A Pop-Up Store can be an amazing brand experience that creates impactful and lasting recognition among both new and existing customers. It can also be a massive expense with little benefit if not executed properly. You don’t just need a strong activation plan and top-notch staff to pull it off brilliantly, you also need to be ready for the unknown - those inevitable little gaps in planning or minor mishaps that threaten to derail an otherwise perfect event.
Fortunately, the Moderne team has been around the block more than once, and we’ve put together a list of ten things to keep in mind when planning for your pop-up. We skipped the ones you know - finding the right space, local demographics, etc. - and focused on the ones that you may not have thought of.
Permits and Licenses
The permits and licenses you will need to obtain will depend on a number of factors – Are you selling merchandise? Food? Liquor? Will the food or liquor be pre packaged or prepared on site? Will you need a wait staff? Will you need someone to collect trash? Will you need to collect sales tax?
It’s important to keep in mind that not all permits are the same. Some take longer to get approved, some are free, some are expensive, and some are contingent on having other permits first. Obtaining permits and licenses can be tricky, so make sure you understand everything you need before entering the process.
It’s easy to forget about the floor. You’re only standing on it, but there are a number of considerations to keep in mind before you open your pop-up store. Many brands put a lot of time and resources into the walls, décor, signage and furniture, but often forget about the floor. Vendors often provide various options for temporary flooring.
You have everything you need for your pop-up store, but how are you going to get it in there? And once you’re finished, how are you going to get everything out? The biggest thing to consider (no pun intended) is the way you will be able to bring large items such as couches, shelving units, or large display items like cars in and out of the space. Is the door wide enough? Is there a back entrance? Will you need to take out a window to get your items in?
Delivery logistics are often overlooked. Do trucks have an area to unload deliveries? Is it legal for trucks to park on the street? Is there room to accommodate multiple delivery trucks at the same time? Working out these details before the date of delivery can make or break your pop-up store.
You have a space, but who is going to open and close it? When will they do so? Will they be available to arrive early and stay late if a delivery doesn’t arrive exactly when scheduled? Is there a back up if your main key holder is unavailable? Keep the key holder in mind in all staffing logistics. The key holder needs to be there first to open up and last to close and lock up, or else they need to hand the key off, or each opener or closer needs to have their own key.
Another important detail is determining whether security is needed to control the entrance, secure merchandise, ensure safety, etc.
Locate Nearby Resources
Know the locations, hours, and contact information of the nearest convenience stores, hardware stores, art supplies stores, party shops and parking lots. As much as you can plan ahead, you never know when something is going to break, fall, smear, or get lost. Think of every imaginable mishap and locate the nearest resource to correct it. After gathering all this information, make sure everyone who may need it has it - give your staff hard copies and post on site in a visible to all staff location.
Things aren’t just going to fall and break. Not everything can be fixed by running a staff member to the nearest convenience store. What if the toilet backs up? What if (please no) two customers break out into a brawl over the last available piece of merchandise? Although it is highly unlikely, it is not impossible.
Have the phone numbers of the police, plumbers, landlord, and anyone you’d need ready. If appropriate, call ahead to find out if someone will be available in a pinch. As with nearby resources, gather this information and give a hard copy to staff or anyone who may need it and post on site in a visible to all staff location.
Other Nearby Events
You know what could ruin an otherwise perfect Pop-Up Music store? A free music festival on the other side of town. Or a road closure on the main road. Or major construction across next door. There are a number of happenings that can derail your pop-up store. Do your research when choosing your date and location to avoid major conflicts. Do your research AGAIN one to two weeks before the event – check in on local traffic, news and weather reports.
If something threatens to completely ruin the event, you will need to find a solution. Shuttle customers to and from the store. Find a way to incentivize them to come in. Reward customers who have – post photos to social of those who braved the storm, made it around the inconvenient construction, etc. as a special thank you (and don’t forget to use your event hashtag!)
Whether you’re the agency coordinating and executing the event or the brand marketing team hoping to impress the bigwigs, be prepared for them to be onsite observing and asking questions. That’s their responsibility. And don’t expect them to show up – invite them. Prepare for their arrival. Have someone available to give them a tour, answer questions, get them refreshments, etc.
Different venues have different policies. Find out exactly what you are responsible for. What are you obligated to do? Do you need to hire a service or can you manage clean up alone? Do you need to get everything in trash bins or do you need to take those bins to a dumpster? Take before and after pictures. These photos will help you prove that you left the venue the way you found it.
Use an Experienced Agency
We are a little biased here, but we know that if we were doing a pop-up store, we would want to trust it to someone like… well, us! You can choose whomever you prefer, but we strongly suggest an agency with past success. We don’t mind telling you that our first pop up, though tremendously successful, was a bit terrifying. It’s clear that there are a lot of factors to juggle. But we’ve become expert jugglers! We love executing pop ups and can’t wait to do more and impress our clients by delivering exactly what they want.
Don’t risk doing it yourself to save a few bucks. Do it right the first time and you’ll see the cost was well worth the result. And if you reach out earlier rather than later, we can better plan and negotiate, creating a more cost effective solution for you.
If you’d like to talk more about how a Pop-Up could work for your brand, contact us. And if you already have an idea and just need someone to execute, we’d love the opportunity to compete for your business!