How to... Pop up

Interior of womenswear pop up at Sook on South Molton Street with dresses on Hangers and in the windows

This week, we are bringing it back to basics for our latest 'How to...' guide - as we take a look at the three key things you need to know before you book physical space - AKA 'popping up'. Read on for the full lowdown...

What’s that? You’ve decided to bring your business into the REAL WORLD™? Exciting! You’ve probably got it all figured out: how it’s going to look; who’s going to come; what’s going to happen; how early you’re going to sell out…but in case you haven’t, we got ya. 

But first…

What is a pop up?

A ‘pop up’ is what we call a shop, experience, restaurant, or other outlet that is deliberately temporary. It can appear in a standard retail or business unit, or can A business chooses to pop up for a number of reasons, often to capitalise on a trend, or hit up crowds that come and go. But what’s the benefit for your business? Primoprint says:“(Pop ups) are designed to make a permanent impact with your audience, giving you the opportunity to build stronger relationships with your customers.

Thankfully, the retail landscape has changed so much over the last decade, so the pop up is becoming less of a novelty, and more of a way of doing things, and with it comes vibrancy and interest. Flexibility is what underpins the pop up economy, and it’s becoming clear that the traditional model of loooooong leases and same-old same-old chain store high streets just isn’t working. 

Read a Tale of Two Queues here, Want to know more? Read A Brief History of The Pop Up here.

Ready to get started? Here are our top five things to think about before you pop up:
1. Where to locate your pop up

Pick somewhere that’s going to suit your business vibe, and the service you offer. For example, if you want to run a pop up yoga studio that wants to attract lunchtime worker-outers, look for somewhere with a large office-based workforce right on the doorstep who will be looking for something they can just nip out to. Footfall is a major draw - you want enough people passing by so they can see what you’re offering - so busy high streets or shopping centres, where you’re alongside established businesses or exciting independents, are a safe bet.That being said, think beyond where you’d like to pop up. Where are your customers likely to be, and when? High footfall is great, but if they’re not the kind of feet who love what you’re selling, then you could end up disappointed. Consider, too, what mood they’re likely to be in when they’re near you. Hungry? Tired after a long day? Maybe the spot you pick is on the way to or from a train station, in which case you need to weigh up whether people are likely to be in a rush to get to work or home and don’t have time to stop. Use your own experience, to put yourself in their shoes.

2. How to plan your pop up

Be clear on what you want your pop up to achieve. Here are some common goals for pop up owners:

Introduce new products Pop-up shops also give business owners the opportunity to test new products. Many consumers have a hard time parting with their money when they haven’t had the chance to test the product out, or try it on, or taste it, which is perhaps one of the most significant hurdles e-commerce struggles with. So, how will you give customers the best experience? You might find you need changing rooms or mirrors, or plenty of room for people to move around, which will impact your choice of space, so careful consideration upfront will make sure you make the right choice. 

Educate your customers Do your customers know who you are and what you stand for? Do they know about your product or service? A pop up is perfect for allowing you to give in-person demos, so do you have your messaging nailed? There’s an art to it, for sure, to make the most of your super short window.

Read about How To Do a Great Product Demo here.

Immerse them in your brand This might be the first time you’ve taken your brand offline, so it’s important to think about how your branding is going to zing, from the imagery and wording you’re using, how it appears on displays, and even the level and tone of your customer service - everything you do and everything they see contributes to their image of you and your brand.

Building a strong brand presence should be more difficult in a temporary space, though, right? Thankfully, there are some great, simple-but-effective options for making your pop up, um, pop these days, so being flexible doesn’t mean you have to compromise. 

If you’re popping up in a Sook space and using the wall-to-wall digital screens, think about what kind of content will communicate your messaging best. Video is often called king because of the high level of engagement it garners, but it can be expensive. However, Canva, the design platform, has a massive library of high-quality, free stock imagery and footage, so go nuts. 

And what about a little bit of ‘retail theatre’? Something in your pop up that’s there to make the shopping experience more exciting. It could be a sampling station, a DJ, performers, or an art installation. The important thing is to make sure it brings your brand to life. 

Read about How Retail Theatre Can Increase Profits here.

3. How to promote your pop up

The build up to your event is a major factor in its success, and the key is to promote it often, and promote it early.

Get on the socials’re probably already active on at least one social platform, so leverage your following by letting them know when and where you’ll be well in advance…as in, as soon as you know, start talking about it. 

Plan your content out …making sure you increase the frequency as your booking gets closer, and, if you’re using Facebook, set up an events page, which will help you gauge interest too. If your budget allows, boost your posts to reach even more of your target audience. 

Encourage sharing  …to get the word out there. Add a competition element, or give an on-the-day discount you can offer for sharing your content. That way you get a share, plus footfall on the day. Make sure your displays are ‘grammable too.

Engage an Influencer Influencer marketing is showing no signs of slowing down, and is highly engaging for the under 30s. Target influencers (they don’t need to be global) who you think would add value, and put together an offer for them, or, better yet, start building a relationship with them before you ask them for something…play the long game!

Tease You could even pre-release images of the products that will be on sale at your pop up, via Pinterest. This works particularly well if you’re a seller on a platform such as Depop.

Don’t forget on-the-day Make sure you’re capturing and sharing content while you’re popped up - don’t underestimate what an event it is for your customers - which creates a sense of FOMO for those who can’t be there, and gives you loads of material for after the event itself. 

Want more?

Read about Influencer Marketing Trends for 2022 here

See some Instagram Countdown Ideas here

Check out Depop Seller Celia Pops Pop Up at Sook here

Read about Sook and The Future of Retail here

Looking for a place to pop up? Book flexible space, in prime locations, with no extra cost for the fit-out. Check out our spaces and see what we can do for you.

Find out how your brand can pop-up with Sook

If you would like to book one of our spaces