What is the Cost of Starting a Pop-up Shop?

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They are most likely to be found in your locality, particularly if you live near a large metropolitan area. These pop-up shops are a popular retail trend that isn’t likely to go away soon. These shops are temporary, but can sometimes become permanent retail stores. They offer a unique experience for customers to shop, mingle and enjoy entertainment. This article will discuss how to open a pop up shop. We also provide information on what it takes to set one up, how much it costs and how to manage it.

Continue reading to find out how to open a pop up shop.

What is a pop-up shop?

A pop up shop is, by definition, a temporary retail store. It’s technically temporary and could eventually become a permanent operation. Pop-up shops are a common way for prominent online brands to test whether a retail store can work in an attempt to shift to 100% online sales.

Pop-up shops offer a smaller and more flexible option for retail businesses. They are ideal for showcasing small, test stores, which reduces the risk associated with leasing an entire store. This shop is a great way for digitally-focused businesses to look at local locations to see if they might be of use to their customers. A pop-up shop can also be a marketing opportunity. It generates word of mouth advertising and you’ll market on places such as social media.

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Pop-up shops are cool because they offer something customers can do while out and about with their family or friends. Pop-up shops are exciting because they can often point out new opportunities in their locality. Pop-up shops are like mini-festivals because they offer entertainment and gathering aspects such as music, refreshments, and raffles.

Let’s talk about the physical aspects and functions of a pop up shop. While it’s fine to make your shop look just like any other retail shop, you must make your pop-up shop stand apart. Customers should have an experience that is unique and memorable, which can be difficult to replicate online.

What are the benefits of a pop-up shop?

Perhaps you are asking yourself: “Why launch a pop-up store?” You could simply open an online shop or start a retail store.

It’s a legitimate question. But before you dismiss pop-up shops, let’s look at their primary benefits. A lot of them have to do with extreme marketing potential and incredible cost savings.

  • It is possible to validate the demand for new products or test new markets.
  • For regular retail and online shops to increase sales during busy times like Christmas and Thanksgiving, pop-up shops are essential.
  • This is the best way to test and evaluate a potential location for permanent or temporary use, or to determine if brick-and-mortar stores are a good fit for your brand.
  • Pop-up shops can be used to reduce customer acquisition costs. This is especially important considering how much online acquisition costs via email marketing, ads and social media have increased. Due to the rise of online shopping and the pandemic, you can benefit from record-low rentals and flexible terms.
  • In-person pop-up shops are a great way to create a lot of buzz online and to increase real-world awareness. They’re also fun because customers still want to be able to touch, examine and test products.
  • Pop-up shops give your brand a face, allowing you to connect with customers in a more personal way.
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How Much Does it Cost to Open a Pop-up Store?

Although we can’t give an exact cost for a pop-up store, it is possible to make some estimates and provide insight on possible expenses.

The purpose of pop-up shops is to cut costs and make it more permanent.

These are the main factors that impact the price of a pop up shop.

  • Duration.
  • Location.
  • Size.

Every day of operation comes with additional costs. These include the cost for goods sold, WiFi, equipment rentals, and leasing fees. You’ll pay more for prime neighborhoods, shopping centers, or to block off a portion of a street. The size of the venue is also important. More customers means more staff. Higher rents mean higher sales.

You should also consider additional costs such as:

  • Improvements needed in the retail space.
  • Decor.
  • Entertainment for hire
  • Needs of staff.
  • Utility costs.
  • Insurance.
  • Marketing.
  • WiFi.
  • Security.
  • Discounts.
  • Payment processing fees.

These are some concrete tips to help you save money on pop-up shops:

  • If you plan to run the shop for only a few days, renting equipment, internet and leasing space is more expensive per day. If you have a longer event, the per-day cost will drop dramatically.
  • The Shopify software starts from $29 per month and increases to $299 per monthly.
  • Shopify POS Hardware rental starts at $115 per day. This includes a Shopify Retailers kit with an iPad, card reader and retail stand as well as 1GB of data. Longer rentals are cheaper than the per-day cost; for example, a 5-day rental costs $145 and a month $209 respectively.
  • POPertee projects that a pop-up store will cost $34,000. This includes elements such as WiFi, insurance and utilities.
  • Shopify enables you to open a temporary pop-up shop starting at $1,500
  • Inkbox, an online shop for temporary tattoos, held a pop-up store for two weeks. It cost $15,000 and included $3,000 furniture that they could reuse.
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Essentials Behind Successful Pop-up Shops

  • Make your experience memorable, photo-worthy, and enjoyable. As a merchant, you want to make money. Your customer wants to be able to take photos, meet new friends, and try products. A pop-up store should feel like a mini-street festival where people can shop but also eat, play games or trim their beards (I visited a Tie Bar shop that did this). You might also consider contests, raffles and live music.
  • Start buzzing before you launch. Pop-up shops are thriving from local media coverage, social media attention and word-of mouth. These outlets should be contacted at least one month prior to your launch. Participate in the local news and encourage local social media influencers not only to share information but also to come and join the conversation.
  • Make the most of social media’s obsession for pop-up shops. You should create an event hashtag and generate official event pages via places like Facebook.
  • Engage with customers in a unique manner. Customers who visit pop-up shops are often first-time customers and not just interested in purchasing products. You can interact with them by giving them freebies and explaining the operation of your pop-up shop. Perhaps they will sign up for your mailing list, which could give them entry to a contest, or even a coupon. You should also have enough staff to answer customer questions and someone to chat with virtual customers via social media.
  • Provide top-notch WiFi. Customers love to take pictures in pop-up shops. Customers will need to be able to access WiFi to make payment processing possible. Make sure the login information is clearly displayed. Customers can share the store via social media. Customers are free to take photos.
  • Do not skimp in finding the perfect location. It should be easy to reach by all modes of transport and should be close to other businesses. In the next sections, we’ll discuss how to find the perfect location and venue.
  • Make sure you understand all the legal requirements and lease paperwork. Pop-up shops can also be allowed in many municipalities by obtaining permits or following specific rules.
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How to start a pop-up shop

Although you don’t need to have an online store to open a pop-up shop, it is more common for established brands to venture into pop-up shops. You can follow these steps to determine your pop-up shop’s topic, find the ideal locations and set up the best equipment, software and market your shop.

1. Before you open a pop-up shop, plan out the allure

As long as you have some startup capital, it’s possible to take an online store and make it a physical shop. If you just turn on the “Open” signage and have a cashier behind the register, there is nothing appealing about a random clothing shop, furniture gallery or cupcake restaurant.

Marketing is important, but pop-up shops have become more popular.

First, take your existing brand or one you want to create and make it hip.

What could be the best way to create that appeal? Think whimsical decor, tourist-heavy areas, local cuisines. We also think about exciteable and knowledgeable staff in fun outfits and entertainment such as music and dancing.

2. Find the perfect location to open a pop-up shop

The location is an important part of opening a pop-up shop that succeeds.

It’s a mantra that retail businesses have heard a million times: Location, location, location. It might sound irritating, but it has been true for a long period of time. Some argue that it is even more important for pop up shops.

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How do you find the perfect location for a pop up?

It’s important to land in a place that is:

  1. Vacant.
  2. Useable.
  3. For short periods, rentable
  4. Near local hotspots. You should ensure that the pandemic doesn’t affect a normally bustling area.
  5. Nearby foot traffic, public transport, and roads.
  6. Affordable.
  7. All your utility- and logistical needs met
  8. Possibility to transform into something extraordinary
  9. Nearby businesses that can be helpful to other businesses, but not too competitive.

These are some common places that you can check off some of these boxes.

  • A mobile bus, truck, or vehicle. You can either rent or purchase a vehicle. You also have control and mobility. This gives you a great hook for your marketing. John’s Traveling Shoe Bus invites you to come see him and get a complimentary shoe shine. Also, learn more about the cobbler process.
  • A gallery or event space. These spaces are usually empty and are available for rent. You’re not trying negotiate with the leasing company. Instead, you are looking for a new canvas and not trying to repurpose an existing restaurant or warehouse.
  • A store inside a store. These are usually small kiosks that blend well with an existing business. These stores allow you to profit from the foot traffic already coming in and also help you interact with other business owners.
  • Shopping center or mall. Look for empty spaces in shopping malls and shopping centers to determine if there is a better option. Consider newer outdoor malls instead of those that are hardly visited. You’re gaining customer traffic, and possibly finding lower rent in the expanding world of online retail.
  • No storefront space. They don’t need to be in shopping centers or malls, but in an area that has at least one other attraction. Check with your local tourist board to see if there is a brewery/winery nearby. There are also opportunities for very affordable rentals.
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How to find and book pop-up shop venues

A local realtor is the best way to locate commercial space. You can mention your interest in a pop up space by emailing or calling and ask them if they have experience with it. You should also explain your requirements (listed above: rentable for short periods of time, high foot traffic, close to popular businesses ) to make sure the agent knows what you are looking for. They won’t just try to sell an old retail shop that has been on the market for years.

You can then browse online leasing websites and databases that cater to pop-up shops, or offer temporary leasing agreements. These are some of my favorites:

3. Find the right POS equipment

There are many types of point-of-sale equipment. The following items are necessary for a pop-up store:

  • An iPad for installing your POS software, managing inventory, and checking out customers.
  • To process these payments in person, a tap and chip card reader is required.
  • An iPad retail stand that presents the iPad in an attractive manner.
  • The dock allows you to transport the card reader around and provides an ergonomic payment environment.

You should also keep all these items portable because you are operating a small, temporary shop. Some pop-up shops travel or are moved from one place to another.

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You may require additional equipment, although it is not always required, to open a pop-up store.

  • Barcode scanners
  • Printers for receipts
  • Cash drawers.
  • Labels.
  • Receipt paper.

Don’t forget to calculate how many items you will need for your store. A smaller shop may only need one iPad and a chip reader, while others might require ten, as well as readers and retail stands and cash drawers.

Shopify offers all the equipment mentioned above. If you are interested in starting a retail shop, we recommend renting the hardware first and then purchasing the hardware.

You can find more information in our detailed guide Shopify POS equipment.

4. Configure your POS Software and Payment Processing

The iPad or any other tablet that you intend to use is your primary point of sale in a pop-up store. You install POS software on that device. This software manages retail and ecommerce elements such as:

  • Inventory.
  • Staffing.
  • Reports and metrics
  • Payment processing.
  • Integrations with your online shop
  • Sales by custom
  • Discount processing.
  • All hardware can be integrated, including cash drawers and card readers.
  • Exchanges and returns
  • Profils of customers
  • Marketing campaigns that are personalized
  • Loyalty programs
  • There are many more.

Quality POS software is essential for any pop-up shop. It will ensure that you keep up with traffic and keep customers happy.

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The Shopify POS is our recommendation. It not only provides a great interface for managing all aspects of your pop up shop but also integrates with all Shopify hardware and syncs all sales and inventory with your online store.

To run the POS system, you must sign-up for a Shopify ecommerce platform account. They start at $29 per monthly and can go up to $299 depending on the features you require. You can build an online store, process payments in person, add products and market your products using the ecommerce platform.

Once you have signed up for Shopify, you can download the Shopify POS App from the dashboard and begin to add the interface to your POS devices (such as iPads or Android tablets or smartphones).

The Shopify Dashboard will show you a POS Setup Guide. This guide walks you through each step of setting up the perfect point-of-sale configuration. You can add products to your point of sale channel and get the POS mobile app for your devices. You can even run a test transaction before you go live with your customers.

When you open a pop up shop, you will also need to have POS mobile apps installed on all devices. Shopify has two Apple Store apps and one on Google Play Store. These are the actual point-of-sale interface on your device. They allow you to order products, make payments and even offer discounts.

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The POS apps can also be integrated with other hardware. You could use a barcode scanner for products to be scanned and then automatically pull up the Shopify POS App.

A POS app is an application that you install on your device. It provides a detailed interface and buttons for completing tasks such as:

  • You can search for anything in your store.
  • Customers can be added or removed.
  • Discounts can be added or removed
  • Ship to customers
  • Notes
  • Run gift cards.
  • You can add buttons to the home screen.

To place an item in your cart, you can scan a barcode or use the Search Anything Bar to search for a product. All items are then added to the checkout module along with any discounts. You will see the Total and a Checkout button.

Then, you can choose a payment option. You can choose from these options:

  • Cash.
  • Gift card
  • Enter credit card details.
  • Bank transfer
  • Check.
  • Split payment.

They can all be customized depending on which payment method you accept at your pop-up shop.

The payment processing is done through the app. You can accept cash, credit cards, or any other payment option that your customers wish to use.

The best thing about Shopify POS? It doesn’t have a complicated interface. It’s easy to use and syncs with your online shop and any other devices in the pop up shop.

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The POS system combines all hardware and Shopify POS software to automate. This includes a cash drawer opening when a cash payment has been received, or a product showing up in the shopping basket when you scan a barcode using a handheld scanner. The POS system works in concert to ensure smooth transactions, which will make both you and your customers happy.

5. Promote the Pop-up shop

There are many ways to market a pop up shop, but we prefer these:

  • Posts and ads on social media
  • Get your pop-up shop in front of thousands, or even millions of people by partnering with social media influencers.
  • Mentions in local newspapers and news channels
  • To showcase the future, you will need a website. This website could include photos of the building of the pop up shop, featured products, and a list with fun events.
  • A campaign of email marketing that begins long before the event. This includes collecting emails from your website and sharing content about the setup. It continues throughout the event. Email marketing continues to drive sales and convince people to return to your online store.

This guide will help you create a marketing plan for a pop up shop prior to, during, and following the initial pop-up.

You must first open a pop-up store

  • Make a list with all the relevant bloggers, marketers, and influencers. Next, reach out to the people that are most likely to be interested in a partnership to launch your pop-up shop. You might send them free products that they can review and talk about on their platforms. Make sure to get an agreement detailing how often they will showcase the product. You might also consider inviting them to the event to continue sharing photos about it.
  • During the setup, take pictures. These images can be shared on your website and social media accounts. Send us photos, videos, and information about your workers and the inventory.
  • You can generate buzz by hosting contests online, creating a hashtag and setting up an event page on Facebook. This will allow people to sign up for the event.
  • Look into co-marketing opportunities. Talk to restaurants, bars and hotels to find out if they would be interested in providing entertainment or a giveaway at the event.
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During the pop up shop event

  • Invite some influencers to your event and allow them to share content live during the pop-up launch. It gives your followers a glimpse into your pop-up shop and encourages them to visit your shop later in the day.
  • Encourage customers to post content. You need attractive, photo-worthy decor. This could include a photo booth, creative signs on the wall, beautiful plants or any interior that encourages people to snap a picture and upload it to Instagram. If you offer an experience, people will share it online.
  • Collect contact information. If you offer a discount, a free gift, or entry to a raffle, it’s easier for people to get their email addresses. Every customer who walks in your door should be asked to complete a form. It’s a good idea to have a few iPads available for this purpose (make sure they are portable so that someone can walk by and ask for your contact information).

After the pop up shop

  • Create a plan for sending engaging emails to customers who have provided their contact information. Offer discounts to encourage them to visit the online or pop-up store again. You can also send them a thank-you note with photos of the event and a description of your business.
  • You can take every photo, video and other content from the event and save it in a folder. This is a huge amount of content that you can use for many months or even years. You can use your own content in places such as Facebook, Instagram and email marketing campaigns. You can also check the results of your social hashtag to see if you have been able to repost content that was sent by customers or influencers. Sometimes the best moments are captured by a random customer that you don’t know.
  • Continue to build buzz with constant marketing via email, social media, and online ads. Instead of promising people a return visit to your shop, encourage them to shop on your website. It might happen, but it’s not guaranteed. Make sure your online shop has all the marketing tools it needs. Make sure you have promotional banners, along with things such as abandoned cart emails, coupons to new customers, and a sign up form to join your email list.
  • Check in with your influencers to see if they are willing to share a recap of this event. You can give them a coupon code for those who attended the event, and those who didn’t. Once again, the goal is to keep people coming back to your store. You may one day open a permanent store but for now, it’s a great time to capitalize on the buzz generated by a pop-up shop. Focus more on your online sales, interacting with customer questions online, and showing that the same personality/friendliness you showed off during the pop-up event is prevalent in your customer service as well.
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6. You might also consider selling online (before or after you open a pop-up shop).

It is possible that you already own an online shop. Pop-up shops are often created after an online business grows and expands into retail.

But, this may not be true.

You might consider opening an online store if you have a small business or are starting it from scratch.

Shopify comes with its online store builder as part of your Shopify POS account. It’s worth it to start a store.

You can manage both your pop-up and online shops from one dashboard. This allows you to switch between sales channels, edit products, make payments and even design store elements.

The dashboard’s Sales Channels section offers a variety of options, including the Online Store and POS. There are also many other online sales options, such as Pinterest, eBay, Etsy, and eBay. While we encourage you to start slowly, there is always the possibility of expanding your reach and reaching customers on other platforms.

Shopify allows you to customize all aspects of your online store from the same Shopify dashboard. You can add product galleries, blog posts and payment processing to your website. You can then access the dashboard to view reports, place orders, and integrate with many apps for shipping, accounting, social media and other areas.

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You don’t need to be a professional web developer to make it work. There are many pre-built themes available. Some are tailored to specific industries. Others are better if you are looking for a specific color to increase brand awareness or a particular layout such as a one-page website with one product.

Now, open a pop-up shop!

It takes time and research to learn how to open a pop up shop. This type of retail store is not for launching a quiet shop and then seeing what happens. It’s important to make it loud and proud. Get in the local newspaper; have social media influencers raving about it online; and create a website with amazing pictures of the shop.

We encourage you to approach the pop-up store model with patience and diligence. The keys to a pop-up shop’s success include location, social marketing, creativity, and creative thinking. People will likely stop by a regular tie shop in town to browse, but it’s much more likely that you can increase sales and get people talking if the store features beautiful art, plants and bartenders.

Good luck! We are happy to answer any questions you may have about opening a pop-up store.

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