What makes pop-up shops so outrageously popular?
Well, for one thing, there’s FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out). Pop-up consumers are not just shoppers. They like to feel a part of the action, to be among the “exclusive” crowd if possible. They want to be invited to the party!
The big brands such as Nike, Louis Vuitton and Gucci have caught on. They have to continually work at being considered “fresh,” and the trendy, cutting-edge pop-up movement provides that cachet. Online retailers such as Amazon, Ebay and Etsy have discovered that relying on e-commerce alone is not enough — people want to see, touch, and try out what they buy. According to the Wall Street Journal, about a third of all Internet purchases are returned by shoppers. Through temporary pop-ups, even big brands can offer exclusivity and a shopping “experience” to those who are “in the know.”
Pop-ups are also at the forefront of the “shop local” movement that has taken root across the country. One very popular type of pop-up is the seasonal Farmers Market. Farmers Markets give local farmers, growers and merchants the outlet they need to sell their products to the public and enable customers to know where the products they buy were produced.
Another example of pop-ups is Open Artists Studios. Open artist studios provide a perfect setting and a rare opportunity for emerging artists to exhibit — and hopefully sell — their works of art. And meeting the actual artists in their studios adds so much to the experience!
Of course, there is the “classic” pop-up in the purest sense, whereby a merchant opens up a “satellite” store in the form of a pop-up to test out new markets, or perhaps to launch a new line.
But actually, virtually anyone can launch a pop-up and many people are electing to do just that. Talented individuals have taken up hobbies at which they have become quite prolific. Crafters, jewelry makers, apparel and accessories designers, home decor woodworkers… the list goes on and on. Even if what they have developed is not a product line, but rather, an expertise, they have something to offer to the public via a pop-up shop, class, or even a flea market. It is a way to turn an avocation or a collection into some meaningful income.
As for a venue, there are many options. The landlord of an empty storefront will often eagerly play host to a pop-up shop. You may find that an existing store in operation would love to set aside space for a small pop-up within the store as a means to attract more customers. An existing public market, an unusual public location like a transit stop or a park (make sure that your town allows it), or even your own driveway or backyard can serve the purpose. Be creative and sensible — the location of your pop-up can be instrumental toward its ultimate success.
Another key to a pop-up shop’s success, besides the appeal of the goods being offered, is marketing. A pop-up host doesn’t have a big advertising budget, prior pedestrian traffic, or a marketing team to attract shoppers. Instead, word-of-mouth promotion is essential, with social media marketing being the natural way to reach out to a desired audience.
PopUp Republic (www.popuprepublic.com) is the only social media company in the United States that focuses on the marketing needs of the pop-up industry. Its website provides prominent exposure to an audience of pop-up aficionados via a self-directed, easy-to-navigate pop-up directory (the website experiences over one million page views a year!) and provides strategic Twitter support to make sure word gets out to the right consumers (www.twitter.com/popuprepublic). PopUp Republic has several marketing packages to choose from, ranging from free to very modestly-priced plans. If you are contemplating hosting a pop-up shop of your own, you should really check it out.
For more pop-up ideas, visit PopUp Republic’s Pinterest page (www.pinterest.com/popuprepublic), a curated collection of over 1,700 pop-up-related photos and videos. If you have any questions on opening up a pop-up shop, you are invited to contact PopUp Republic’s staff of experts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And make sure to stay tuned to Patch.com for the next installment of PopUpdates!