How To: Opening a Successful Pop-up Shop

Pop-up shops are no longer just a trend. Pop-ups are part of a growing industry across Canada and around the world. They offer businesses and brands a chance to create a new kind of customer experience while increasing brand awareness and engaging new audiences. Pop-up shops are customer-centred, in-person events that offer businesses the opportunity to take their sales and marketing to another level, regardless of their size. We’ll teach you everything you need to know to open your very own pop-up shop in this quick guide.

What is a Pop-up Shop?

A pop-up shop is a temporary retail space or store that “pops up” in a location for a short period of time, often ranging from a few days to a few weeks. These shops are designed to create a sense of urgency and excitement, as they offer limited-time opportunities for customers to explore and purchase unique products or services. 

Pop-up shops can be found in various locations, such as empty storefronts, event spaces, or even within existing retail stores. They are popular among brands, entrepreneurs, and businesses looking to experiment with new ideas, reach a different audience, or generate buzz and engagement around their offerings. Pop-up shops have become a creative and innovative way to showcase products, test new markets, and create memorable shopping experiences for consumers.

Pop-up Shop Types

There are all kinds of pop-up shops, including:

  • Art & gallery
  • Food & beverage 
  • Holiday & seasonal
  • Fashion & apparel

How to Open a Pop-up Shop

Set Goals

Start by defining clear objectives for your pop-up shop. Determine what you want to achieve, whether it’s increasing brand visibility, testing a new market, boosting sales, or launching a new product. Setting specific goals will help you plan and measure the success of your pop-up shop. Your goals will also help you in the next step, deciding what to sell and how.

Create a Sales Strategy

Develop a sales strategy tailored to your pop-up shop. What are you going to sell? Pop-up shops offer a unique opportunity to engage directly with customers. This could be the perfect place to sell products that require hands-on experience or demonstration. Consider pricing, promotions, and special offers to entice customers. Plan how you will interact with customers and showcase your products or services effectively.

Determine the Costs

Another advantage of pop-up shops is that they’re typically less expensive than a permanent brick-and-mortar location. Make sure you calculate the total costs associated with your pop-up shop. Knowing the budget upfront will help you stay on track and make informed decisions. Include expenses like:

  • Location rental
  • Permits & Insurance
  • Staffing 
  • Decor 
  • Marketing materials
  • Inventory

Fortunately, small businesses can open a pop-up on a budget. Consider doing what you can by yourself, and working with other local businesses that can accommodate your smaller and more specific orders. 

Pick a Location

Next, choose a strategic location that aligns with your target audience and business goals. Consider foot traffic, accessibility, and the overall vibe of the area. A high-visibility location can attract more visitors and potential customers. Pop-up shops can be in a vacant retail space, a stall at a flea market, or in the park. Don’t forget to think about any amenities you may need, like electricity, running water, etc.


You want people to come to your pop-up shop, so make sure you advertise it and spread the word in advance. Promote your pop-up shop through various channels, including social media, email newsletters, local advertising, print, and partnerships with influencers or other businesses. Create buzz around the event to attract a larger crowd and drive more traffic to your shop. There’s no such thing as too much marketing for a pop-up shop as it’s a very limited-time offer.

Consider these tools to help you advertise and promote your pop-up:

  • Business cards
  • QR codes
  • Banners
  • Signs
  • Brochures
  • Postcards
  • Pop-up canopies 

Make Payment Easy

Ensure your pop-up shop offers convenient payment options for customers. Consider using mobile payment systems or accepting various payment methods to make transactions seamless and efficient.

Benefits of a Pop-up Shop

Whether your business is small or large, you may benefit from a pop-up shop in a variety of ways. 

  • Increased customer engagement
  • A cost-effective way to test and launch new products
  • Generate excitement and awareness
  • Connect with customers at a community level
  • Provide an intimate face-to-face experience

Extra Tips for a Successful Pop-up Shop

Make the most of your pop-up by creating evergreen content. Take photos and record videos and share them everywhere. Share your customers’ content. Consider giving away branded promotional items so customers really remember you. Also, take the opportunity to collect customer information, including email addresses for your mailing list. Finally, cut your costs and prep work by partnering with an integrated marketing solutions specialist like Olivan. When you work with a single vendor who can help you every step of the way, you can reduce your workload, stress and costs.

Planning your next pop-up shop?

Contact Olivan for everything from print and promotional items to marketing supplies and product fulfilment.

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