Tips from Successful Pop-Ups
Over the summer we hosted a series of wonderful pop-ups that each offered its own unique take on the concept. What I loved most about stopping by each week was seeing how different The Studio looked and all the creative ways these businesses made the space their own. If you’re considering hosting a pop-up, bookmark this post because I’m listing my top five lessons in launching a successful pop-up, all learned from our summer pop-up series:
1) Get creative with the inside and the outside
Getting prospective clients to spontaneously venture into your pop-up is the biggest challenge you’ll face - but you’ll be rewarded by putting together a plan to make your space as welcoming as possible. Walk-ins are new clients - people who haven’t heard of your business and they’ll be excited to have an opportunity to discover something novel and perhaps walk away with a purchase (or your contact information for future online shopping). Hosting a pop-up isn’t just about selling lots of product, it’s also - and perhaps more importantly - about advertising your brand to new people and making a face-to-face connection that will last. So, do everything in your power to invite people in.
We loved Mission Edit’s amazing yellow balloon garland that they featured for their pop-up. It was visible from King Street and served as a fun, welcoming introduction to the shop - I can’t tell you how many people I watched stroll by The Studio, stop in their tracks to admire the garland, and then realize there was an entire pop-up shop inside to discover - and in they went.
We have also added an “Open” flag for you to use, but we encourage you to get creative and put your own personal stamp on the exterior of the space. Streamers, potted plants, lights, balloons, temporary signage - if you aren’t sure it will work, just email us and we’ll check it out for you.
2) Go heavy on the Instagram
Instagram is a huge asset for pop-ups and you should use it to your benefit. This is your opportunity to build excitement over your pop-up and get people engaged before you even set foot in The Studio. We run blog posts about each upcoming pop-up so look for those and make sure you promote your story. Tag @theseedlingcollective in your posts and we’ll re-post to our followers. Do creative reveals for your shop or host a walk-through when you’re finished setting up. Skin Scholars did a great job posting videos in the space to familiarize their clients with The Studio, which helps people feel more comfortable venturing into an otherwise unknown space.
We also find that collaborative pop-ups have a benefit here in that they can rely on each other’s networks to spread the instagram awareness. When The Scout Guide popped up, they had six participants who each posted and re-posted to their own accounts to promote the event. I heard from many, many drop-ins that they had heard about the pop-up through instagram and visited because of that - which is amazing! It’s free (or very inexpensive if you run promotions) advertising with real-time viewing and results. Don’t neglect this tool.
3) Schedule a photo shoot in The Studio
This is about maximizing the value of The Studio while you have already invested in the space. The Studio’s blank canvas provides the perfect backdrop for product photography or stock photos for you to use time and time again. Ensuring that you have content to post is key in maintaining an engaged audience, so do yourself a favor and schedule professional shoot at The Studio to get photos of yourself and your work. Featured artist Jennifer Allevato set up the loveliest shoot out of The Studio and has been rolling out the images through instagram, providing both content and context for her beautiful paintings. While we try to get our social media manager Macey out to each pop-up to get photos for Seedling, you should definitely consider getting something tailored to your own aesthetic as well. You’ll thank yourself when you have tons of content-filling photos to choose from.
4) Plan an interactive experience
Pop-ups are all about engagement: this is your opportunity to connect with clients, face-to-face, and form a lasting relationship that is otherwise impossible through online sales. We loved that Ezgi Kaya from Mom&I by EK held open beading “classes” while she was in the studio where clients could sit down, share a cup of Turkish coffee, and do some beading of their own while getting to know Ezgi (and her brand’s story). Skin Scholars had their popular custom Beauty Bar collection that allowed clients to build their own product based off of personalized consultations with Elaina and Alysia, all right there in The Studio. Your interactive experience doesn’t need to be complicated, but you do want it to be memorable. Think of it as the “latch” to keep that drop-in (who came in because of your amazing exterior decorations!) engaged with your brand and sticking around to get to know your product.
5) Host an evening party
There is no better way to make a sale then to ply someone with wine and good music while extolling the virtues of your brand :) Seriously, though, hosting a party for your clients is the perfect way to get to know your base better and to attract them into your pop-up, perhaps with friends, to see your goods in person. With each and every pop-up we have hosted, the feedback has been that evening parties have yielded some of the the highest sales numbers. Send save-the-dates, promote your party, maybe even consider having a photographer snap some pictures - just make it memorable. Want to make all the effort even more worthwhile? Offer a promotional discount or gift just for the party and you’re sure to close those “I’ll think about it over the weekend” deals right then and there, and you’ll motivate people to come to the party so they can take advantage of the promotion. Again, you’re building value to your client to actually visit your pop-up rather than to continue to just shop your business online, and you’re adding value to your own investment by using the room in different ways than “just” a retail shop.