How to open your first pop up shop.

3 Jan 2020

For established and new brands alike, stepping into the world of physical space is an unrivalled way to immerse customers in your brand. Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to make dreams of retail a reality, but if you’ve only ever been trading online, where do you start? To guide aspiring shopkeepers, we’ve pulled together our experience from launching over 10,000 stores into a step-by-step guide to ensure your first pop up store is a success.

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Define what success means to you.

Once you establish what you want to achieve from your first venture into brick and mortar, you can tailor your space to these aims. For instance, if the aim of your pop up space is to whip up a PR buzz, then a couple of days residency in a busy high street may be best. Or, if a successful store means a high number of sales for you, then you are best to invest in a longer period of time in an area that’s tailored to your brand’s audience. Find out what will best help you to achieve your goals, and start from there.

Understand your audience.

Your brand’s audience will influence all aspects of your pop up space: from where you set up your retail store, to how you communicate with them in store and online. If this is the first time you’ve thought about your audience in a more analytical way and you don’t know where to start, you should look to the analytics of your brand’s website or social media accounts. If your brand has a business account on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter, most platforms will be able to show you the average age, location and gender of your followers. From this information, you’ll start to build up a picture of who your audience is. It’s definitely worth setting aside some time to research your target audience in detail. Any information you can find will be helpful in planning your retail store.

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Choose your location.

Now that you’ve figured out who your audience is, you need to figure out where you’ll find them – this is where you should set up shop. With all your research in mind, picture your average customer: where do they hang out, work, live and shop? Once you have an area in mind to set up shop, it’s also worth visiting it yourself if you live nearby. Get a feel for the area and spend some time there to watch how it changes throughout the day. Get chatting with other shopkeepers about their average customer and how business is doing – learn as much about the area as you can. Even with all this information, choosing a location can be really tricky, so our concierge team is on hand to guide you through the process and with insights learned from launching stores around the world. Matching your brand with the perfect location is the easiest way to drive footfall, so make sure you take the time to get it right.

Find the right space.

This is the decision that ties everything together. A perfect brick and mortar store isn’t just the best fit for your brand, it also matches with the area, your customers and – most importantly – your budget. You will also need to consider the practicalities: how big does it need to be to show off your product? Will you need any specific licenses if you plan to serve alcohol or host late-night events? When you think you’ve found your dream store, make sure you stay grounded and ensure the space ticks all the boxes.

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Nail your design.

Many find this the most exciting part, and for good reason. Your store’s design provides the perfect opportunity to tell your brand’s story. Think of the five senses – see, smell, hear, touch and taste – and consider how you can evoke your brand with each of them. If you want to discuss your design plans with industry-leading design experts, you can book Additions on top of your space – an exclusive service for our community. From fit-out to finishing details, we’ve handpicked a selection of industry-leading contacts to assist you with everything you need to launch the perfect shop.

Or, if you’re on a tight budget, you can find lots of ideas for DIY fit-outs from our community here. It’s important to remember that your visitors have likely visited every other shop on the high street before yours. What will make your retail store memorable? Before you start booking any fit-outs, ensure you submit your design to your landlord in advance. They have the right to reject it if it doesn’t fit the bill and you may face a trip back to the drawing board with not much time to spare.

Communication is key.

Promoting a new brick and mortar store is always crucial, but a great comms strategy is particularly important if you’re hosting a pop up store for only a short amount of time. Make sure you announce your launch well in advance to create a bit of excitement around your grand opening. Reach out to journalists who may be interested in writing about you, plan for an exciting launch event and use your social media to promote your store’s location and opening hours. In this digital age, you have an abundance of tools at your disposal to make your pop up a success – make sure you use them.

We hope you feel empowered to make the move into your first-ever brick and mortar store, but if all of the boxes to check off feel a little overwhelming, our concierge team is here to help. Give us a call or create an account so we can find out how we can help you bring your idea to life.