Starting a pop-up shop in a modern approach

Fancy a pop at a pop-up shop? If you’ve always wanted to join the ranks of this ‘nation of shopkeepers’ but aren’t sure if opening up a retail business is the right move for you, then a new phenomenon in high street selling could be the answer.

Pop-up shops are short-term retail outlets – sometimes only existing for a weekend or a few days. With many high streets struggling to fill shop space, pop-up shops are becoming more common as landlords and letting agents become more flexible about very short-term lets for retailers, just to ensure that the shop space isn’t simply sitting empty for months on end. If you’ve got a small business and you want to take advantage of a seasonal trade opportunity, or just have a small amount of stock that you want to sell as quickly as possible then a pop-up shop is an ideal opportunity to get your wares out there. So how do you start your pop-up shop?

#1 – Find your site: A stroll down any high street will reveal a host of under-used or vacant retail space. But getting access to these sites can be tricky, so the best thing to do initially is to contact your local Chamber of Commerce and doing a bit of networking with local business clubs. As with many things in life it’s who you know, not what you know that counts, and getting to know your local business owners can pay big dividends further down the line with offers of much cheaper or even free short-term lets. Alternatively, contact your local shopping centre manager if you notice some retail space going begging at the local ‘mall’!

#2 – Have a good idea! Opening a pop-up shop is great, but you’ll need a USP if you are going to persuade customers to pop in! As with any other retail opportunity, approach it as a proper business and not just a whim and you’ll have a far more successful venture.

#3 – Don’t forget the red tape – Your pop-up shop may only last a few days, but it is still a business and as such subject to the same taxation, legislative and legal requirements as every other type of business. Make sure you register your business so that you don’t face a big tax bill or even an investigation further down the line, and consider taking out public liability insurance to give yourself some added legal protection.

#4 – Focus on the footfall – You’ve got one shot to make this work, so whereas other long-term retailers have plenty of time to tweak their displays to maximize footfall through the door, a pop-up shop needs to get it right first time. Make sure your goods are laid out to maximum effect to encourage customers to come into your shop, and once they’re in there use every marketing tool in your arsenal to keep them there and keep them buying!

#5 – Will that be cash or card, madam? – How are your customers going to pay? If you only take cash payments then you could be losing out on a massive amount of custom. So if you’re planning to make a career out of setting up and running pop-up shops, invest in a mobile card processing system such as a pdq machine. Suppliers such as Intuit Pay’s mobile payments system are perfect for pop-up shops, as they allow customers to pay instantly by card, maximizing your potential sales even if your shop is only there for one day!

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