When it comes to pop-up shops, it’s all about the small nuances that help extend your brand DNA to your shopper and present your products at their best. Pop-up shops can help you build your brand, better understand your customers, and better convey your brand story.
But there are dozens of moving parts when it comes to planning a pop-up, starting with finding a great venue. Finding the perfect pop-up shop rental can be overwhelming — you have to consider the neighborhood, the foot traffic, the surrounding shops, and many other factors when weighing your venue options.
But here, we'll take a closer look at how to find the ideal pop-up shop rental. Breaking down what to look for in a retail space by exterior and interior amenities is a great way to compartmentalize what you’re looking for in a space and prioritize what you deem important.
Here are 10 criterion to consider when scouting pop-up shop locations.
Many factors make up whether a potential pop-up shop rental space is a good fit for your store. One of the major things to consider is foot traffic. Is the neighborhood or street you're considering a high-traffic area? Are there plenty of people walking by the pop-up shop rental you're scouting? And more importantly: are there plenty of your target customers walking around in that area?
While target market foot traffic is integral to consider when determining possible store locations, nearby retailers and events occurring in the vicinity are also important. If there are too many competing stores in your niche in the area, it might be wise to try another neighborhood.
Signage outside your potential venue is also a factor to consider when scouting potential spaces. Is the pop-up shop rental space in a nondescript building with a small entrance sign, or does the building have a grand entrance with a large logo?
Both have their merits, but either may or may not work well with your brand. Customers may associate your store with your brand more organically when they cannot see the building is owned by an outside entity.
However, an established retail space with large signage instantly gives your brand leverage in the consumer's mind. It is important to determine whether your brand can benefit from piggy-backing off a reputable brick-and-mortar store or if your brand can hold its own.
Retail space owners normally ensure that the interior of the pop-up environment will be pristine upon arrival. But the exterior is susceptible to the elements.
For example, you can’t expect that the listing agent will pick up every last leaf off of the sidewalk outside the pop-up shop rental after a big storm. You'll have to assume responsibility for the exterior cleanliness of the rental as well. Get out there with a broom, bring your own potted plants, or invest in a bottle of Windex to get every last curious face smudge off of the venue's windows.
Knowing that you'll be responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of both the interior and exterior, make sure you can confidently keep both tidy.
Customers will be more apt to visit your store if you make their life a little easier. Although an attached parking structure of some kind can be ideal in certain cities, that isn’t a realistic option in many urban environments. If a parking lot isn’t an option, create accessibility anyway you can.
Research public transit routes to see if they run close to your potential store, and check parking meter rates, nearby paid parking lots, and times when street parking is free.
5. Surrounding Shops
Notice the surrounding retail stores in your future pop-up shop rental’s neighborhood. Do they have a similar aesthetic as your brand while still being different enough not to compete with your shop?
This is an important factor to consider. When established shops feel threatened by competing stores, you're missing out on potential allies. Take the time to introduce yourself to the other shop owners in the area. Ensure that the stores welcome your presence and that you complement their offerings.
When you have a rapport with other shop owners, you can glean valuable information on what makes your shared target demographic tick.
1. Back Stock Space
Storage space for your inventory is a great element to look out for when choosing a pop-up shop rental space. Visible additional merchandise makes even the most immense spaces look cluttered (even when hidden underneath tables). In the minds of some customers, clutter equates with messiness, which can give them a bad first impression of your brand.
Granted, many spaces don't offer a back stockroom. If your ideal pop-up shop rental space doesn’t have a back room, see if it's possible to create a makeshift separation or partition (using curtains or a room divider), so the space seems more professional and tidy.
Lighting is imperative for setting the mood and displaying merchandise. Bad fluorescent lighting makes even the best-fitting dress look like you squeezed into a sausage casing. Poor lighting also does the same for merchandise on the selling floor.
The same goes for how bright the bulbs shine. If your brand is more attuned to a modern demographic, brighter lighting may work well with the style of clothing. More subdued, soft lighting pairs well with a brand that reflects a classic aesthetic. Many options are available to manipulate lighting in a pop-up space. Ask to see if the bulbs are on dimmer switches, or if lamps and portable lighting is available as an alternative.
FURTHER READING: Learn more about how the right lighting design can encourage sales.
3. Anti-Theft Features
One of the most important factors to consider is the loss prevention measures that come with a pop-up shop rental.
Shrinkage (also known as theft) is always a risk when opening an offline environment. Cameras are a great tool in not only preventing customers from shoplifting merchandise but also providing evidence when you suspect or catch someone after the fact. If a retail space doesn’t have cameras, see if they have employed other tactics with previous pop-up shop vendors.
FURTHER READING: Learn how to create a loss prevention strategy for your store.
Wireless Internet is usually considered part of the non-verbal package when leasing a pop-up shop rental space. However, it's important to double check with the leasing agent to guarantee that your space has high-speed Internet access.
This is important both for your point-of-sale system as well as front-end customer interaction. When customers can connect immediately to your online presence, they're able to navigate all of your selling channels. Without a Wifi connection, they'd have to research your brand, products, and prices at a later time. And at that point, you’ve lost their attention.
You may not be opening a pop-up restaurant, but you’d be surprised how important a sink becomes — especially when you realize you don’t have one. Spills happen, celebratory champagne gets popped, clothes get smudged, and sinks are the catch-all that makes clean up easy.
Moving Forward With a Pop-Up Shop Rental Space
Ultimately, your brand personality should be unified with the pop-up shop rental space. Decide what factors are most important and consistently check your list to see if the space is fully functional for you to succeed. Don’t lose focus of what truly matters.
To state it simply, think of this recent Valentine’s analogy: "We are immediately attracted to someone’s face, but you fall in love with their heart." Your choice in pop-up shop rental space should reflect the same thought.