Head Office, Johannesburg, South Africa

Prop up your pop-up shop with these quick tips

Prop up your pop-up shop with these quick tips
Prop up your pop up shop with these quick tips

The concept of the pop-up shop is the retail industry’s clever response to an increasingly tight economy. One shop pops up here, disappears and then it pops up somewhere else. It might seem counter-entrepreneurial but it has several appealing business benefits. Mainly, retail businesses avoid high long-term rental costs while moving stock. This enables them to test a new product in a market they’re trying to tap into, increase brand exposure, expand their footprint to a new location without committing to it, or make a seamless and cost-effective transition from online to the high street. So what’s the secret to a successful pop-up shop? It all comes down to effective planning and execution. Here’s all you need to know.

Find your sweet spot

Location is important for any business, but more so for pop-up shops. Because of the limited time you will have in the space, it has to be situated well enough to drive as many sales as possible. Therefore high-density locations such as vacant spaces in shopping malls and complexes are ideal venues for pop-ups. Two years ago, Magnum opened The Magnum Pleasure Store in The Zone @ Rosebank, one of Johannesburg’s most popular retail hotspots. Customers could walk in and design their own Magnum creation. There were countless decadent toppings to choose from. Queues went out the door and around the corner. And, according to TimesLive, Magnum made R40 000 a day.

Craft an experience

The best pop-up shops are the ones that offer something different. It’s the combination of the unusual and the fact that it will only be around for a limited time that piques the interest of consumers. This makes pop-up shops perfect for testing new products that would be too risky to place on a shelf or online. A good example is The Union Bar, a Johannesburg and Cape Town pop up that prides itself on being “here today, gone tomorrow”. The Union Bar has a vast and ever-changing menu of seasonal craft cocktails with curious ingredients such as pickle juice, Aromat and caramelised mushrooms. The cocktails are delicious but the pop-up bar is usually gone before anyone’s secured a booking. Unavailability heightens the anticipation for The Union Bar’s return. In the age of customer experience, leaving a pleasant and unforgettable aftertaste in your customer’s mouth has never been more beneficial.

Create a stir

You obviously have to market your pop-up shop. Get the word out through social media and retail publications. You can even use the time it takes to set it up as a marketing opportunity by wrapping the windows with messaging that creates curiosity and anticipation. A sponsor also lends you credibility and a bigger marketing budget. The Union Bar has Bombay Gin; Magnum didn’t need one. What Magnum did do cleverly was to use social media to their advantage. The customised Magnum creations were so elaborate and beautiful that customers couldn’t help but post them online: they marketed the pop-up shop to their friends for free. All Magnum had to do was to supply the hashtag #MagnumCreations and wait for the crowds to come rolling in.

Prepare for the best

Pop-up shops are almost always successful. Their novel yet temporary nature tricks consumers into walking in and satisfying their curiosity. And you have to be ready for them when they do. You have to ensure that your store is well-staffed and well-stocked to avoid disgruntled customers and a negative social media buzz. Chances are there will be long queues, at least for the first few weeks. A mobile POS (mPOS) device is a great way of busting queues and processing sales away from your till. Not only will you be increasing your revenue, you’ll also impress your customers with how prepared you are. Remember: experiences are everything.

ZipZap, our fast and reliable mPOS solution is exactly what you need to give your pop-up shop the competitive edge. It’s available through three different pricing models and has the lowest transaction rates in South Africa. To find out more download the brochure below.