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10+ Pop-Up Shop Ideas, Examples & Step-by-Step Guide [2024]

GemPages Team
12 minutes read
10+ Pop-Up Shop Ideas, Examples & Step-by-Step Guide [2024]

When selling online, one thing is almost always missing — face-to-face interaction with your customers.

From a customer’s standpoint, they miss the physical shopping experience. While online shopping has its benefits and convenience, the experience of shopping at a physical retail shop has its own delight.

Setting up a pop-up shop can help you bring these missing elements into your eCommerce business and customer experience. However, there are several things you must consider before and during your pop-up shop event to make sure it’s worth your investment.

In this blog post, we’ll share the basics of pop-up shops, the best pop-up shop ideas, examples, and the step-by-step guide on setting up your pop-up shop.

What is a Pop-Up Shop?

A pop-up shop is a temporary setup of a retail shop at a physical location to sell products in person. This setup allows your customers to directly interact with your brand and get a feel of your products physically.

The transactions could be connected with the eCommerce platform in the backend, e.g., using Shopify POS (Point of Sale).

Depending on your budget — you can set up a pop-up shop just like a brick-and-mortar store by renting a commercial space for a few days or months OR just create a temporary setup at an open place or physical marketplace where multiple sellers gather to sell their products.

Why Set Up a Pop-Up Shop?

According to CapitalOne Sharing, pop-up shop s generate annual revenue of nearly $80 billion — and the market is expected to go beyond $95 billion by 2025.

Here are some of the key benefits of setting up a pop-up shop:

  • Build a personal connection with customers

As an online business owner, you get a great opportunity to meet your  customers in person, get to know them better, and work toward building a great brand with loyal customers.

  • Real-time feedback from customers

It’s altogether a different experience when you can meet your customers in person and get their feedback on a real-time basis. This feedback could be immensely helpful to improve your products as well as your brand.

  • Build your brand’s credibility

When you’re selling in person to your customers, they could see who’s actually behind the brand — and it’s going to help enhance the trustworthiness of your brand. 

  • Create content for marketing

Create behind-the-scenes of your pop-up shop event and share it on your website. Also, you can create user-generated content with the help and consent of your customers.

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Is Setting Up Pop-Up Shop Right for You?

Before you work on setting up your pop-up shop, you must evaluate if it’s the right business strategy or decision for you. Because let’s be real — it’s not for every business or brand.

You would not want to invest huge money in something that can’t generate a tangible or intangible return on investment. So, consider setting up a pop-up shop if any of the following aspects are in your favor:

  • You're already an established brand.
  • You have a good enough customer base or followers to be confident to bring traffic to your physical store.
  • You have a sufficient budget to manage all resources.
  • You're looking to start a brick-and-mortar retail store but want to test things first.

Best Pop-Up Shop Ideas

Pop-up shops are becoming quite a common practice in eCommerce brands. To build the interest of your target customers, you should come up with interesting pop-up event ideas. 

Here’s a list of the best pop-up shop ideas we’ve curated to inspire you:

1. Create a Unique Theme

If your budget allows, you can design a pop-up shop with a special and creative theme that aligns with your brand. For example, if you’re selling eco-friendly products, you can create a theme representing beautiful nature and greenery.

You can even design the store with your brand’s unique or funky elements. Here’s a great example shared by Hypebeast where a clothing and apparel brand — RIPNDIP — had designed its pop-up shop with its mascot — Lord Nermal.

Visuals of RIPNDIP’s pop-up shop

2. Give an Exclusive Sneak Peek

If you’re launching a new product or an entire product category, you can create a buzz by offering an exclusive sneak peek at your pop-up shop.

By doing this, you can also gather valuable feedback from your customers and identify any areas of improvement in product design, pricing, or any other aspects.

3. Offer Customization at the Shop

Customers love customized products that fit their specific requirements or are designed with the style and aesthetics of their preference.

If your product allows/requires customization, you can set up a pop-up shop where customers can get customized products in real time. 

Here’s another example shared by Hypebeast showcasing the visuals of Nike’s pop-up shop.  The shop was created to offer made-to-order customized products to the customers.

Visuals of the Nike’s pop-up shop

4. Organize an Art Event with a Pop-Up Shop

This could be a great idea if your target customers are art lovers.

You can use the art event as the key attraction to your event and use it in your marketing as well. You can target art lovers when sharing promotional events on social media or running paid ads.

5. Use the Event for a Good Cause or Charity

You can incorporate a noble cause with your pop-up shop campaign. For example, you can raise awareness for a good cause or offer donations for charity. Take initiative that can help society in some manner.

BizBash shared this great story of the brand — Kotex — that offers feminine hygiene products and advice on menstruation. The brand launched a pop-up shop for its campaign "The Period Projects" with a mission of removing the stigma around feminine hygiene. 

The Period Shop by Kotex

The visitors had a fun experience of shopping custom merchandise and products from “U by Kotex”. Also, the brand organized musical events with DJs and musicians, and offered ice cream and chocolate treats to visitors.

Pop-up shop with chill lounge and ice cream stall

6. Organize a Fun and Engaging Contest

To create great excitement and increase the participation of potential customers, you could run a contest at your pop-up shop.

Alternatively, you can organize a virtual or social media contest first and then invite the audience to your event.

Pro tip: Collect customers’ contact details (email or phone number) for participating in the contest, with their consent for email/SMS marketing. OR you can request for the same at your pop-up shop as well. This way, you could increase your sales even after the event, through email marketing.

7. Offer Live Product Demos

If your product is complex or something that customers would love to see in action before making the purchase, you can do so through your pop-up shop. Help customers understand your product better through personal demos and digital displays.

Also, you can record the in-person demos and use them as video content on your website or social media.

8. Offer a Free Sample (with Paid Products)

In a way, this is a “buy one, get one” offer, but still different. Here, you’re offering customers a free sample to try it first — and then, they can purchase more products from your shop.

Especially if you’re selling products like food, beauty products, and beverages; this could be a great idea to let the customer try and buy.

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Pop-Up Shops for Small Businesses

Here are some more ideas that are specifically suitable for small businesses:

9. Go to a Local Marketplace Event

Check if you have a local event where sellers/vendors gather and set up retail shops for local customers. 

If you’re looking for some inspiration as a small business owner, here’s an example of how Trey Teixeira, the owner of a small clothing brand — Sixshooter — set up a pop-up shop at a marketplace along with other vendors.

Sixshooter’s pop-up shop

He also shared his entire experience on his YouTube channel.

YouTube video on Sixshooter’s pop-up shop

10. Partner with Other Brands

If starting a pop-up shop alone sounds scary to you, partnering with another brand can make you feel more confident. Partnering with another brand that sells complementary products could be a great idea.

Also, you can encourage other brands to partner with you by setting up a dedicated page for the same. Frankie's on the Park is a great example.

A page promoting pop-up shop partnership

11. Collaborate with an Influencer

If you don’t have a decent social media following, it might sound risky to go out and set up a pop-up shop. You might think — what if people don’t show up?

But, in that case, you may collaborate with a local influencer who can help you bring his followers to your pop-up shop. Make sure to perform research about the influencers to ensure their followers are aligned with your brand.

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How to Have a Successful Pop-Up Shop — Setup with Shopify POS

Step #1 Plan Your Budget, Goals & Strategy

First things first, you need to take care of the fundamentals for implementing an event as big as a pop-up shop. As yourself these questions:

  • For how many days do you want to keep it open?
  • How much can you spend on the whole event?
  • What goals do you wish to accomplish through this event?
  • What’s going to be your key strategy?

Your strategy may vary significantly depending on your goals. For example, if you’re a relatively new brand, your primary goal might just be to raise brand awareness. In that case, you can decide on a strategy that helps spread the word about your brand — e.g., offer free samples or branded merch.

What all things you need to consider in your budget:

  • Property rent (+ Deposit)
  • Property maintenance cost (e.g., store cleaner’s salary)
  • Utility expenses
  • Staff cost (if applicable)
  • Furniture for store décor and design
  • Marketing cost
  • Logistics cost
  • Legal expenses for lease contract and insurance (if applicable)
  • Payment processing device 
    • E.g., Tap and chip card reader or Shopify POS terminal

You might ask — how much does it cost to set up a pop-up shop?

The overall cost may vary depending on various factors such as the number of days, location, staff requirements, etc. However, let us share some of the recent statistics shared by CapitalOne Shopping:

  • 44% of pop-up shops were created with less than $5,000 investment.
  • 17% of pop-up shops required a $5,000 to $10,000 investment.
  • 20% of brands spent $10,000 to $25,000.
  • 19% of pop-up shops went above the $25,000 mark.

A bar graph displaying the costs of pop-up shops

Step #2 Choose the Right Location

Choosing the right location is the most important part of your overall strategy.

You can take any of the following approaches to finalize the location:

  • Research and find a place where your target customers hang out.
  • Ask your customers directly about the best place to meet them.
  • Inquire with property owners about the space suitable to your business.

Shortlist certain places and then evaluate them further. Make sure to check if there are any direct competitors in the area.

Check the monthly rent and costs associated with it to ensure it fits into your budget. Review the lease agreement carefully and check your liability and insurance requirements.

You may find spaces available for pop-up shops in the US through online platforms like Peerspace.

Homepage of Peerspace

Another platform you could use is Storefront.

Homepage of Storefront

Pro tip: If you’re running short on budget but still looking to set up your pop-up shop, you can partner with a brick-and-mortar brand and use their space. Make sure it has a similar target audience so that you both can mutually benefit from the partnership.

Step #3 Create Pricing and Discount Strategy

Decide on your pricing strategy keeping in mind the discounts you’re planning to offer. While you want to ensure the event is profitable, you also need to entice customers with attractive offers.

You can even come up with creative ideas to keep a healthy profit margin. For example, offering a small branded gift item instead of giving away a heavy discount.

Step #4 Prepare for Shop Design & Decoration

Just like you design your eCommerce store with lots of love for your brand, your pop-up store must also be designed and decorated with your branding.

Here are some important aspects you should consider:

  • The entire setup needs to look on-brand.
  • Design some brand merch if you can.
  • Put a QR code for your social media and encourage visitors to follow your brand.
  • Use signage, digital posters, etc.
  • Get some affordable furniture items.
    • For example, if you’re a clothing brand, you should keep a mirror.

Pro tip: When designing your store, consider human psychology factors that impact customer behavior. For example, retail stores and shopping malls often place shiny items in the front row for impulse buying.

Step #5 Manage Payment Options

Most people don’t often carry cash these days. So, you need to make sure you have digital payment options as well.

If you’re on Shopify, you already know that you’ve got all the commerce solutions, right? With Shopify POS (Point of Sale), you can easily collect payments at your pop-up shop.

Learn more: Bringing Everything Together with Shopify POS Go

Step #6 Start Marketing for Your Pop-Up Shop Event

You need to start marketing for your event at least 2-3 weeks in advance.

Here are some of the ideas to create buzz around the event:

  • Social media:

Announce the dates on social media and start posting about the event in advance.

  • Giveaway:

Prepare a giveaway contest to attract people to the event. Organize the distribution of the giveaway prizes at the location of your pop-up shop.

  • Influencer marketing:

Collaborate with influencer(s) to bring more traffic to your pop-up shop.

  • Email marketing:

Share the event details with your email subscribers.

  • Paid ads:

Run paid ads on platforms like Facebook, Google, Instagram, and TikTok.

  • Offer exclusive discounts:

Promote your exclusive discount offer in all of your promotional campaigns. You can even create referral discounts for your existing customers who bring their friends to the shop.

Challenges in Setting Up a Pop-Up Shop

  • Requires a big investment

Running a pop-up shop campaign could be costly. If you’re a small-budget online store, it may not be feasible to invest a huge capital. That said, you can find ways to build a cost-effective setup.

  • Limited time to sell

Since it’s literally a physical store, your time is likely to be limited to certain hours. You may not be able to run it 24/7 like your online store — unless you have a great budget and sufficient resources (and permission, of course).

  • Inventory & logistic management

Managing your inventory and logistics could be challenging. You may not have an exact idea as to how much stock is needed to meet the customer demand. Also, it could be time-consuming to move things from your warehouse to the shop.

  • Higher risk factor

You may spend a lot of money on the whole campaign; however, there’s a risk that you may not be able to sell enough products to cover all the costs. 

Final Thoughts on Pop-Up Shops

In the eCommerce world, brands often need to experiment with several things. Setting up a pop-up shop could be one of your experiments. 

But again, consider all the factors that we shared in this article before planning to launch your pop-up shop. All in all, you need to ensure you get the desired return on investment.

Once you’ve finalized to launch your pop-up shop, make sure to put great effort into marketing your event, well before launching it.

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FAQs about Pop-Up Shops

Can you make money from pop-up shops?
Yes, you can — as long as you’re taking care of the important factors such as researching your target customers, finding the right location, and marketing your pop-up event in advance.
What is the concept of a pop-up shop?
A pop-up shop is a similar concept to any brick-and-mortar or small retail shop where customers can buy products in person; however, the key difference is that a pop-up shop is created for a short period like a few days or months.
How do I market my pop-up shop?
There are multiple ways to market your pop-up shop including social media marketing, email marketing, collaboration with influencers, and so on.
How long should a pop-up store last?
It totally depends on your budget and how things go once you start the pop-up shop. You can set up a pop-up shop for a week or even 2-3 months.

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