5 Things to Consider When Setting Up a New Pop Up Retail Space

pop up retail space

Pop up retail spaces are a growing force in the UK, but success can be tricky as this form of temporary shop comes with its own unique challenges. 

Pop up stores are big business in the UK. A report from EE and the Centre for Economics and Business Research found that this form of temporary retail is worth £2.1 billion to the British economy, with almost a third of businesses starting as a pop up. However, this doesn’t mean setting up your own temporary pop up retail space will be easy. 

Going down the pop-up route comes with a set of challengers that are slightly different to the ones retailers usually face. However, they’re also flexible, relatively commitment-free and can be a huge boost to a business. So, how can you successfully set up a pop-up retail space? Here are five of the most important things to consider: 

Pop up retail space: the 5 pillars

1. Location Is Crucial

The metric that can make or break a pop-up retail space is footfall. David O’Neil, head of commercialisation for pop up shop landlord Hammerson, points out that these temporary pop up retail spaces generally won’t be around long enough for slow-burn marketing to take effect; you need people to notice you straight away.

Because of this, it’s vital that you choose a location that already has high levels of footfall. For example, a space that’s often used for pop ups is inside shopping centres. The exact location also needs to depend on your audience – a gourmet food pop-up might not be best placed in a furniture showroom, for example – but one of the main factors is going to be how many people will see your pop up retail space.

2. Desıgn Based On Looks

Because you only have a small amount of time to make an impact, you’re going to want to grab people’s attention with your pop up retail space as much as possible. The best way to do that is with your store’s looks. An exciting visual design can go a long way towards ensuring success. 

Think about all the tools at your disposal. Colour is a good example; you might want to go with bright, vibrant colours for the greatest impact. Of course, aggressive shades like red might give the wrong impression, so choose carefully. Another tool is your products, and how they are displayed. Make good use of shelving to show off your wares to passers-by. 

3. Budget Carefully

You don’t want to spend a fortune on your pop up retail space, as your profit margins may well be very tight. The aim of temporary retail is often more to do with marketing than it is to do with making a big sales impact, but you still don’t want to end up making a loss. Think about ways you could save money. 

One possible option is sponsors. You might find that other businesses will provide you with materials you need for free in exchange for some promotion, and if you have a good location and a relevant product then some might even be willing to pay to sponsor your pop up retail space. It’s worth looking into this when you’re in the initial stages to see if you can save some money. 

4. Create A Buzz

Marketing is key when it comes to pop up retail spaces, and the most successful usually offer something more than a product. You want to leave a lasting impression, so try to think of your pop up as a way to create an experience. A pop up bar could be based around the theme of being a hidden 1920s speakeasy, for example. 

You’ll want to take advantage of the free PR that social media provides, so encourage users to share photos and stories of their time at your pop up. Perhaps come up with a hashtag, or create a competition for the best photo shared on Facebook or Instagram. This will help create a buzz around your business and increase footfall. 

5. Have An Exit Strategy

The benefit of pop ups is that you know from the start they’re temporary. This means there shouldn’t be any sense of failure when the time comes to close them down. However, you still need to make sure you’re ready to do so in a quick, inexpensive manner. 

Many pop ups have their ending built into them from the beginning. Constructing pop up retail spaces out of modular materials means they can be set up and shut down easily, without the need for specialist equipment. In the last week, make sure you’re doing everything you can to make the eventual closing as frictionless as possible.


Now that you know how to succeed with your pop up retail space, make sure you read our other blogs on identifying your key customers


The Ultimate Guide to Retail Store Design