15 Pop-up Shop Ideas & Getting Started

Cody Cromwell
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Use Recycled Materials for Decor

When creating your indoor or outdoor pop-up store, think outside the box and use recycled materials for decorations. This helps reduce waste and can provide you with the opportunity to create free decorations.

You can look for recycling signs in your local community or grocery store for all sorts of interesting items. Some other items you can use for decorations include old books, plaster casts, national flags, and glass beads.

If you happen to have an old book, open it up and use it as a pop-up store sign, adding some ornamental ribbons, endpapers, and tags as embellishments. Turn that book into a decoration by removing the cover, binding, and pages, and then thread ribbon through the holes for hanging purposes.

If you’re a crafty type, you can create your own plaster cast. You can use lots of different supplies for casting such as plaster of paris, additional plaster materials, and more. This provides an endless supply of decorative molds to use as you construct your pop-up store. Just make sure to carefully remove the excess plaster so it doesn’t crack or chip.

Use a Secondhand Vehicle for Space

When it comes to getting out of debt, one of the best uses for your vehicle is to use it as a pop-up shop. Cheap and easy, this can be a quick money maker for you while you expand your business.

Depending on the size of your vehicle, it can serve as a mobile furniture store. You can use the backseat for display tables, the trunk for storage, the floorboards for browsing items and the grill and side mirrors to create a temporary outdoor display. The possibilities are endless- from coffee shops to clothing boutiques, this is a great way to expand your business.

Set Up a Unique Photobooth

Offer a Photo-booth option for guests- It’s a fabulous way to get photos of guests at an event. Most events organize a photo with a photographer or with a disposable camera. But this isn’t always fun for guests. They are thinking in 15 minutes and want to have something to keep.

You can even offer an option for guests to download the photos while they are still at the event.

Let guests see your photo gallery- You can create a cool gallery covering all the events you attend. Have a display of photos and prints from the different events that you have attended. Have a summer photo booth with a large screen showcasing a slideshow of the memories from the events. It’s a great way to show guests what an event is like. Share pictures on social media- You can also invite guests to take pictures and share them on your social media platforms. Your guest will love it and also the pictures will look amazing. You can also include a Wifi for extra capabilities!

Offer drinks and other options- For every guest you can provide them with a few drink options like water, soda, and coffee. And then have a few snacks for those who get hungry.

Feature Pop Culture in Your Shop

Pop culture is a huge part of our everyday life. It’s what we watch, wear, read, play and attend to. Why not feature your favorite characters, designs or brands in your pop-up store?

This is the type of merchandise that your customers are most interested in, and if you get the right balance, you can run an exciting pop-up shop. For instance, the superhero obsession is really on the rise, and there are tons of ideas for pop-up shops that include some superhero photos, designs, accessories, or products. You can also seek out idols or endorsers who will be happy to host exclusive product launches in your store.

Alternatively, you can take advantage of a certain niche or trendy item. For instance, you might showcase an exclusive label of biscuits and top-end gadgets or accessories with a designer label. You can also consider exclusive pop-up shops in collaboration with entertainment movies or bands.

Another option would be to turn your pop-up shop into a local hotspot by hosting a party with some of your favorite bands in the venue. This way, not only will you get more customers looking for pop-up shop items on the day, but you will also get to show off your spectacular venue.

Create a Unique Website

Explore some of the new options to display your products on a website without actually creating an online store.

You can create a unique website to showcase the products you sell through your pop-up shop without having to waste time on creating a store.

This tip is part of our attempt to make pop-up shop business easier for everyone.

The idea behind a pop-up shop is to generate sales without needing a brick-and-mortar store; hence, selling online allows you to target customers in different locations than your physical store.

As a pop-up shop owner, you have the freedom to be creative in developing a website that perfectly illustrates your goods. A website that has a unique layout will give customers a better impression of the products you sell.

A pop-up shop with a unique website effectively shows off not only your products but also your brand image.

Offer a Delivery Service

To Your Shop
Interior decorators and any other service professionals can benefit greatly by adding a delivery service to their current portfolio of services. Being able to offer customers same day service will help you get more business and will also make your shop more accessible to your customers.

Offering a delivery service to your current shop is something that might take a little extra work upfront but it will benefit you in the long run.

This can be a huge advantage for you if you already have a shop. By having the ability to provide same day service and delivery, your customers will appreciate it when they need something from you. This will help you get your customers to start trusting you as a service provider and will lead to more business.

Another benefit is that you will be able to get your customers to use your services more often. If your shop is on the other side of the city, or you are sending the furniture out on an appointment system, it takes time and effort to get your customers from point A to B. A delivery service in this situation can make your processes more efficient and help you get more customers.

Provide a Complimentary Service

The things you should sell is up to you. But if you don’t know what to sell…don’t worry you don’t have to sell anything you don’t want in your shop.

You can start by offering a complimentary service. Sometimes you will (though you shouldn’t) have all the time in the world and will offer the service in the time between shops. Other times you will have more than one person scheduled at a time.

You don’t have to make a service huge to make it work, and you can always add to it as your business grows. You can try a complimentary service and building it into your business as an extra service.

The most important part is to have fun, be true to yourself, and offer a great service. You shouldn’t be selling products you don’t believe in in order to sell more.

Make Your Pop-up Highly Interactive

You can find all sorts of interesting things people make for themselves as pop-up shops. Textiles, cards, reed work, woodwork, spinning, knitting, herbal tinctures and salves, perfumes and such are all things you can run into. But what’s even better is when you can get something interactive as part of your pop-up.

These are things like toys for kids, magic tricks, improv comedy shows and so on. People are more likely to wait and make a purchase when you have an item or service like this to offer.

This is the classic shop opening pop-up with the shopkeeper juggling fire. It touches on three different pop-up shop types as well…

Handmade Gifts Made by the Shopkeeper

Things the shopkeeper makes such as toys, candles, fabric, clothing etc also for sale.

A set-up like this where items are both wholesale and retail is extremely common in the handmade shop world. It’s how at least a few dozen of our shops operate.

Celebrate an Event Using Your Shop

There is nothing quite like the true feeling of belonging to something. When you open yourself and your heart to another relationship, you are opening yourself up to the feeling of purpose and possibility. And a community is more than just other people. It is a line extended to reach and make impact within the world.

With the growing trend of pop-up stores, I think that communities can do well to embrace the movement. We should capitalize on the ability to create micro-communities in a larger one.

Pop-up shops, however, are a great way to reach out to the customer and make a lasting impression on them. They are also a great way to create an event that allows all kinds of people to come together.

Here are just a few ideas for using your business as a pop-up shop as well as hosting youth groups and other organizations.

Take Care of the Legalities

One of the most important things you need to figure out before kicking off your pop-up shop is hows get the required licenses. In some instances, you may not need any license as your pop-up shop may not be in a commercial area, a mall, or even a public place.

But as a general rule, a pop-up must be within a private residential building. In that case, you will require a permit from the building’s office to allow you to run a pop-up shop in their premises. But this is a big task so it is advisable to find a trustworthy person to assist you.

In addition to getting the required licenses, you also need to do some marketing, especially in locations that are unfamiliar.

Plan ahead for the correct advertising, design, and promotion for your pop-up shop. In addition to this, you also need to prepare an attractive banner for the front of the shop.

Another important aspect that you need to think about when you are planning a pop-up event is the infrastructure around your shop. You need to make sure that you are not inconveniencing the local residents with the additional traffic around your shop.

This means that you need to plan the parking and working hours for your workshop. The pop-up shop may have a set, stipulated time for the participants to come and do their work.

Use Signage to Attract Potential Customers

For each pop-up shop you open, make sure to use signage at the front entrance of the shop to draw attention to the pop-up. If the pop-up is in close proximity to another business, use signage to draw attention to it. When drivers are passing a sign on a street corner, they will pay extra attention if that sign is not connected to a business.

Pop-up shops are a great way for new business owners to test the waters. They can provide an opportunity to get your business name out there and to try new ideas and products without taking a financial hit. However, there are a few things you need to be aware of before you consider opening your own pop-up shop.

Although the costs of opening and maintaining a pop-up shop are minimal compared to running a brick and mortar business, they can still add up quickly. It’s important that you have a business plan that includes operating expenses for which you need to generate enough income to cover. The expenses may include rent, insurance, business taxes, marketing material, utilities, and employee wages.

Offer Free, Branded Reusable Bags

When you go grocery shopping you are usually offered a bag to carry your groceries home. Most bags are plastic and they provide little to no help in eco-friendliness. Nonetheless, why not offer your customers a reusable tote bag?

Check out these 15 reusable tote bags on Amazon. It comes with an outer pocket and the price varies depending on the size. One bag pictured above is the size of the punch-out bag the pizza places give you. Another one, not pictured, is a mini bag, the size of a small book. I am a lover of tiny bags!

Depending on the store’s location, you have two options for tote bags. As an old school sandwich shop, we would literally sell and wash them. I would dunk the bag in a tray and give it a good wash before returning it to the customer. I still prefer this method over having the customer bring their own. I don’t like for customers to leave their bags for me to wash.

If you have a storefront you can try a hot pot wash: Simply fill some water in a pot and place the bags in. This works best if you are selling big bags.

Leverage the Power of Social Media

Social media is a great tool to reach your target audience. Today’s millennial consumers follow you INSTAGRAM, follow you on TWITTER and more. Find out who you need to get in touch with and reach them through Social Media.

Using Social Media Platforms in Your Pop-up Shop

A successful pop-up shop starts with your pop-up design. Create a simple but marketable and easy to read design. Make sure that your design has the right colors and the design fits your personality and brand all in one.

Promote Your Shop on Social Media

You will want to promote your pop up shop through social media. With the help of your social media channels, You are able to target who you need to talk to about your Pop-up Shop. Make sure that you use hashtags on Instagram and Twitter before you promote your pop-up shop. This will help you reach a wider audience.

Keep in mind that social media is very in-depth and there are plenty of ways to use it. Find extra ways to use social media to promote your pop-up shop.

Collaborate With Businesses & Offer Sample Products

Pop-up shops (or temporary donut or pop-up stores, in industry parlance) are temporary stores, usually starting for a few weeks or months. Pop-up shops are popular in the UK and Europe, but despite their rise in popularity, they’re still not especially common in the US. As this article in the New York Times details, some companies sell their product’s in pop-up stores, and then continue to sell online or at traditional retail locations. Others stop collecting orders after a few weeks of sales, then rerelease their products with a new pop-up shop.

It’s a novel and creative approach to selling product, and it’s more likely to bring in people who aren’t yet familiar with your brand. People are used to purchasing physical products in retail stores, so selling in a pop-up shop is a different way to get across your message about your product. They’re usually located in diverse areas of the city (though some are in well-traveled areas like Times Square or Foley’s Alley).

Host Product or Service Demos

One of the easiest things you can do to grow your business is host a product demo or service demonstration. Though you don’t need a big business or a lot of experience to do it, having a safe and reliable method in place will help you realize your full potential in marketing and selling products or services.

A product demonstration can be a great way to attract customers. However, you need to make sure you are ready and willing to host it. Some dangers to watch out for when hosting a product demonstration include your health, the safety of the public, your reputation, and your personal safety. But if you are careful, things will run smoothly.

While there is no right or wrong way to run a product demo, there are several things you should do before you start. For instance, you need to get a risk assessment to make sure the demo is being done safely and appropriately. You also need to make sure the fee is covered, and you have enough product on hand.

Here are some of the things you need to think about before you start hosting a product demonstration.

Bottom Line

There are SOME Places Where You Can Legally Sell Your DIY "Pop-up" Stores.. BUT!

Please check your local Bylaws & Business Licensing rules first… I got my Local Country Store & Dance Hall to allow me to sell POP-ups as long as I offset certain Business Licenses from the cost of my POP-ups… these went flying off the shelves & We now sell my POP-up products in many other stores all over the Country & a reminder that I truly have only one place to sell my product!

If you are not sure if you can start a pop-up only store PLEASE contact a Business Attorney… many of them will help you show you the Slice of the Pie you can take for your Pop-up Store!!

Some Popular Ideas for Pop-ups Are:

"DIY or Do-It-Yourself Pop-up Stores" These can be really great because again they really give you a close grasp on your product… if it is sold somewhere and it is sold successfully!

You can get a great idea of what is selling in your State and what is NOT!!! This helps you determine the best way to manufacture your product… or if you already have a manufacturer… what they can do to really up-sell your POP-up Store!