(second installment of a series about pop-ups)
Why are pop-up stores suddenly so popular?
Well, for one thing, there’s FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out). Pop-up consumers are not just shoppers. They like to feel a part of the action, to be among the “exclusive” crowd if possible. They want to be invited to the party!
The big brands such as Nike, Louis Vuitton and Gucci have caught on. They have to continually work at being considered “fresh,” and the trendy, cutting-edge pop-up movement provides that cachet. Online retailers such as Amazon, Ebay and Etsy have discovered that relying on e-commerce alone is not enough — people want to see, touch, and try out what they buy. According to the Wall Street Journal, about a third of all Internet purchases are returned by shoppers. Through temporary pop-ups, even big brands can offer exclusivity and a shopping “experience” to those who are “in the know.”
A second type of pop-up shop is one opened by smaller businesses and boutiques. These merchants might want to test out a new market before committing to a permanent spot. Or perhaps they want to launch a new line of products and want the “buzz” that a pop-up is sure to add.
Consumers also like to find unique items. They want to not only shop, but to curate, to express themselves through what they purchase. This is why virtually anyone can launch a pop-up, offering truly one-of-a-kind items. Talented individuals have taken up hobbies at which they have become quite prolific. Crafters, jewelry makers, apparel and accessories designers, home decor woodworkers, bakers… the list goes on and on. Even if what they have developed is not a product line, but rather, an expertise, they have something to offer to the public via a pop-up shop, class, or event. It is a way to turn an avocation or a collection into some meaningful income!
As for a venue, there are many options. The landlord of an empty storefront will often eagerly play host to a pop-up shop. You may find that an existing store in operation would love to set aside space for a small pop-up within the store as a means to attract more customers. An existing public marketplace such as a farmers’ or flea market, an unusual public location like a transit stop or a park (make sure that your town allows it), or even your own driveway or backyard can serve the purpose. Be creative and sensible — the location of your pop-up can be instrumental in its ultimate success.
Another key to a pop-up shop’s success, besides the appeal of the goods being offered, is marketing. A pop-up host doesn’t have a big advertising budget, prior pedestrian traffic, or a marketing team to attract shoppers. Instead, word-of-mouth promotion is essential, with social media marketing being the natural way to reach out to a desired audience.
You can and should try to spread the word through your own social network. But you might be wise to enlist the help of a pop-up marketing expert. PopUp Republic (www.popuprepublic.com) is the only social media company in the United States that focuses solely on the marketing needs of the pop-up industry. Its website provides prominent exposure to an audience of pop-up fans via a self-directed, easy-to-navigate pop-up directory (the website experiences over 100,000 page views a month!) and provides strategic Twitter support to make sure word gets out to the right consumers (www.twitter.com/popuprepublic) about your pop-up. PopUp Republic has several marketing packages to choose from, ranging from free to very modestly-priced plans. If you are contemplating hosting a pop-up shop of your own, you should really check it out.
If you have any questions on opening up a pop-up shop, you are invited to contact PopUp Republic’s staff of experts at firstname.lastname@example.org, who would be very happy to assist you.
And make sure to stay tuned to Patch.com for the next installment of PopUpdates!