What is a pop-up?
In many cases a pop-up business is used for promotion before a more permanent establishment is invested in and includes everything from market stalls and street food vendors, to fashion retailers, galleries, cafes and bars. Not only the favourite of food vendors and independent retailers, pop-ups are now beginning to be used by more established businesses to explore new business ideas. The pop-up phenomenon has been on the rise and is now the fastest growing business sector in the UK, contributing an estimated £2 billion to the economy this year.
Many successful brands started out as pop-ups. Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Drinks, launched his smoothie company at a music festival, where customers were asked to throw their empty drinks bottles into bins marked Yes or No, based on whether they thought the founders should launch their business.
“Pop-ups have become a tried and tested business strategy.”
Why “pop up”?
Pop-up businesses are associated with a number of benefits, including lower start-up costs, and boosted revenue. They are also a fantastic way to enhance awareness of your brand before you officially commit to a permanent location, along with giving you a chance to suss out your target market and product, collect real-time feedback and make any changes you need to before it is too late! You can also try out a location before forking out for hefty rent prices, explore different marketing options, and develop new partnerships. Launching a pop-up is the perfect opportunity to try out a business model before you take the plunge.
Test your business
The low-cost and temporary nature of starting a pop-up business makes it possible for brands to test products or promotions to gauge future demand. Business owners are able to offer products that they may not stock online or in their current store, so they can test to see how popular they would be if sold permanently. Every business owner wants their customer to be happy with the product or service they provide, and one of the benefits of testing your market and product in a temporary location means you can get real-time feedback from your potential customers, which will allow you to make any changes to your product, menu or business model before you commit to something more permanent.
Choosing a location is also a crucial decision when starting a business, and in many cases location can make or break a business. Launching a pop-up business in a desired location is an excellent way to test your area before you consider opening up permanently. This reduces risk and gives business owners a chance to trial one or more locations before committing to one premises.
Due to pop-up businesses being temporary and often smaller in size than conventional hospitality or retail businesses, it means that the cost of rent is usually lower. This is especially advantageous for new businesses that don't yet have the funds to lease a permanent space. Businesses interested in venturing into pop-up business can take advantage of having short-term or monthly leases, low initial expenses and flexibility in operations. These businesses do not have to pay large upfront costs and fees, plus are not constrained to formal business hours. In fact, a pop-up business can decide to be open for only a few hours a day when traffic and sales are expected to be high. Through this low-risk option, there’s not as much to lose and a brand can adapt to market changes easier.
Additionally, it isn’t necessary for a pop-up store to stock as many products as a permanent business may need to, so the amount of money you have to invest will not be as high. If a pop-up business is successful, it can raise you enough revenue to invest more into marketing, staff or other aspects of your business than you may have been able to afford initially.
Create brand awareness & buzz
A pop-up can really help a business to generate a buzz around a brand. Pop-up establishments are often fantastic marketing tools because they draw attention, and can be tied in with social media campaigns, by using hashtags or competitions to encourage engagement. Consumers are interested in the sudden existence of a store, especially if they look unique, and exciting. For example, last year global brand Adidas launched their "Stan is Back" pop up store in London to celebrate the 50th anniversary and re-launch of their best-selling trainer, which was a scaled up replica of the Adidas Stan Smith shoebox.
Effectively utilising social media teamed with the active encouragement of positive press will really help to build a buzz around a pop-up. Mobile pop-ups like food trucks have a particular advantage here, in that they can go to various locations and spread awareness about the business while testing out the market. For example, our customer Come Fry With Me (see below) have recently hit the headlines with their aviation themed pop-up mobile business selling gourmet chips. They have popped up at a number of festivals, and will launch a permanent premises in Covent Garden later this year. They have consistent branding including an eye-catching aviation theme website, and fun pun-based social media posts, which will set them in good stead for success when they open their permanent location.
Build face to face rapport
A pop-up can be especially beneficial for businesses that run primarily or solely online. With the online shopping industry set to be worth over £100 bn and rapidly growing, so running an online business is definitely not a bad idea, but there is a lack of face to face interaction with customers. A pop-up business can help build the bridge between your online and offline customer relationships. It also provides a great opportunity to educate customers about new products, and you can show your passion face to face. This is also perfect for brands that sell products that needs explanation, sell items that shoppers want to touch and feel before buying, or want to capture a market segment that would not normally visit the brand’s site or buy from the company online.
Is this a temporary trend?
Business owners may be concerned that pop-up businesses are a modern fad or temporary trend, but in-fact pop-ups are not a recent phenomenon and have been around in large department stores in the US for the past few decades. The number of pop-ups in the UK has grown at a phenomenal rate of over 8% per annum. Pop-ups not only cater to consumer needs, but are increasingly preferred by smaller business ventures like restaurants and retailers because they can save up to 80% of costs compared with opening a brick-and-mortar business.
How can EPOS help?
An EPOS system is vital as it will help you to track your sales, stock, margins, and the overall profitability of any business, whether it's pop-up or permanent. One of the benefits of cloud-based software is that you can be up and running in minutes, and if you need to move your system that is no problem at all! We even offer portable iPad or Android POS systems, which are perfect for pop-up businesses. We recently worked with Universal Studios to help them launch their Jurassic World themed pop-up store. See how the Epos Now system helped them by watching the full video here!
Are you in the process of launching your business? Get in touch to find out about more of the benefits that Epos Now can bring your business. Call us on 0800 2 945 945!