6 tips for successfully marketing your first pop-up shop

If your ecommerce store is thinking about hosting a pop-up shop anywhere, remember that marketing your pop-up shop can be like marketing any other temporary event.

retail experience
Credit: Thinkstock

For ecommerce businesses and other internet-based brands, pop-up shops are becoming increasingly popular. They allow companies without permanent brick and mortar presences to set up temporary physical locations to drive sales and grow brand awareness.

Pop-up shops have been used by companies for decades, but new methods of digital marketing now make them more cost-effective than ever.

What is a pop-up shop?

The term “pop-up shop” is pretty self explanatory, but for those who are totally unfamiliar with the concept, they are simply physical store locations with expiration dates.

“These shops take up temporary residence in areas with high foot traffic such as indoor and outdoor malls and busy streets,” says Jon Fesmire of StorageFront.com. “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.”

Both small and large businesses have used pop-up shops over the years, but what separates the successful shops from the flops is their dedication to marketing. In order to host a successful pop-up shop, there must be strategic pre-shop marketing, as well as flawless execution during the shop.

Six marketing tips for success

Marketing a pop-up shop isn’t really all that different than marketing any other temporary event. However, there are some specific techniques you can implement to help achieve better results.

  1. Use events to get media attention

One of the great things about pop-up events is that they’re conducive to media attention. Some media attention will happen naturally, while you’ll have to chase down and instigate some of the other attention.

Opportunities abound, so don’t be shy about lining up a bunch of different things. From press previews and launch parties to sponsored events and coordinated activities on the day(s) of the actual shop, there’s ample room for creativity. Maximize this exposure and don’t feel bad about hogging all of the attention.

  1. Invest in influencer marketing

One of the biggest marketing opportunities comes in the form of influencer marketing. Influencers are valuable because they are individuals who actively seek out information they can share with others. “They want to know what’s hot, what’s new, what’s fresh first, just as a reporter would,” marketer Humayun Khan says. “And if you can deliver that message to him or her, you can capture your next ‘fan.’”

Make a list of influencers in your niche and invite them to a pre-launch party. Serve dinner, give out prizes, and reveal exclusive information. Naturally, these individuals will return the favor by publishing content about the pop-up shop and “rallying the troops,” so to speak.

  1. Use strategic content marketing

Content marketing will play an important role in the weeks and days leading up to your pop-up shop. You should be crafting strategic content and publishing it in the appropriate places to maximize exposure and paint a picture of what the pop-up shop will be like.

The goals of your content marketing efforts are to drive social media buzz and get people excited. Once the shop launches, the hope is that your customers and fans will then begin to publish their own content — pictures, videos, reviews, etc. — and you can focus on engaging individual customers.

  1. Try Periscope live streaming

Here’s a unique idea: try live streaming different parts of the pop-up shop experience on the day of the launch. Periscope is becoming an increasingly popular platform, and it’s arguably the most engaging social networking tool on the market today.

You can use Periscope to highlight different products, show behind-the-scenes footage, and interview customers in attendance. It’s a really cool tool for staying relevant and sparking real-time conversations about the shop.

  1. Host contests and promotions

People love to win things. It doesn’t matter if it’s a gift card or a tchotchke: the idea of winning engages people and draws them closer to your brand.

“Run a promotion or contest using Instagram, Twitter, or both by encouraging customers to share photos of your store, or taking selfies wearing your products, and hashtaging [sic] their photos for a chance to win a prize,” Shopify suggests. “It could be free products, cash, or whatever you can afford, just make sure it’s worth people’s while to participate.”

  1. Carry the momentum over

When the pop-up shop comes to a close, it’s important to use the attention and buzz you garnered during the event and carry it over to your next big event or campaign. Have your next announcement ready to go and quickly release something about it while the pop up shop is still fresh on people’s minds.

In today’s age of social media, your 15-minutes of fame will come and go quicker than ever. If you delay, the spotlight will shift to someone else. Have a plan and be ready to react.

Strong marketing is a must

For ecommerce businesses and other brands without physical brick and mortar presences, pop-up shops represent a wonderful opportunity for attracting foot traffic and meeting with customers face-to-face. However, the key to hosting a successful pop up shop that’s profitable is investing in the right marketing techniques in the days leading up to the event, as well as during the event.

As you brainstorm ways to make your pop-up shop a success, make sure that marketing isn’t an afterthought. Strategic marketing needs to be a major consideration during both planning and execution. Once you understand this, you’ll be able to enjoy the results.

This article is published as part of the IDG Contributor Network. Want to Join?

To comment on this article and other CIO content, visit us on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
Download the CIO October 2016 Digital Magazine
Notice to our Readers
We're now using social media to take your comments and feedback. Learn more about this here.