Pop Up for Profit: How to Set Up a Holiday Pop Up Shop

Pop up shops, sometimes called "flash retail," are a recent trend that lets you set up and sell your products in a small space for a limited time.

by Kristina Mercedes Urquhart
PHOTO: Peter/Flickr

In the days and weeks before Christmas, pop up shops are a wonderful way to sell our beekeeping wares and winter-made products to last-minute shoppers. Items such as lotion bars, lip balm, candles, raw wax and, of course, honey and pollen products that are the beekeeper’s specialty make beautiful stocking stuffers and sweet gifts for anyone. By establishing a pop up shop, you can control the time, place and duration of your sale to maximize your exposure and your profits while connecting with your customers in a new way.

What is a pop up shop?

It’s also called “flash retailing.” A pop up shop is a relatively new trend in retail that is characterized by opening small, temporary sale spaces. Pop up shops often appear in high-traffic locations, preferably with a lot of pedestrians, such as malls and other indoor spaces, city centers or popular streets. Pop up retail is a cost effective way to expand your market, meet new customers, and spread the world about your products. Shops tend to stay open only a few hours to a few days, and vendors promote them heavily on social media for exposure.

It’s a great way to test a new market, move inventory and enjoy face-to-face time with your customers, especially if you typically sell online or through other retailers. Pop up retail naturally creates a sense of urgency for your products, as they are available only for the duration of the shop. Offering limited edition products, or specials that are created just for the pop up, can increase the traffic to your table or booth.

Start with the logistics. Make decisions about the inventory you’ll offer for sale, and price everything ahead of time. Keep clear records and good notes to keep yourself organized. Procure everything you need to make your booth, table or display furniture appealing, attractive and eye catching. At the same time, scout for a location. Will you share your pop up experience with other retailers or go it alone? Sometimes, having a group of several retailers “pop up” at the same time draws new customers and many more of them. Being near the right shops that complement your own, combined with marketing and exposure on social media, could improve your sales.

Social media and digital exposure is critical to a successful pop up shop. On your social media accounts such as Facebook and Instagram, post a digital flyer or image with the date, time and location of the shop as well as your logo and products clearly stated. Use hashtags related to beekeeping, shopping and the holidays. Also email it to friends and family and ask them to spread the world. You can even reach out to your local beekeeping club and ask an administrator to share it with all members.

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Pop up shops are a wonderful way to create brand awareness and reach new customers you might not have connected with otherwise. While we live in a digital era, and social media seems a prerequisite for nearly any business, don’t underestimate the power of word of mouth. When customers love your products, they’ll tell others about it. If you have devoted, loyal customers, ask them to share reviews or comment on your posts. Ultimately, the quality products you sell will be what keep customers coming back all year.

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