Last year, Creative Entrepreneurs were presented with an exciting new opportunity: to host our very own pop up shop. Having promoted creative entrepreneurs and their ventures at events and online, this was our first foray into curating a physical space, and our first taste of retailing. Here’s what we learned…
- KEEP DECOR SIMPLE BUT EFFECTIVE
By its very nature, pop up shops are temporary affairs, popping up today, before popping back down just as quickly. Whilst it can be very tempting to want to dress your pop up in the most lavish and luxurious manner (we had grand visions of marbled wall paper, copper rails and a projected installation), it is crucial to prioritise only those things that will clearly be game-changing and memorable for a customer and to have a clear budget in mind. Think about things that make an impressive impact like music, lighting and fun and unusual ways to display your goods. Could you use unexpected props?
Get creative – dressing the space doesn’t need to be expensive. We’ve seen great window displays made from recycled materials or everyday objects used in different ways. Vinyl stickers are also great, inexpensive ways to add lots of fun to your popup. You could try searching “window display” or “visual merchandising” on Instagram for some inspiration.
- MARKETING IS KING
Social media, press, friends & family – spread the word far and wide! Don’t be embarrassed to ask your friends & family to share on social media, think about setting up a Facebook event, an Eventbrite event, and reaching out to relevant influencers, publications and networks to spread the word. You could also try putting up posters, distributing flyers and getting in touch with Time Out and other events listings websites. You might also want to think about promotions like flash sales, buy one get one free offers and social media competitions to help entice people into to the shop.
- HAVE A MIX OF PRODUCTS AT DIFFERENT PRICES POINTS
Only stocking expensive items can be a risky strategy – often customers want to support a popup but are less willing to invest lots of money into unknown brands that they are unfamiliar with. Aim to have a few items under £15 to keep the shop accessible to a wide audience and keep things buzzy.
- KEEP PRICING AND SIGNAGE CLEAR & CONSISTENT
Keep prices clear and consistent – they should scale in a logical way. Also don’t be afraid to add fun signage and context to products and to share info around the process behind the designs, the materials used, and the creator’s background and inspiration. It can help the products to come alive and people also like buying into a story.
- THINK ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE
Creating a meaningful experience for your shoppers can make the difference between a purchase and someone walking straight out. Think of creative, inexpensive ways to make their visit to the shop memorable – you could you have free stickers, or offers, or some kind of installation or interactive display to help them remember their time visiting you. Is there a way to create something instantly Instagrammable in store? This will help spread the world, as shoppers share pics on social.
- REMEMBER TO DOCUMENT
Document the shop and your displays well – it’s great content for you and your work, and can be archived to be used later in time e.g. in portfolios, social media etc. You might want to take pictures of people browsing your products (always ask permission first!), or ask shoppers questions, such as ‘What’s your favourite item in the shop and why?” that you can use as content on social and beyond. It’s also crucial to record which items sell and which don’t – this is invaluable, first hand market research that can be used to inform your future retail endeavours and perhaps even your design process.
- THINK ABOUT CROSS PROMOTING YOUR SERVICES
In addition to selling physical products at our popup, we also used the shop as an opportunity to market our membership and events. If you offer additional services such as consultancy or bespoke design, think about having flyers or business cards in the shop next to your work.
- THINK ABOUT INTERESTING WAYS TO USE YOUR POP UP SPACE
In addition to using our pop-up as just a retail space, after hours we also used it for interviews with related interesting people. We livestreamed these interviews, which let the pop-up extend its reach to our entire online audience in real time. We also videoed these interviews for future viewing and learning – because they were filmed in our pop up space, they have an exciting authenticity and convey the hands-on work we do.