How to Set Up a Pop-Up Shop

By Joanna Scarpadane

how to setup a pop up shop

Deciding to try a pop-up shop for your business can be exciting, and maybe a bit intimidating. You probably have plenty of questions, such as what exactly is a pop-up? How is it going to help my business? What do I need to know, and how do I decide when and where? White Space Chelsea is here to help you every step of the way. Keep reading for a comprehensive guide to everything you need to know for the perfect pop-up.

Let’s start with the basics.

A pop-up shop is a temporary retail space that is set up for a short period of time, typically ranging from a few days to several weeks. The concept of pop-up shops has become increasingly popular as a way for businesses to create temporary but engaging and unique shopping experiences. Pop-up shops are used by a variety of businesses, including online retailers looking to promote a physical presence, established brands testing new markets, and entrepreneurs seeking to showcase their products without the long-term commitment of a traditional retail space. These temporary spaces are often used for product launches, promotions, seasonal sales, or to generate buzz around a brand or new product.

A pop-up shop can do several things to enhance your business, such as diversify your revenue, increase brand awareness, connect with new customers, save money with a short-term rental (opposed to the huge commitment of buying a retail space), and give a quick boost to your sales. What’s at the top of your list for what you want to accomplish? With all these factors in mind, it’s important to define your goals for the pop-up, and how you’re going to measure your success. You can do this by keeping track of things like sales increases, email sign-ups, social media engagement, increased traffic to your website, and customer feedback. You’ll also want to keep your budget in mind. There will be fixed costs for things like rent, marketing, staffing, and outfitting the space. Remember that making a profit doesn’t need to be your main goal! There are tons of reasons to open a pop-up shop, such as improving brand visibility, increasing site traffic, or customer experiences. Profitability is not the only measure of your long-term success.

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The location of your shop is a huge aspect of the set-up and success. It’s never been easier to find a space of any size, style, and cost for your pop-up shop. Before you start your search, create a list of features you want and need your space to have. When looking at potential spots, think about the foot traffic and ease of access. Proximity to parking and public transportation is important, especially in New York City! White Space Chelsea, for instance, is conveniently located to several parking garages, bus lines, and the ACE subway line. Chelsea’s gallery district is always packed with tourists and art lovers taking tours of the multitude of exhibitions. You’ll also want to think about the size of the space itself. The rule of thumb is ten feet of space per person you expect. And don’t forget the amenities (i.e., lighting, Wi-Fi, kitchen, bathrooms) you need to support your pop-up vision. Remember that your space should visually mesh with your brand–if you sell vintage t-shirts, then a corporate event space probably isn’t right.

Now that you have your goals and location, the next step is to decide the best time for your store to happen. The holiday season always puts consumers in the mood to shop! Take a look at the calendar. Is there a celebration or event that could drive a need for your products? Make a list of the best periods and prioritize them based on sales potential. Consider holidays, seasons, and global, cultural, and sporting events. New York City is home to a huge amount of significant happenings, such as Fashion Week in February and September. The design of your pop-up store can affect everything from your budget to your location. Your pop-up shop’s design is an amazing chance to translate your brand into an immersive customer experience. We can break down the design into several things you should consider including: Decompression zone- This is the entrance, where customers decide whether or not to stay. Keep this space open and inviting.

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Power wall – 90% of customers turn right when entering a store, making that wall’s design indispensable. Use it to display popular or new items! The Pathway – This is the invisible road through your store. Use visual cues, such as signs or displays, to guide your customers. Breaks- These are “speed bumps” that prevent your customers from speeding through your store. Stand-alone displays or sample tables encourage customers to linger. Cash wrap- This is the checkout counter, which should be located at the end of your pathway. Stock small items here to encourage impulse buys. Negative space- Customers need to move comfortably around your store. Consider a small waiting area with product-facing seats, and space your displays to avoid a “cramped” feeling.

White Space Chelsea has over 4,000 square feet of open space waiting for any and all design choices, with 16-foot ceilings to make your pop-up shop feel wide open and grand. We have space for all visual merchandising elements, such as fixtures, displays, signs, and decorations. We even have some furniture available on hand to help get you started. Don’t forget about marketing! Opening a well-designed store in a popular neighborhood isn’t always enough to get people into your shop—you need online marketing to spread the word. Choose your digital channels, and create a content marketing calendar beforehand to help you stay on task with your messaging. Consider social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and event pages, and lifestyle blogs.

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You may even want to partner with an established influencer in your field, who will be able to post content and hype up your event. If this isn’t possible, make sure you and your friends post plenty of photos! Offline, promotional materials, goodies, and packaging may seem old-fashioned in the age of social media. But they’re still an effective way to reach a broad range of customers—especially those who aren’t digitally savvy. Sometimes the traditional tools will help you to reach the most people. This also includes the packaging of your product.

At White Space Chelsea, we’re hoping this article will give you a good start for your Pop-Up Store decisions. Ready to begin your pop-up journey? Still have questions, or want feedback on your ideas? Call me today at (646) 681-2265.