I continue to be asked how clients can test and learn from pop up stores.  My earlier post  Learning From A Pop Up Store had some good beginning advice for creating the strategy form a corporate point of view.  For those of you more interested in the tactical steps, here’s some advice:

    First, decide if you need the store to generate revenue and profit or just visibility and buzz (say in advance of opening a more permanent location.)  Sure, it would be nice if it did both – but select ONE primary goal and you can make other decisions and delegate more easily.  A scaled down example is the recent Peeps store at Mall of America that opened with several kiosks in advance of the permanent store location.

    The steps are the same as for a permanent store:

    • Plan (set the strategy, timeline and budget) – Will this model be repeated?
    • Find the location, complete landlord negotiations.
    • Begin high level design, pull permits
    • Define product assortment
    • Define marketing strategy* (advertising, PR, Social Media)
    • Complete temp shop design
    • Define  and hire required staff & security. Set training plan.  Security in a temp location is tough.  Don’t leave it until the last minute.
    • Define payment procedure – how will you accept payment?
    • Open, Sell, Close.

    Critical differences between a Pop Up store and a normal store opening include:

    1* The Marketing is CRITICAL.  You only have a few days or weeks to make a BIG impact,  Make sure there is plenty of COMING SOON and buzz being generated before the opening.  Spend resources on signs and visual impact.  People in the area need to be aware that the store is opening in XX days and be ready to stop in once it opens.

    2. For added buzz and exposure, offer products that are different from the ones offered in other classic retail channels i.e. limited edition, special series, product launch, special service.  Customers will have a reason to stop by and brand loyalists will clamor for limited goods.

    3. Get your best and brightest sales team into the store.  A temporary store is no place for unexperienced  sales staff.  Determine how to reward them for being great brand ambassadors as well as great sales people. Traffic is likely to be difficult to predict so make sure you err on the side of over-staffing versus under-staffing.

    4.  If your strategy is to sell a volume of goods, , make sure you have enough stock space inside the temp shop or in a nearby location.  Have a plan for a fast reaction replenishment process.   (I’ve seen plenty of operations like this running out of stock in a couple of hours!)

    5. Finally, if you plan to get really good at this, consider contacting me about helping with the first store.  Not only will you get reliable guidance to avoid costly mistakes, but you can be assured that there will be documented good practices in place to repeat and succeed in the future.