Here today, gone tomorrow… or perhaps next season. Since the 1990s, pop up shops have been appearing and vanishing in major metropolitan areas, but what defines a pop up shop?
Well, a pop up shop is a physical store location with an expiration date. These shops take up temporary residence in areas with high foot traffic such as indoor and outdoor malls and busy streets. It may be a small kiosk or cart selling wares for one day in the middle of a busy mall, or a Halloween costume store that opens at the beginning of October and closes a week into November.
Big and small businesses use this concept. Large retailers often use them to promote new products. Online-only businesses open them to promote business and meet customers face to face. Artists can open a pop up store and gallery. Even restaurants can open a temporary location.
Another advantage of opening a pop up site is the likelihood of getting media coverage. Especially if you actively pursue it, this free advertising can be great for your brand. Opening such a temporary location costs significantly less, about 80%, than opening a traditional store.
Pop up retail stores relate to self-storage in two major ways:
If your shop moves around a certain city or county, you can store your merchandise and displays in a self-storage unit.
Your entire shop could be in a large storage container (or series of connected containers) which you can move from site-to-site.
Self-Storage for Pop Up Shops
Renting a self-storage unit for a pop up shop requires the same considerations you would have for storing personal goods. Make sure you don’t store any items that the storage facility disallows, which can include open food containers, hazardous chemicals, firearms and ammunition, and live animals.
If your merchandise is sensitive to temperature fluctuations, humidity, or mold, get a unit with climate control. Things like CDs and DVDs, books, and musical instruments are particularly susceptible.
The Renter’s Bent blog contains many articles on how to store and protect specific types of items.
The advantage of using self-storage for your pop up store is that you won’t need a specific business office or to keep your merchandise in your home. Whenever you have a new shop location, you can take the items out of self-storage, set them up, and bring everything back when the sales period ends.
Shipping Container Stores
While it might seem a strange idea at first, shipping containers make interesting and attractive pop up stores. Their size and portability even make them perfect for mobile, modular buildings, as multiple containers can be put together to make a larger shop. Also, they are extremely durable. One container can support the weight of several more on top of it.
To get a customized storage container shop, visit Popshopolis. They can design a storage container to fit your specific needs. The basic lengths are 10 feet, 20 feet, and 40 feet. Yours might have a single or multiple doors, shelves, a kitchen, or whatever else you need. Display pieces and your company logo, or a specific design on the outside, also make good ideas. When your shop is in operation, simply set it up in the morning and put everything away at the end of the day, as many businesses do. When your time is done at a location, pack everything so it’s safe for transport and move it elsewhere.
This option is especially good for larger businesses that have a place to keep their storage bin pop up stores, such as a company warehouse, or individuals with large enough property at home to keep them between sales events.
Another option is to use PODS. This company specializes in storage containers for families or businesses in the process of moving, but their proprietary storage containers are also good for pop up stores. While you would not be able to modify the actual container, you could put out your promotional displays to create an attractive interior and exterior. Customers would enter one end of the mobile shop.
PODS will also move the container to and from your location for you, and they specialize in moving containers full of inventory. Their containers come in 7 foot, 8 foot, and 16 foot long sizes.
Finding a Location
Once you settle on the idea of creating a pop up shop, you’ll need a to find your first location. If you want to set up at an existing indoor or outdoor mall that typically hosts pop up shops, contact the management office and ask how to do this. If you’d like to set up in a busy city area, such as near a park, check with city hall to see if that location is open to pop up shops, or if they can help you get into an area that is.
Alternately, you can visit the Storefront website and do a search. This company helps businesses find pop up shop spaces of all sorts, with rents starting at as little as $50 per day. The insurance is covered in Storefront’s fees.
Setting up a pop up shop can be good business. If you’re interested in doing so, check out the sites mentioned here and figure out your options.