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Is a Pop-Up Shop Right for Your Business?
May 10, 2022
People at healthy local food festive

Pop-up shops—short-term retail spaces open anywhere from a week to a few months—are temporary by definition, but the concept is proving to have surprising longevity. Is a pop-up storefront right for your business?

Here are 11 goals a pop-up shop can help you achieve.

Test a concept

Startup retailers can use a pop-up shop to test their retail concept before committing to a longer-term space. Existing retailers who are considering adding new product lines can test-market the products via a pop-up.

Spark seasonal sales

A pop-up shop can promote additional sales of seasonal merchandise. For instance, a consignment clothing store or theatrical costume shop could open a pop-up shop to sell or rent costumes to consumers for Halloween. A women’s boutique could open a holiday season pop-up shop spotlighting party outfits and offering makeup and hair tips.

Explore expansion

Are you considering opening a second store outside your original area? Use pop-up shops to evaluate various potential locations and find out if there’s enough demand there to support a new store.

Go mobile

Take a cue from food trucks and transform a bus or van into a mobile pop-up store you can take on the road to different communities or events. For example, during summer you could take your pop-up shop up and down the coast, setting up shop at surfing competitions and other beachfront events.

Sell a complex product

Do you sell a product that benefits from explanation and demonstration? Doing a pop-up shop in a high-traffic location allows you to give a “carnival barker”-style sales pitch to show people what you have to offer.

Generate buzz

Shoppers love getting in on a limited-time offer, hard-to-find item, or custom product. Hold a pop-up shop to feature exclusive product lines or a prestige brand you want to promote. You can build buzz not only for these products but also for your retail store.

Bring in extra income

If you want to make more money without committing to a major store expansion, use occasional pop-up shops to boost your sales without a lot of effort.

Expand your eCommerce market

E-commerce retailers can use a pop-up shop as a “showroom” for their products, giving customers an opportunity to see, touch, and test products before they buy. You can also use a pop-up shop to test the value of adding a brick-and-mortar location to your eCommerce business.

Co-market with other businesses

Join forces with another local retailer or a brand that you sell to double the impact of your pop-up shop. A bookstore could do a pop-up inside a local coffeehouse and vice versa. A popular brand could set up a pop-up inside your store to attract more customers.

Support a cause

Hold a pop-up shop to help raise funds for a cause your business supports, with part of the profits from the shop going to the organization. A toy store could do a pop-up featuring high-tech toys and partner with an organization that teaches underprivileged children to code. 

Build your brand

Every retailer can benefit from the buzz a pop-up shop generates. Promote your pop-up to local media and online influencers. Use it to raise awareness of your business among people who might not know about your brick-and-mortar store. Create a unique, exciting experience to build lasting bonds with your existing customers.

What’s your pop-up shop goal?

Whatever your reason for hosting a pop-up shop, the key to success is setting a definite goal. This will help you select the right location, duration, and marketing and advertising campaign for your pop-up store.

You can host a pop-up shop in a variety of spaces, from a temporarily vacant retail space near you to an art gallery, inside another business, or in a space dedicated to the purpose. There are even companies that create pop-up shops out of unused shipping containers.

Shopping centers in many areas of the country are actively courting pop-up shops as a way to inject variety and vitality into their properties. To find potential pop-up spaces, contact your nearest shopping center’s property management company or visit pop-up store websites such as PopupInsider,, or thisopenspace.

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Funded, in part, through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, and/or recommendations expressed herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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