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    How to Launch a Pop Up Shop

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    pop up shop Canada

    Learn everything you need about how to take full advantage of this popular retail trend.

    Overall, pop up retail is becoming more and more common. Pop up stores challenge traditional retail in that they are not characterised by the typical large transaction-based stores and long-term leases.

    While many consumers have turned to online stores over the last few years and gotten used to the convenience of shopping online, consumers are becoming hungry for real-life experiences. They miss feeling connected to brands and each other in a physical environment.

    Though pop ups can look like a regular store, they provide engaging and unique physical shopping experiences. Moreover, a pop up store provides flexibility and the opportunity for a brand to experiment with less risk.

    This article will cover some commonly asked questions about these types of shops and outline how business owners can launch a successful pop up store. Read on to find out more!


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    What is meant by the term pop up shop?

    While you may be wondering what is meant by the term pop up shop, it is very likely that you’ve already seen and shopped at one before.

    Though pop up shops often look like regular retail stores, they differ in that they are temporary businesses that “pop up” in a specific neighbourhood for anywhere from a few days to a few months. In doing so, they fill vacant storefronts and benefit all parties involved, including business owners, landlords, and the community.

    1. Benefits for business owners

    By opening a pop up shop, business owners get the opportunity to try out a new retail location. In trying out a space and a neighbourhood, they are able to determine if the location is a good fit to start something more permanent.

    Due to the nature of a pop up store’s short lease, this is a great, low risk way for business owners to discover whether a shop may be successful there or not.

    2. Benefits for landlords

    Similarly, landlords are set to benefit from this short-term arrangement.

    By making their retail spaces available to business owners for a short period of time, landlords are able to gain some income from an otherwise empty space. Moreover, they get their space cleaned, painted, and staged for potential renters and the community to consider it for future use.

    3. Benefits for the community

    The community also benefits from having a formerly empty space filled by a provider of goods and services. Pop up shops create foot traffic and a busier, more thriving neighbourhood.

    How do I set up a pop up shop?

    If you’re a business owner who is looking to try out a neighbourhood, move old inventory, or test launching a new product, then a pop up shop may be for you! However, you may find yourself wondering how to go about setting up a pop up shop.

    You can set up a pop up shop in four easy steps:

    1. Choose your event space

    Finding the right spot for your pop up shop is very important. There are a number of factors to consider, and determining what type of space makes the most sense for your event is one of the most important.

    Some common pop up spaces include:

    • Vacant storefronts: An empty storefront is a retail space just waiting to be used, and all you have to do is customise it to your brand. You can look around for vacant storefronts in your ideal neighborhood yourself, or if you’d like help, you can contact a local real estate agent.

    • Shopping centers and malls: Many shopping malls have booth space, kiosks, and/or vacant in-line stores available to rent. While mall space is often less cost effective than other venues, it makes up for this by exposing you to the best kind of foot traffic – consumers who are specifically looking to spend their money.

    • Pop-ins: Pop-ins are stores within a store. They’re a great way to piggyback off an existing brick-and-mortar brand’s success. Hotels and larger stores such as Nordstrom or the Hudson’s Bay Company are great locations for pop-ins.

    • Galleries/event spaces: Galleries or event spaces offer a blank canvas for popping your brand into a physical space with eye-catching displays. Moreover, these venues come ready for events.

    • Mobile spaces: If you don’t want to limit yourself to a single location, then another option is to rent a truck (Read: How to get a food truck license)  or bus. This enables you to host your own travelling pop up shop that could take your business cross-country.

    2. Decide on your pop up location

    There are many factors that you should think about when choosing a location for your pop up shop. Here are a few things that you may want to consider:

    • What are your shop’s goals?

    • Where are most of your existing customers located?

    • What retailers and events are in the area? Are surrounding retailers competitive or complementary to your business?

    • Is the spot that you’re considering a high-traffic area?

    3. Figure out the shop type, exterior, and interior

    Not only does location matter, but it is also important to factor in your shop type and what may be required of the exterior and interior of your space for your pop up shop to be a success.

    You should decide on the type of shop that you would like to have. Will your pop up shop be a press preview, launch party, influencer party, experiential, or a sponsored event?

    There are also exterior factors that you should consider. These include, but are not limited to, signage, condition and cleanliness, and whether there is parking or easy access to public transportation. An inviting and easily accessible exterior is essential.

    Finally, there are several interior factors that you will need to decide on. Browsing, display, and stock space are all very important, but so are lighting, internet access, speaker systems, and anti-theft features. The interior of your pop up shop will help communicate your brand to existing and potential customers.

    4. Book your pop up shop venue

    Now that you’ve thought about what you need/want out of a space, you’re ready to book your venue!

    How do I ensure that my pop up shop will be successful?

    A big part of ensuring your pop up shop’s success is through social media marketing. Cultivating a presence on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, can be extremely helpful in marketing and advertising your pop up shop.

    Whether your shop will be up for a few days or a few months, social media marketing will help get the word out and ensure that you have customers coming through the door.

    How much does it cost to open up a pop up shop?

    The cost of opening up a pop up shop depends on your unique business and goals.

    Expenses may include a lease, licences, permits, and most importantly, insurance. Without the proper insurance policies in place you’re putting your business, employees, and customers at risk. Regardless of the type of pop up shop you have, you’ll want to ensure that you have the right Mobile Vendor Liability Insurance policy for you and your business.

    Contact APOLLO today to speak with one of our advisors and fill out our Mobile Vendor Liability Insurance Application to get custom coverage that’s suited to you and your business.


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    Originally published August 2, 2022, updated August 25, 2023

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