The success that e-commerce giants and online marketplaces are currently enjoying is inspiring budding entrepreneurs whose businesses involve products, to want to sell primarily online. It is a known fact that every business should do market research before setting up shop, to make sure that their business idea would be sustainable in the long run. However, small businesses operating within a tiny budget will not have the resources to conduct a full-fledged market analysis. In that scenario, what is a reliable way to check the competence and capability of your new business idea without raising the stakes too high? The answer is a pop-up shop!
What is a pop-up shop?
Pop-up shops or stores, also known as flash retail, are temporary retail spaces that sell merchandise. If you can recall your last visit to a shopping mall, you would possibly remember seeing tiny stalls selling products of all sorts. You might have seen a different stall at the same place a few months ago. While the rest of the businesses in the shopping mall have permanent stores, these pop-up shops are temporary; they keep coming and going.
You don’t always have to wait for floor space to open in a mall to set up your pop-up shop. You could also get yourself a stall at local exhibitions where there will be other entrepreneurs with whom you could network or even get real-life business advice from!
Why have a pop-up shop?
1. It is a safe bet: Let’s say that you are an entrepreneur with a dream of launching a handmade soap business. You may have started making soaps at home as a hobby, and when your soaps proved to be a success among friends and family, you may have considered turning it into a business. Instead of investing all your finances in renting a commercial space for your store and ordering raw materials in huge quantities to stock up on enough products before opening shop, having a pop-up store for a few months will give you a better idea about how much the rest of the world likes your products and how big a demand your products have in the market. That way, even if your business goes downhill, you wouldn’t incur a terrible loss. Also, if your pop-up store does extremely well, you wouldn’t have to think twice about a grand opening real soon!
2. It makes people curious: When we are in a familiar environment, our brain tends to process our surroundings less as opposed to being in an unfamiliar environment. We tend to glance over familiar places and it is only when there is a new addition, a bright pop of color or something that previously wasn’t there that we pay attention. It is natural for us to be curious and this curiosity will help to drive people to your pop-up store where you could tell them about your product and, hopefully, make sales!
Also, customers would gladly drop by at a pop-up store with an unfamiliar name to explore their line of products than venture into a big store with an unfamiliar name. Thus, a pop-up is the precursor to an actual store, be it an online one or a brick-and-mortar one.
3. You can interact directly with customers: Having a pop-up store presents you with the opportunity of talking to a wide spectrum of people about your products. Genuine customers will share valuable suggestions that you can swiftly adapt and incorporate into your business plan since you will be doing business on a small scale. If customers really love your products, they might even turn into evangelists for your brand and indirectly help you build a loyal customer base for your business.
A wise entrepreneur would insist on testing the waters before making the plunge. What better way to test the profitability of your business than with a pop-up shop? It combines the advantages of minimal investment with short-term commitment, making it a great choice to test your business idea.