How to Market Your Pop-Up Shop: The Essentials

Imagine this pop-up shop scenario:

You’ve already conquered the digital space. You have a well-run and highly successful online store. You’ve got a great product and happy customers.  Now this question crosses your mind – What now?

The next step could be opening up a physical store. After all, about 95% of purchases are still completed offline, and offering your product in a physical setting could be a change to reach a new audience. While new sales opportunities like this are always exciting, they don’t come without risks. Rent costs, supplying the inventory, and the idea of competing with major retailers can all be pretty intimidating to say the least. Luckily, it’s ok to have a fear of commitment…

What Are Pop-Up Shops?


Pop-up shops are temporary store-fronts that companies set up to generate buzz and sales. A few examples of pop-up shop spaces include:

  • “Shops within shops”, or taking over sections of larger stores that have similar audiences
  • Art galleris
  • Mall kiosks
  • Festivals, fairs, and concerts
  • Farmers markets
  • Vacant street level retail space (you may be able to get a short term lease)

Pop-up shops allow you to see how offline sales perform for your audience. With offline sales data in your pocket, you can go into long term strategies regarding brick and mortars with more ease.

How to Select the Kind of Pop-Up Shop You Will Do

How you select your pop-up shop location boils down to three things: your goals, the location, and the space’s features.

Your goals – What are you trying to do with this little experiment?

  • Are you launching a brand?
  • Are you announcing a new product?
  • Are you simply testing a new sales channel with your existing product?
  • Are you offering a sample sale?

Once you define exactly what you are doing with this physical retail space, then you can narrow down what the idea space would look like from there.

Location – The next thing to consider is location. Think about what your target audience needs in a location. If you sell to moms who may be shopping with children, close proximity to parking is ideal.

Features – Next, think about other features you want in a physical retail space. Where can you put dressing rooms? If you sell hand soaps, your customers will need a sink where they can try them out.

How to Market Your Pop-Up Shop

It’s important to keep your message specific, consistent, and to deliver it in a multi-channel way. From social media, to advertising, to PR, all of these marketing channels should be used cohesively to reinforce what you are trying to say.

Your Pop-Up Shop PR Strategy

Local media outlets like Racked and Wicked Local cover pop-up shops all of the time. In addition, bloggers may be willing to cover your pop-up shop or come pay a visit. Some good places to find bloggers that may be interested in covering your pop-up shop include:

In addition to finding general influencers in your topic, finding local bloggers is especially important. Just about every city has a local bloggers group of some sort. You can find this by Googling “city name AND bloggers.”  The benefit of getting in touch with someone local is that they also tend to have local followings. Since their readers are in your area, those readers are more likely to stop by your pop-up shop. Therefore you’ll get much more than simply page views from your media coverage.

Your Pop-Up Shop Social Media Strategy

Facebook and Twitter – The local ad targeting capabilities of Facebook and Twitter let you promote your pop-up shop in a focused way. To track the conversion rates of those campaigns, you can share a Facebook-only or Twitter-only coupon code with those followers for them to redeem in store. Count up the sales from specifically those coupon codes, and you can see how those ads converted into sales.

In addition to ad targeting on Facebook, Facebook events are another way for gathering local customers. However, I’d proceed with caution. This could just be me, but with all of the birthday party events and clumsy “I lost my phone and need your number!” invitations over the years, I think Facebook events are losing their luster.

Instagram Instagram is highly visual, highly targeted, and mobile, so this could be an especially effective channel for promoting your pop-up shop.

Create a series of posts leading up to the launch of your pop-up shop. They can serve as a “count down” to the big launch day. Tag each post with local hashtags (the name of your city, the name of the pop-up’s street) to catch the attention of people in your area and draw in relevant interest. You can also expect that your customers will see your pop-up shop getting set up as they are out and about. This will spark curiosity and they will want to Instagram photos of it. Encourage them to share the great news by giving them a hashtag to post with. Promoting the hashtag with physical signage is a simple way to do this.

Your Pop-Up Shop Email Strategy

Your pop-up shop is a unique promotion that you may not have done before as an eCommerce store owner because it is contingent upon location. In addition, you still get to apply some of the best segmentation practices to these emails for the highest chance of conversion.

In this case, my advice for the launch would be to think about your audience and messages in these categories:

Group 1 – Local subscribers who have bought before. Your message to this customer segment is to invite them to come check out the pop-up shop. This engaged customer group is also ideal for VIP access to a pop-up shop launch party.

Group 2 – Local subscribers who haven’t bought from you yet. Your message to this customer group should focus on a product they’ve shown interest in before (via product pageview or email open) and the opportunity to “come check it out in person” at the pop-up shop.

Group 2 – Not-local subscribers who have frequently engaged with you: People who have bought from you before, viewed your products, and opened your emails will still be interested to hear about the pop-up shop and your company’s general progress. They may also be interested in promoting it for you. To entice these recipients to share your great news, you could create a pre-filled Tweet with and link to it for the call-to-action.

Throughout the pop-up shop’s run, you’ll want to continually use email to promote the store and keep it top of mind for these three groups. Regularly reach out and encourage them to visit and share news about the new location. Share interesting content, like photos from the launch party, to add life to the campaigns.

Wrapping Up

A pop-up shop is a fresh and exciting sales channel, but the same marketing best practices still apply when it comes to driving traffic to it. Segment your customers into smaller cohorts so you can offer more specific and relevant messages, and most importantly, test what you do so you see what approach works best for your company.


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  • Ik heb interactieve presentatie popupstore dus kan je me wat tips voor leverage mijn pop-up stores … !!!

  • I think this is a great idea. I own a meeting space and I just introduced this as a service especially after the summer art fairs are gone, I think artists needs a place to sell their art around Christmas when people are buying for their loved ones.

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