If you run an e-commerce retail store, or sell your wares mostly at markets and trunk shows, you’ve probably kicked around the idea of opening a permanent, brick-and-mortar location at some point.
But if you’re unsure if sinking all your working capital into opening a store is worth the investment, try opening a pop-up shop.
Pop-up shops are temporary retail spaces that can last as little as one day, or up to a few months. Unlike a permanent store, pop-up stores are meant to be short-lived. You can use them as a proving ground for a physical location—as well as for certain products, or your marketing strategies, or anything else you want to test out in a low-stakes setting.
If you’re still unsure about whether to invest your effort and earnings in a pop-up store, check out the following five financial advantages of giving it a shot:
Explore the benefits of a storefront without the commitment
The most obvious reason to try a pop-up store before opening a permanent location is you can see for yourself whether investing in the latter would be worth it.
With a pop-up, you might find that your in-person sales don’t match what you do online. Or you might find that people in this community love your products and will support you if you set up shop full time. But you won’t know until you try!
Take advantage of busy in-store shopping seasons
To many of us, it may feel like everyone shops online for everything these days. But during the holidays, the vast majority of shopping still takes place in-store. (In 2017, 84% of holiday shopping occurred in brick-and-mortar shops.)
Supercharge your holiday sales by opening a pop-up shop, taking advantage of people’s love for window shopping and impulse buys during November and December—or over long holiday weekends throughout the year.
Build word-of-mouth buzz for your online efforts
Everyone agrees that word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing there is. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to measure, both in terms of how much it is happening and how much you can attribute it to any of your marketing efforts.
A successful pop-up shop is a great way to build buzz among people who might not have come across your brand otherwise. See how much new business your pop-up gave you by passing out business cards with a pop-up shop-specific landing page URL on it, or encouraging shoppers to use a special discount code when they shop online in the future.
If you see a lot of movement and new sales from these efforts, you’ll know your pop-up did the trick.
Boost your email marketing efforts
Speaking of email, one of the best forms of digital marketing out there is email marketing—considering that the ROI is nearly unmatched (almost $40 of ROI for every dollar you spend) and that you can measure it effectively.
Use your pop-up store as an avenue for boosting your email subscriber list. Collect email addresses with purchases, ask browsers if they want to sign up to learn about sales, and encourage people to leave their business cards or emails with you in order to enter a raffle and win a prize. Then you can continue engaging them through their email and beyond.
Offload unsold inventory
Unsold inventory can burn a hole in your pocket. It’s costly to keep on warehouse shelves, and it will continue to lose value as it gets older and older.
Your pop-up shop might be the perfect venue for taking that old inventory out for a spin and giving it new life. Present it at a discount and recoup what you can from its sales, rather than resigning yourself to taking a loss on it altogether.
The costs of starting a new brick-and-mortar business are very high. With a pop-up store, you can experiment with new branding, roll out new products, and simply give physical retailing a shot.