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Sarah Ward

Pop-Ups: Guide to 7 Creative Pop-Up Shop Tips and Ideas

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There’s a type of business that’s been growing in popularity and volume over the years: pop-ups. Pop-ups include a variety of hospitality businesses, shops, and venues, such as:

  • Flea markets
  • Co-op market spaces–a consumer-owned and guided grocery shop
  • Farmers’ markets
  • Food trucks–similar to a quick service restaurant
  • Test kitchens
  • Touring markets
  • Virtual events–like a wine tasting

These events are great ways to showcase your business, reach a new crowd, and test out ideas–whether it’s a fresh recipe or a completely new business branding technique. 

In this blog post, we’ll walk through the meaning behind pop-up shops and related venues and their importance. We’ll also dive into ideas you can use for pop-up shop ideas and pop-up business marketing, to get you ready for your first–or next–pop-up event.

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Pop-Up Shop: What Is a Pop-Up Shop?

So, what is a pop-up shop? A pop-up shop is a temporary business event or offering. It can be a recurring pop-up or a one-off event.

A pop-up shop can be in an established building, like a test kitchen or a weekend rented event for a pop-up restaurant. It can also be in a more casual setting–like a flea market, farmer’s market, or food truck gathering with a different level of event management. 

One notable type of pop-up event outside of commonplace ones is virtual events. A business can host a virtual pop-up event in the form of a virtual wine tasting–with lessons on wine tasting terms. It could even be a boxed meal kit–like a variety of custom subscription boxes–that gets sent out on a specified day. That kit can coincide with a virtual event taking place at the meal time.

Pop-ups are a great way to drum up business and test out new ideas. They can also be the perfect way for new businesses to find their footing with low initial operating expenses. Next, we’ll walk through seven ideas to use for pop-up shop and event settings, to make sure your event pops off.

7. Offer a Freebie or Two

The idea to offer something for free comes in at number seven because it’s not a leading (or profitable) practice for businesses. However, it is still important for pop-up events.

Something as small as a free dish topping or a sticker can make the difference between a humdrum event and an opportunity to win the respect of new lifetime customers. In other words, it’s one of the many timeless customer retention strategies.

6. Make It Immersive

For number six, making your pop-up shop or event immersive will mean something different depending on your business. Generally, you can make a pop-up event immersive by drawing customers in and offering a unique experience to showcase your business. This could be a live music event, a game of bingo, or even a raffle. 

5. Create Test Menus

Number five is for any business that is selling food or drinks of any kind. A pop-up event is a perfect time to work with test menu options. You can see what works well, and you can also make dishes in small batches. That will cut down on costs for these limited menu options as an option for cost reduction strategies in restaurants

"Key Takeaway: Pop-ups are a great way to drum up business and test out new ideas. They can also be the perfect way for new businesses to find their footing."

4. Offer Limited Merchandise

Number four is in the same vein as test menus, only this time, the limited items are merchandising offers. From tote bags to water bottles to mugs, branded merchandise that can only be purchased at your pop-up events will delight customers. Also, it'll make prospective buyers check out what you have to offer. 

3. Make It Social Media-Friendly

Designing your pop-up space for social media and content marketing opportunities is all about creating a space where customers will want to post about your aesthetic and business. From designing a colorful, branded booth to keeping everything aesthetically pleasing, you should keep a social post in mind when you’re setting up your space, which also boosts your organic social media ROI

2. Amp Up Your Brand

Number two is the need to showcase the best and brightest aspects of your brand at your pop-up spot. Some branding is subtle, like the hyperlink hover-over color on the company site and custom QR code usage. Other branding, like statement wallpaper and unique decor like antique furniture or contemporary artwork, is bold and well-suited to pop-ups.

1. Make Sustainable Plans

When you hear the term sustainable, you often think of environmentally-friendly efforts–including eco-friendly restaurants. While that is important, it’s not what we mean for number one.

In this case, making sustainable plans is all about planning for future pop-up events. Choose branding options you can reproduce, or find efficient ways to buy or make branded merchandise. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s a semi-long-term option, with the plan of a 3-6 month-long pop-up situation in mind.

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Small Business Pop-Up Market

Small businesses and pop-up shops and events go together like a lamb wine pairing. Small businesses are closely intertwined with creative marketing and the viral space–in social media and in person–of promoting businesses and brands. They work well with the niche, creative atmosphere a pop-up event fosters. 

All that goes to say, if you’re operating a hospitality business and looking for small business marketing opportunities, a pop-up space is a good way to start. You’ll find a niche audience, and you’ll be able to test out new ideas in a relatively low-risk capacity. You’ll also have the benefit of connecting with other small businesses, collaborating, and learning from each other. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Pop-Up Shops

Pop-up shops are a unique space within businesses, small businesses, and brand promotion. They occupy a space that is nuanced in many ways outside of standard business practices.

As such, there are plenty of questions hospitality business owners have about pop-up shops and events. Our answers to these frequently asked questions will help you navigate the pop-up space.

Are Pop-Up Stores a Good Idea? 

Pop-up stores are a good idea for many business types and businesses of different levels of age and establishment. Pop-ups can be one of the best ways for new businesses to get off the ground and reach their goal audience. For established businesses, pop-ups are perfect for reaching new customers and testing out new products. 

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Pop-Up Shop? 

The cost to open a pop-up shop is highly situationally specific. One constant cost is your production costs, from recipe costs to brand promotion, which will be entirely dependent on your business. 

Depending on the location you want and the type of event, the cost can start with as little as $2,000 for a short-term pop-up. As you make different pop-up plans, it can range up into the tens of thousands for a long-term, substantive pop-up.

How Long Do Pop-Up Stores Last? 

Pop-up stores, depending on the type of store or event, can last anywhere from one day to six months. That includes the potential for renting a temporary space or buying booth space at different markets. Some businesses remain in the pop-up space indefinitely because they are well-suited to the pop-up audience. 

Do Millennials Like Pop-Up Shops?

Millennials and Gen Z alike both like pop-up shops, and are an ideal audience for pop-up events. Pop-up shops can benefit tremendously from social media attention. The Millennial and Gen Z generations are in the key range of people who are sharing on social media and boosting businesses. 

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Pop Into the Pop-Up Scene

Pop-up shops and events are a great way for businesses to reach a new audience, test ideas, bring in profits, have moderate expenses, and expand their industry network. The quality of a pop-up space lies in its ability to give you all of that, in a way that is unique and workable for your business. 

For more information on business advice and hospitality industry solutions, come back to the BinWise blog any time. Visit our sister site, the BlueCart blog, for eCommerce business solutions and order management advice. Check out the Revolution blog, another BinWise partner, for everything from event management solutions to consumer data to help your business.

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