, always have a plan B in your pocket, so you can have it as backup to minimize your chances for stressful situations.

4. Budget
Oh, filthy lucre. Whether  you avail your own resources, stir some crowdfunding into action or mobilize investors – no matter how you chose to finance your pop-up store: You need to develop a financial plan to control earnings and expenses. By renting a commercial space as a pop-up, more overhead costs are incurred than just the net cold rent. Additionally. operating- and incidental costs, spendings for maintenance and deposit, insurance and maybe cleaning may arise. If contracts shall be concluded with external service providers or employees, you may want to resort to a legal counsel, just to be on the safe side. Talking about service providers: External services, e.g. contributing the electronic point of sale, or qualified staff also have their price. A little market research will give you an idea of customary prices. Do some research and compare non-binding offers (to keep in mind, in case plan B has to take effect). Grow yourself some intel and become competent, so you know what your money’s worth – or what it isn’t worth yet. Since, for the time being, the pop-up is planned as a short-term event, you should look into renting instead of buying when it comes to your store, restaurant, gallery or event. Also include GEMA costs and other licenses for PR and marketing in your calculations. And not least, your opening event requires its own budget. At most, it is advisable to hold back some money for potential unforeseen incidents. Just in case, so no major surprise is going to ruin your venture.

Condensed like that, it all sounds pretty complicated, time-consuming and elaborate. But if you keep track of all your expenses and note them down into your latest budget version, you will keep your eyes peeled, won’t exhaust your financial resources and thus will stay out of danger. Maybe you will even find cooperation-, media-, advertising partners to lighten your expenditures? And finally: Keep in mind that the initial costs for a permanent store are to be calculated within the higher five- or six-digit amount. In comparison with that, a pop-up store, which earns considerably more, is the sale of the century.

5. Partner
Does your concept cry for a business partner? Owing to circumstances, it could be worth swapping parts of your creative freedom of choice with a cooperation. Probably wou will even find a business associate to share a commercial area with, e.g. because he complements your assortment. Or maybe an advertising partner might be ready to offer the necessarily needed equipment for a lower price, if you help him spread flyers, or the like. However, a partner, who shares his own vision or works on it in a different way, may even function as an amplifier – thus the collaboration widens the network and reaches more people in less time. No matter the character of your cooperation: Put it on paper. Define the particular manner in which you will work together and benefit from each other. Will you act the part of the band leader and stay in the front line as the main character, so the others will function as your supporting cast? Who will be responsible for which scope of duties? How many square meters out of the overall surface will be attributed to each of you? Who is going to pay for which percentage rate of the operating costs or the provisions’ rent? Swear to God, talk it through, spit on your hands and shake it – whatever wins your trust. But make sure to draft a contract or put it into writing. Safety first.

6. Concept
Concerning your pop-up store’s concept, keep our first words in mind and focus on your unique selling point. Surely, you will find a way to transfer your product’s unique feature into a juicy store concept. Devise a range of goods and services, a menu, a topic – anything that satisfies your audience’s needs and interests and that doesn’t wear out over the pop-up’s duration. Who says, it’ll have to be yet another one of those conventional stores, which present their numb products in a neat arrangement. Instead, you could tell a story to enable a unique customer experience and which entails not only the product but the whole brand. You already know your clients? Then you may even offer a custom-made concept for your target group. Develop a consequent stile that fits your scheme – and stick to it! How does it stand out from the crowd? Think outside the famous box! How about a pop-up cinema? A pop-up Exit Room? A pop-up coiffeur? Or even all in one? Only if you can make a permanent impression, your visitors will remember you and your idea and finally become customers. You may even consider your mother’s words: Doing more with less. All those massively stuffed inner-city stores with their wide preferably product line are definitely not sticking to people’s minds in the long run. Those are always there. You are special. So inspire confidence by showing that you know what you are doing.

7. Location
A great spot is the alpha and omega. Everything rises and falls on the right location. You already thought of your aims, your time frame and the financial plan. You kind of know the do’s and don’ts and therefore have arrived at the point, where the concrete search for your pop-up store’s perfect spot  is in place. So, what is your concrete plan? A fashion store? A bar or restaurant? A gallery? A workshop-space? A showroom? Is there anything like a perfect hood for the perfect target group? Are you looking to attract many walk-in customers with inner city proximity or are you rather into something more trendy with underground flair? And again: Market analysis may serve some answers: Where does your idea or brand offer the most hits and interests?

What kind of real estate are you envisioning? Are you looking for a whole store area or rather a shop-in-shop solution? Does a store in the main shopping street suit you best, or rather a cube near the main station, or possibly a commercial area near a metro station? Prioritize your aims and list a few must-haves regarding your pop-up dream estate. What transport connection and infrastructure do you wish for? Is an outside area crucial? What about daylight? The more concrete you can point out your wishes, the more purposeful you can start and get on with your search. Yet try to retain some of your flexibility, since many great ideas were born in a spontaneous situation. Go—PopUp supports you on your hunt. Poke around our continuously growing portfolio and find a space that screams your name!

8. Store design
As soon as you’ve found the ideal location, the most exciting part of planning a pop-up store begins: the store design. Your concept already sets the tone, but there are still many, many decisions to be made, before all details and the dream become reality. Since anything can be made into a scientific theory – starting with the decompression zone, followed by the power wall, right to the pyramid principle, there will be a different expert solution for each question of store design – you should hire a design agency to help you out professionally.nIn case you are rathe the DIY-kind of person, pay attention to a few basic things. Thinking about interior design, by way of example, should not only make you consider the furniture, colour- and light design as well as decorations, but also questions of merchandising. Your concept may have already nailed you down on a limited range of products, but what about the packaging or sales and payment method? All that belongs to the shopping experience and should match with your core story. Do you fancy any kind of seats in your store? Use your glass front as an attractive teaser and define your store as event location. Paint a picture in your head of the things you want your customers to be doing.  Do you want them to stroll around freely, or would you rather give concrete orientation and guide them? Should they stay as long as possible? Any interaction, maybe? What would they need to get into touch with each other? Find the right balance and give way to spontaneity and coincidence. Usefulness and practicality are not necessarily the right terms, when talking about stunning design. At best, one doesn’t rule out the other, so you will be thankful about everything that falls back into it’s delivery status, as soon as it comes to dismantling everything back again.

9. Law and order
You can curse as much as you like, there’s no way around the law. – Which you will soon be happy to take advantage of, since it protects your rights as employer and tenant. Do you feel well informed about all legal conditions concerning your pop-up? No questions should remain unheard. Which documents are required for a temporary lease? What kinds of taxes are to be expected? See to the necessary licences, register your business, take care of all permits. In case of oral agreements with your business partners or landlords, you must always insist to put it on paper aswell. At least regarding you pop-up store’s insurance, you can call yourself happy-go-lucky: Booking your space via our online marketplace, automatically guarantees your professional liability insurance with Gothaer insurance without additional fees. In case of any other concern: Go—PopUp is most definitely able to help you. Our customer care team helps you with words and deeds in any case.

10. Store management
Your time schedule and financial frame are set, all legal concerns are dealt with, the ideal location has been spotted – now your idea is ready to take shape. A list specifying all things needed for your concept’s implementation will help you keep track over all necessary details, so your store will function smoothly. Now everything becomes hooked on a good organization and store management: What do you need exactly and where do you get it from? Are your resources enough? Who is responsible for what? Which POS-system do you want to use? To transact the payment procedure in your store, you will find several possibilities and providers. Most of the POS systems are cloud-based and work due to a combination of hardware (devices to read and scan Eurocheque/credit cards and barcodes) and software. Depending on your needs, you could compare certain things when choosing a suitable provider and therefore balance between hardware costs (cash desk, receipt printer, scanner etc.), warranty, service support fees, integrated tools for stock administration or employee management (recording of working hours, tracking sales), combinability with your accounting system or your e-commerce web page, support, manageability etc.

In case you have to employ people to keep your pop-up running, you could also refer to professional agencies or job portals or even publish an open call via your social media channels. A friend’s friend or follower of your company’s page might probably feel closely related to your idea than complete new employees. You should plan a training, in any case, to ensure all staff members access the same knowledge and present your product, your services or ideas in the best possible way.

If you are already the proud owner of an online shop and/or already sell via Etsy, DaWanda & Co, you are probably already familiar with a system to manage and store your inventory. As soon as the offline sales and distribution join in, you will need to centralize your stock management so you will be able to synchronize the availability status, administer orders and therefore will be able to estimate future demands. Of course, there are tools for this, which stand the test. Maybe you will find the “Fit Shop”-model interesting? It works just like a showroom: The customers can look at the products on-site, they can even try them on and, in conclusion, order directly online. In this scenario, you would be aiming to recruit new customers by creating a unique shopping experience but less through an overwhelming product line.

11. PR
Draft your shop as an event! Shopping or visits to restaurants, galleries or concert halls are social events that create immediate interaction and sensory experiences. You will never predict the impression you make on individual people, but you can shape it, just like your store can: What are you looking forward to accomplish with your pop-up store? How do you want your visitors to feel when they enter respectively exit your store? What do you want them to talk about? Which longings would you like to awake? Only if you know the message, you can assign all people involved a role and carry out targeted PR. A convincing opening event that tells your story makes for the ideal opportunity to gain a lot awareness and make a long-lasting impression. Last but not least you can use it to generate strong content – as you can see: sustainability should always be your priority! In the long term it, we recommend to establish relations to journalists, editors, bloggers and other people of interest, who claim key positions. If you can catch them with your idea, so they want to support your venture using their platforms like media, communities and fanbase, they will prove worth their weight in gold. Chose your partner strategically and carefully and treat them accordingly; random and unsolicited invitations come across as arbitrary and vulgar. Besides all spawned excitement regarding pop-up’s, you should always broach your pop-down strategy. If your store will have disappeared seemingly over night and your customers don’t know the reason for that, word of mouth travels fast and people could read negative things into your quick teardown – which could be poisonous for your brand.

12. Marketing
Imagine you’ve got a great store, but no one will notice. A pop-up store without shopping customers makes no sense. Successfully advertising your idea in an early stage of your planning procedure is crucial to gain potential customers’ attention. Which off- and online marketing channels is your company already using? Which channels would you like to add? Apart from your own web presence, social channels are also essential. It’s not for nothing, that PR and marketing guidebooks won’t get tired to emphasize: Social media first! Here you can easily make a far-ranging and effective splash. Social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat are important tools to engage into a long-lasting dialogue with your follower and fans. Take it literally and rather challenge them to interact instead of simply monologizing. Answer your fans and make yure to thank them when they get involved. Eventually, the traffic feedback is well measurable via online channels. A catchy hashtag will help to easily estimate your range of influence. And yet, good old email marketing mustn’t be swept under the table. Just as producing flyers and posters – which can all be part of an advertising concept. Wise words apply here aswell: Stay well clear of aimless advertising in all directions. Instead of sharing everything with everyone, you could develop a strategy to spread your company’s corporate identity, which fits nicely into your pop-up venture’s general concept.

So. Wow. That sounds like a hell of a lotta work head. Especially considering the short period of existence. Yet, opening a pop-up store remains the best way to gain valuable experiences for your undertaking – of which your business can profit in so many ways. Don’t worry, we won’t leave you alone on your way to go and pop up your own store. Go—PopUp happily assists with your pop-up’s implementation and answers all your upcoming questions. We are by your side every step of the way – whether a complete service package or mediating specific services. Go—PopUp is mastering all issues, helping you with words and deeds. Give it a start – call us up!

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