We were recently invited by The Guardian to be a panel expert in an online discussion about pop up shops.
With pop up business now worth £2.1bn to the UK economy, pop up retail and pop up events are becoming increasingly more popular as a way of new and small businesses to test new products and markets.
Here’s a summary of the questions sent in by Guardian readers and our answers and top tips on setting up a pop up shop or pop up shop event.
What are the main advantages and difficulties of setting up a pop up shop?
One of the main difficulties of setting up a pop up shop is finding the right location. We would suggest doing as much research as you can into footfall and demographics. One of the main advantages about pop ups is you can afford a certain degree of trial and error!
It’s often said that the pop-up market is quite overcrowded, especially in London. Do you have any advice for how you can stand out from the crowd, whether that’s food, fashion, health care or music?
Get creative! We encourage all of the retailers that take part in our pop up event, Love Fashion: Manchester, to be as creative as possible with their stand space. A few of our designers have tied in with small independent food brands to offer nice little touches like free cupcakes or branded sweets.
When you’re opening a pop-up shop what are the considerations on location? Should you go for the most popular areas, or try to establish your pop-up somewhere with fewer competitors?
Location is absolutely key, especially for fashion pop ups. We’ve tested a few very high footfall areas and we’ve been surprised by the results. Just because an area has high footfall doesn’t mean it’s the right footfall for your product so we would suggest researching your target audience thoroughly.
How can you attract customers if you are in a pop-up shop?
We focus on using PR and social media for Love Fashion: Manchester. We’re also always really visible in city centre locations, so we get a certain amount of passing footfall.
Pop ups don’t usually have massive budgets to spend on marketing but social media is free, apart from your time of course, and, if done well, is the best way to engage your audience and promote your shop.
What are your top PR tips for a start-up, pop up business?
Find your USP, then shout about it to the right people! Also keep an eye out for existing opportunities and events you can get involved with.
We got a lot of press coverage for the first Love Fashion: Manchester because it was a unique concept in Manchester, but also because we launched it as part of Vogue Fashion’s Night Out. We’d had the idea for a while but waited until the perfect opportunity came along before launching the event to press.
A great way to get bloggers and journalists to talk about your product/event is by offering them exclusive and VIP access. So for example if one of our designers has recently launched a new collection, we would offer press and fashion bloggers the opportunity to interview the designer and review the collection first.
You can also target journalists and bloggers on Twitter and engage them in conversation about what you’re doing, but only if it’s relevant and interesting, otherwise you run the risk of annoying them.
Do you have any general advice for business owners on building your brand when you have a pop-up/mobile business?
Firstly you need to decide on your brand values and devise your marketing strategy around them. If you’re all about excellent customer service, make sure every aspect of your business is in line with that.
Secondly, you need to communicate those values and one of the easiest ways to do that and build brand perception is with social media. You can find posts on our top tips on using Pinterest, Instagram and other content on our blog page. We’ve helped some of our clients increase their social media engagement by over 200%, just by developing a consistent content strategy with a strong tone of voice.
Can you summarise your main advice from the discussion?
Location is key! In simple terms, find the right location, shout about it to the right audience and in the right way. That’s it