Profiting from a Pop-Up

Profitable Pop UpsIf you are considering a holiday pop-up for 2014 and you’ve never done one before, read on. For those of us in public relations, a pop-up store is one of the best backdrops for promotion and news making events and can add fresh energy to a brand’s image, like Fendi’s shop in Soho which opened July 5th. It’s also a great way for you to communicate your brand values and mission. I had the opportunity to participate in a client’s meeting last week with the producers of the Holiday Shops at Bryant Park. These particular holiday shops surround a free ice skating rink, open to the public seven days a week behind the New York Public Library. They include more than 125 boutique-like shops offering gift ideas from apparel to jewelry, decorative goods, local foods, and much more. This year the producers of the shops estimate foot traffic at 10,000 a day and have extended the selling season from October 21 through January 3 2015 in order to give vendors more “ramp up” time (typically one week to ten days to gain momentum) and provide a weather hedge. Yes, these stores are outdoors. This year, like last, they are sponsored in part by Bank of America. There are plenty of holiday pop-ups in New York and around the US. Some are stand alone and others holiday bazaars. New York Magazine and typically add them to a post as the season gears up. A Profitable Pop-Up We know that pop-ups can be great for branding, with so many new eyeballs on your signage and products, but can they be profitable as well? The answer is yes, they absolutely can, as we have learned that the average vendor may gross up to a half a million in sales in an eleven week season at Bryant Park, which should cover staffing and start-up costs, if you watch the bottom line. It’s all about preparing for the maximum amount of sales possible. Consider the following check list to prepare for success.

  • Keep display costs and overhead expenses as low as possible. Forget shipping that heavy trade show both that will have to be retrofitted to your temporary store. Head to Ikea for light weight temporary shelving and battery operated lighting.
  • Be careful of the company you keep. Some pop-ups may be a bit too foodie or “crafty” for your brand. When shopping around, ask for a list of past and present vendors.
  • Design a stylish shop with eye-candy like displays and gift items at all price points – starting with stocking stuffers (trinkets under $10.00) and work your way up to gifts for her, him, teachers, tutors, aunts and cousins for up to $200 a box/basket.
  • Hire and train the right staff to represent your brand well. Go as far as creating an operational manual with pre-opening role-playing sessions for meeting and speaking to customers and closing a sale. Some vendors have actually not been asked back due to “operational issues” like the store not opening on time or looking presentable enough.
  • Drive customers to your store with pre-promotion for editorial coverage, calendar listings as well as social media posts and email campaigns. Canvas subway and bus stop stations with marketing cards and special offers to those that visit your pop-up shop.
  • Host events, especially on quieter days like Monday – Wednesday. Make them interactive and offer special sample giveaways for those who shop with a friend. Check out Google’s Winter Wonderlab and Snow Globe from 2013, which had six locations across the US.

Pop-up shops/temporary retail don’t have to be holiday driven. They are also a great way to test brick and mortar stores and engage with your customer. Looking for pop-up space? Check out and Openhouse which has a culinary concept kitchen and flexible spaces and rates at their Mulberry location. Need help planning the perfect pop-up? Give us a call or drop us a line at

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