Pop up shops are popping up everywhere, from the streets of the capital to back waters of hill and sale. Sounds almost over-dramatic but the pop up shop revolution has shown no sign of slowing down, stopping or disappearing.
Its sticking power has given rise to much musing about the state of the economy, the high street and so on, as well as discussions about how we shop, where we shop and how city and town centres across the UK will look like in the future.
Flick on the TV and you will come across various shows that (un)helpfully tell or show us where, as business owners, we are going wrong; from chipped paint in your hotel bedrooms to not organising your goods in the shop window in the right way is affecting how your business is doing. Get the basics right, we are told, and everything else will follow.
But then, there are threats and opportunities external to our business that can make and break it, it seems, almost simultaneously. The Internet is a many faced beast; friend and foe, it is the life blood of many a business and yet, some say, it has been a drain on the high street, changing how it will look, forever.
Add to this the tumble and turns of the economy and you have a recipe for both disaster and growth, winners and losers.
Then along came pop up shops
The idea that the centre of a city or town is no longer just for shopping, but recreation and socialising too, is slowly catching on but despite consumers searching and finding bargains online, their dismay at seeing row upon row of empty shops is palpable. And so, someone, somewhere came up with the idea of renting a shop on a short term basis and shift a load of stock.
Bingo! A new business model was born and the buying public quite enjoyed the experience. It caught on and thus, several years later, pop up shops are still popping up all over the place.
The concept is simple… it is about renting a space for the short term, to offers your goods and services to a grateful public.
But, its simplicity is deceptive. Although you can think that this is an easy ride, without marketing and an experience, you are missing the point.
And so, if you are shimmying on the precipice of taking the pop up shop plunge with your online business, you will want to know what this ‘clicks and mortar’ approach could bring your business, if successful…
- Your brand – A New Audience
An on street/shopping mall/high street presence will allow you to effectively extend your audience from the offline world, to the ‘real’ world too. Brand awareness is something you do need to be taking seriously, expanding your brand psyche in the minds of your buying public.
- Boost sales (possibly)
Nothing is guaranteed, and unless you do take on the advertising and marketing challenges of a pop up shop, then you may be more than disappointed that you did not have the bumper sales you thought you would. However, with advertising and marketing, you can increase sales.
Call it what you will, but when there is a hint of trendiness, buzz or hype about you, your products and services then business can become a whole lot easier. Pop up shops, by their temporary nature, can be the spring board to this buzz. Tell people you really are only there for a short period of time and, as the old saying goes, when it is gone – and you are gone – so are the deals.
- Interaction and a PR vehicle
However, pop up shops for the online business is a little more than clearing space in the warehouse. It is an opportunity to connect and interact with your customers but, you can still get them to talk about you online. Tap in to your social media presence – run a competition! Anything! – that sparks interested online. The pop up shop can be a powerful, freewheeling PR vehicle.
- Love your customer!
As if interacting with them isn’t enough, possibly schmoozing with your customer is a great way to find out more about your customer base. What do they like or not like? What causes them hassle? What would they like that is different? How can you solve this problem? In essence, this is how a pop up shop differs from a market stall – it is all about using every single ounce of energy you have to link and connect with your customer.
- More from your budget
Every business has a budget. No business, even the very biggest corporations, have a bottomless pit of cash to throw at every little thing thus, getting more for your pound is somewhat essential. Pop up shops can be a great kick start to a marketing campaign, and with decreased rents and other overheads, it is worth considering…
In fact, low rent is something that most businesses find attractive about the pop up shop concept. The economic collapse and recession from 2008 drove many famous names to the wall, and thus, shops on the high street were left sad, bedraggled and empty. Every landlord would rather have 3 months of rent – even if it is reduced – than 3 months of no rent.
- A look to the future
No business can stand still. Repositioning and rebranding is something that many businesses, from web designers to fashion designers, are constantly looking to do as they grow and evolve. Rather than just using pop up shops for the same old, same old ‘shift surplus stock’, why not tap into this lucrative market for product development or a pre-launch?
- The ‘shopping season’
If your product or service has its own season – gifts for Christmas, fashion for summer etc. – then a pop up shop could be a great way of shifting last year’s stock, introducing this years’ and just generally creating a hub-bub around your product and brand.