Should You Open a Pop-Up Shop for Your Small Business?

Posted in Strategy

Taking big risks with your small business can be very scary. That’s why many companies are easing into new business concepts with pop-up shops. These temporary locations allow you to set up shop in a new location for a short period of time, without the provision of having to sign a long-term lease.

Pop-up shops are often used by seasonal businesses such as Halloween costume stores, Pumpkin patches and Christmas tree sellers. Other retailers have also followed suit. For instance, Procter & Gamble set up a 4,000 square foot space and offered visitors a full CoverGirl makeover and a Head & Shoulders wash and blow dry free-of-charge. The goal? To create some buzz in our social media-heavy society.

The saying says “Any publicity is good publicity,” but to append this saying — viral publicity is the best publicity.

Reason to Open a Pop-Up Shop

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) says the following motives are great reasons to open a pop-up shop:

  • Marketing New Products: If you’re thinking of taking your existing small business in a new direction, but aren’t sure how receptive customers will be to your new product line, hosting a pop-up shop can be a good way to test your idea out. This will allow you to measure the standing power of your new concept on its own, without disrupting business as usual. A pop-up shop can also be a good idea for you if you currently do not have a physical store location, as it will give you a chance to see if you could generate enough business to support an actual storefront.
  • Scouting a New Location: If you’re considering opening a new location of your small business, testing a new site out with a pop-up store is a smart way to see if the spot is right for you. If you get a lot of traffic, then the location clearly offers a strong a market for your products and services. Therefore making it a permanent spot is a good idea. However, if business falls flat at the new site, you won’t realize huge losses as you won’t have signed a long-term lease.
  • Generate Business: Strategically placed pop-ups in high-traffic areas can create a lot of exposure for your small business. Even if you’re not trying to market a new line of products or thinking of opening a new location in the spot, putting your small business in front of a large group of people can help you to gain exposure to new markets that weren’t previously familiar with your company.


The Huffington Post notes that many large retailers such as Target, McDonald’s, Apple, Benetton, and more use pop-ups as a way to create a buzz and get consumers talking about their brand.

Preparing a Pop-Up Shop for Business

A pop-up shop is only a temporary site for your small business, but that doesn’t mean getting it up and running only takes a little bit of work. Before embarking on this endeavor, make sure you’re prepared to put some long days in to get it customer-ready.

Measures you’ll need to take include finding a space to rent, obtaining proper insurance documents and permits, making any necessary improvements to the spot so it fits your brand, ensuring you have ample inventory, marketing the new spot, setting up cash registers and point-of-sale software and much more.

It can be helpful to start the groundwork by creating a concept for your pop-up shop, and building the rest of the preparation process around it. It can make conveying a strong branding message to customers easier if your décor, marketing, and products all represent a unified concept.

Whether you’re a small business owner just starting out or if you’re looking to expand an established company, a pop-up shop can be a great way to try out new ideas. Starting out on a small scale can help you to ease into something new wisely, so you can get a feel for customer response before jumping all the way in.

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