To pop-up or not to pop-up? Pop-ups can be a great way to expose your brand to new markets, meet your online customers face-to-face, and create another revenue source, but what should you consider before doing one? Here are a few things to think about:
1. Determine the right kind of space for your business. “Finding he right space depends on the length of time a company wants to do a pop-up,” said Matt Ellsworth, VP of Growth at Storefront, a marketplace for short-term retail space. For a short term situation, look for event spaces, hotel lobbies, or marketplaces that regularly feature pop-ups like Firehouse 8. For a few weeks, look at shopping centers, kiosks and space at current retailers. Vacant stores in busy neighborhoods are good for long term pop-ups, but be aware that landords will be looking for tenants to sign 3-6 month leases.
2. Make a staffing plan. Is your company a one-man/woman show? Look for a space that will allow you to get other work done while you’re there, either at a desk or a back office. If you’ll be moving staff from a permanent location be sure to consider how the shifts may differ from your regular hours. “When we agreed to the pop-up we had assumed that the hours would be from 11 to 7, the same as our Valencia Street store,” said Jen D’Angelo, owner of SFMade clothing line Nooworks, which held a pop-up in the Westfield Shopping Center during the holiday season. “But the mall opens from 9 to 9 during the holidays, so we had to create two shifts.” D’Angelo also shared the kiosk with another brand, allowing her to share staff when needed.
3. Get the most bang for your buck. Ellsworth argues that earning revenue with a pop-up is more feasible than most people think, if you keep your spending down when buying fixtures and décor. “You can bring in temporary fixtures, and consumers are fine with that. Find ways to cut corners and get creative so that you can use it as a vehicle to make money,” he said. D’Angelo’s experience was profitable because she swooped in on a last minute space and was able to negotiate a low rent and bring in another designer to share.
4. Do as much research as you can beforehand, and then do some more. Doing market research on a pop-up space may be difficult if you are given an unexpected or last-minute opportunity, so be prepared to change up merchandise a few days in. Make sure your staff is paying attention to what people are spending, where else they’re shopping, and what products are going fastest. “I initially brought in older inventory that we could mark down to a lower price point, but because we were located in front of Bloomingdales I found that we had a different clientele, so I remerchandised the store two days into it,” said D’Angelo.
5. Promote, promote, promote. Pop-ups are a great opportunity to to interact with your customers offline, but you have to get them there. Don’t stop at your social media channels, much of doing a pop-up is about generating brand awareness, so take it as an opportunity to get in touch with new outlets. Reach out to the neighborhood merchant association, send press releases out to blogs and local media, and make sure any brands you are partnering with are doing the same.
Want to see an SFMade pop-up in action? Visit dripmodule in the Westfield. Read the San Francisco Chronicle article about the SFMade pop-up at the Westfield.
For more information about Storefront, click here.