Over the last few years there’s been a huge rise in the number of start-ups and businesses creating pop-up experiences for their customers as a tool for testing the market and drumming up business in a unique way. Just look at BoxPark in Shoreditch – an ongoing popup space for new businesses in London.
If you’re not familiar with what pop-up marketing is, the Cambridge Business Dictionary describes it as:
“A store that opens suddenly and usually exists for a short amount of time. Or; A temporary pop-up store often appears when retailers take advantage of empty retail space.”
Whilst this trend is taking off and more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon, we wanted to explore the pros and cons of pop-up marketing, so you can decide whether it’s something you want to invest in for your business or not.
1. Cheap or free rent
Pop up spaces are usually free or very cheap to rent over other shop rates – great if you’ve a small budget.
2. It’s great PR for your business
Pop Ups still have a novel feel, especially in towns and cities that haven’t had an influx of pop ups. This can help generate press coverage in the local paper, magazines, radio and on blogs.
3. It can help create a buzz and pull people into your shop
People will come just to experience the novelty of the pop up and that can introduce them to your business and products for a long term relationship.
4. You can interact with your customers 1-2-1
Many online only stores lose the experience of talking to their customers 1-2-1, even with the use of social media. Creating a ‘real’ space for you to interact and engage your customers will not only feel good for them, but help you understand your customers better and even test new ideas and products and get real-time feedback.
5. Pop-ups can increase sales and help you offload old stock
This short burst of activity can boost sales temporarily and help shift stock you’ve been holding onto for too long.
1. Finding space is hard
Dan Thompson, founder of the Empty Shops Network and author of Pop Up Business for Dummies is a huge advocate for this trend in the UK. However he says that “finding a space is the trickiest part”. Many landlords and estate agents are suspicious of popups and won’t even consider it. Finding space will take time.
2. Marketing in good time
You need to create buzz and excitement before you open, as you won’t be there long. This can be hard work and will add to your budget.
3. Customer service can slip
Your customers may feel they can’t return an item or have prolonged customer service once the pop up is over – this could put them off buying from you.
4. Limited stock/choice for customers
Popups are generally small spaces with limited choice, which might not show off your business in its best light, and may be frustrating for your popup customers.
5. You can’t keep the pop up going
You may not be able to continue the pop up even if you like the location and it’s a great success. Some of the success may also be down to it being temporary – so you’ll need to plan how to prolong the buzz and interest.
6. Health, Safety and Insurance
Finding suitable shop contents insurance can be difficult and empty shops and spaces can have health and safety hazards that you may not be prepared for.