What to keep in mind when hiring and managing pop-up store employees

As a concept, a pop-up store was around for a while, but a current COVID-19 crisis made it a viable retail option for multiple reasons. Since we’re living in uncertain times, leasing a business space long-term brings enormous risks, making business owners turning to short term lease options. With pop-up stores, you can rent a business location for a short time, enabling you to change locations often, reduce costs, and experiment with different approaches and strategies. 

Either you’re testing a new product line, building brand awareness, or just trying out the new location, opening a pop-up store might be the best option. Since you’ll be selling face-to-face, it’s essential to find the right team and manage it effectively. Failing to hire and manage the fitting individuals will diminish your chances of succeeding, so let’s find out how to find and manage the winning team. 

//Choose between hiring new or utilising the current staff

A pop-up team can make or break efforts of presenting a brand to potential customers. The first question to ask yourself is, ‘what technical and people skills the ideal employee should bring to the table?’. Do you want to hire a new and dedicated staff for your store, or you’re thinking of utilizing your current employees? In either way, the ideal candidate is deeply connected and knowledgeable about your brand, knows how to talk with customers, and most importantly, knows how to convert in the long run. 

Since pop-up stores are temporary setups where the environment will be extremely dynamic, you want independent, adaptable, and sociable people in your team. Potential buyers will ask questions about products, brands, or availability, so your ideal employee should know how to give a correct answer that can lead to further engagement and ultimately conversions. 

If you currently don’t have anyone with reputable sales, marketing, or branding skills in your team, then you should consider outsourcing a specialized part-time staff.

//Provide a proper staff training

Pop-up stores slightly differ from standard retail stores when it comes to goals. People often misunderstand pop-up stores’ primary purpose, which is building brand awareness and relationships with customers. If you decide to outsource top salespeople, you’ll still need to invest in comprehensive training to reach your goals. Timing is crucial, and you don’t want to miss the chance. 

Here are a few practical tips for staff training: 

  • Educate your staff about your brand since the primary aim is to share your brand story and nurture brand awareness in front of potential customers. 
  • Teach your team about product features. For instance, if you’re selling clothing products, your team should be ready to answer questions about the fabrics used, the cleaning process, the latest fashion trends, and similar. 
  • A great way to educate your team about the smallest details is to provide them with the products they’re selling. That way, they don’t only communicate they’re knowledgeable about the product but also show potential customers they genuinely believe in a brand, making them brand ambassadors. 
  • Educate your staff about the giveaways or loyalty programs, so they can present them to potential buyers.
  • Share every tiny detail such as payment and shipping methods, return policies, discounts, and other service features that come as a package with the product.

//Optimize employee schedules

Once you’ve gathered and trained a team, it’s time to implement an effective schedule. The scheduling process’s complexity depends on your operation’s scale, the number of employees, and managed locations, among other aspects. It’s vital that before establishing a scheduling process, you communicate with your employees about their needs and preferences, which might affect the schedule. 

Since it’s hard to predict human resource needs, communication plays a crucial role. Analyzing the labor demand is essential as you want to avoid unnecessary costs that can stack up quickly without the proper schedule. The last thing you want to experience is lacking the staff during the busy days. To avoid understaffing, be sure to track your store’s data, such as the number of customers and sales on a specific day, and plan your employee schedule accordingly.

//Physical micromanagement

Keep in mind that pop-up stores serve as a significant experiment to test if specific products work in a given market and what improvements you have to implement to succeed. Having that in mind, you should be physically present in the store and micromanage processes and employees. The most important thing is to keep your team effective and satisfied. 

For instance, you may find out that some employees are pushing too hard to sell products, which may negatively impact the results. Or on the other hand, you may find employees who’re not doing anything while others are covering up for them. These situations can quickly escalate and disturb the team dynamics, leading you further away from goals. It’s crucial to keep the stability and balance among your employees. 

Being present in a store helps you understand customers and their needs from a different perspective. You can observe what customers like and their behavior and adjust accordingly. On top of that, you might get new and fresh ideas from your team members that can ultimately boost the revenue.

//Team chemistry can make or break a pop-up store success

Hiring the right employees with specific talents and skills who can adapt to a dynamic environment is key to succeeding with a pop-up store. Having the best people in your team won’t be enough team chemistry has to exist. With proper training, deep belief and understanding of a brand, effective scheduling and communication, and open-mindfulness, you can expect to have a winning team to reach the goals.


Derek Jones spearheads key initiatives at Deputy, a global workforce management platform for employee scheduling, timesheets and communication.  With a focus on retail, Derek helps business owners and workforce leaders simplify employment law compliance, keep labor cost in line and build award-winning workplaces. Derek has over 16 years’ experience in delivering data-driven sales and marketing strategies to SaaS companies like MarketSource and Griswold Home Care.

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