Jonathan Vowles Chartered Accountants

01234 752 566


How To Make A Pop-up Shop Work For You

From one day to a couple of months ...


Have you ever thought about starting a pop-up shop? You know, one of those retail outlets that appears one day and disappears the next? The pop-up shop really is a great idea ...

A pop-up shop can be for any products for any amount of time so get creative!

A pop-up shop can be for any products for any amount of time so get creative!

copyright: stockbroker / 123rf stock photo

It is one of the best ways for a fledgeling business to test itself in the market, but it is an equally useful device for a bigger business to test ideas.

"The first pop-up shop was a one-day retail store in Los Angeles in 1997, but it doesn't have to be short and sweet!"

Samsung opened a pop-up shop in New York in 2013. Originally intended to be a temporary 'brand experience space', it worked so well that not only was it made bigger but it was made permanent.

Another excellent example of a pop-up shop is the mobile shop such as an ice cream van; you pop-up when needed, sell your stuff, then off you go again!

And the reason? Well, business owners need customer interaction and market testing opportunities, as well as benefiting from retail experience and a bricks and mortar presence.

Pop-ups provide platforms for these commercial requirements and traders gain more customers, increase turnover, build new contacts and improve market exposure.

"They are great if you are a new business and haven't got a perfect shop location yet!"

They are also ideal for an e-commerce business because you can road test your products and get feedback and exposure that will help drive the 'e' side of things later. If you are a more mature business, and you have a new product or a product launch, then they are also ideal.

  1. So how can you make this work for you?

    There are a few important points to think about, starting with location. You need to be in a place with lots of foot traffic. Preferably in an area that suits your brand and experience, maybe near similar retailers or stores that attract the same kind of customers that you want. It is no good burying your pop-up on a back street with no pedestrians!

  2. How long will you operate it and what does it cost?

    Remember, you are not committing to a 10-year lease that is going to cost you loads. A pop-up could last anywhere from 1 day to a couple of months. You could try for the Christmas market by having a pop-up that starts in November and shuts on December 24th.

    Its fleeting nature means that the property costs will be limited so you can get somewhere that is more expensive and, hopefully, more accessible than you might otherwise afford and achieve a better retail experience.

  3. What sort of space?

    Some organisations look to rent out unused space on a temporary basis. Some pop-ups are in church halls or community spaces and it can pay to be creative and imaginative and use an unconventional space. What will attract more people? After all, that is the reason for having the pop-up in the first place!

  4. How can you make it pay?

    Go into it with a partner or with several partners so that you can share costs, but more importantly, so that you can benefit from each other's customer base and marketing base. But also, think minimalist when it comes to decoration.

  5. How can you make it popular?

    You need to create a buzz around your new pop-up. This means using your creativity to generate PR and get people talking about your pop-up. Obviously, this also means social media and what about traditional marketing such as leaflets or getting a celebrity involved? Or even piggy-backing off some else's event?

What a pop-up isn't, is turning every business into a bricks and mortar business, but it can help to engage with people directly by facilitating that face-to-face experience.

"You can find that the pop-up shop and the offline experience helps to drive retail business online!"

Not sure it will work? Of course you aren't! That's why it's a pop-up shop and not a full-time shop! Think that this will be interesting for your business? Then try it and see what happens!

Until next time ...


More about Jonathan Vowles ...

I've been an accountant in and for business since 1987 and have a wide experience of consultancy, audit, accounts, taxation and wealth planning work from individuals and small businesses to multinational corporations and charities.

My eclectic interests in growing and developing business span a number of areas, which can be summarised as strategic business advice and tax saving advice.

I have worked with the Chamber of Commerce to deliver courses for people about starting up in business and have lectured about tax for a major accountancy practice and for Milton Keynes College.

I relax by reading fiction and by getting away from the office in a campervan.


01234 752 566


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