How to Open a Pop-Up Shop in the UK

Over the last few years, pop-up shops have been literally popping up all over the UK. This increasingly popular retail phenomenon allows businesses to market new products and reach new customer bases without the inflated expenses and risks associated with the long-term rental of a traditional high-street store.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking to take their first step into the world of retail, an e-commerce business expanding its operations into the realm of brick-and-mortar stores or an established brand which wants to try something new, opening up a pop-up shop in the UK is easier than you might think. Here’s a quick rundown of the steps you should follow when starting down this exciting new road:

  • Market research

Before you make any moves towards the rental of a space, you should have a clear picture in your mind of the target market you’re trying to reach and the goals you wish to achieve from the endeavour. Find out who your customers are, what they like, where they shop and when they do it.

  • Do your sums

While pop-up shops are far cheaper than traditional long-term leases, any business venture requires a sufficient amount of capital to get things off the ground. Create a realistic business plan and financial forecast before you begin, then investigate potential sources of credit which mesh well with the unique circumstances of your business.

  • Find a location

Perhaps the most important ingredient in the success of a pop-up store is its physical location. Anywhere with high footfall – such as a shopping mall, high street or international event – is an ideal choice. Alternatively, subletting a small section of an established store can piggyback on that pre-existing success and reputation.

  • Read the small print

When finalising the deal with the property owner, make sure you know exactly what is and isn’t included in the lease. Utilities? Damage liability? Licensing? Insurance? Ideally, a trained solicitor should check everything over before you sign any binding documents to make sure you know where you stand.

  • Get the design right

One of the principal attractions of a pop-up store is its novelty; take advantage of that with an eye-catching design to generate an immersive shopping experience for your customers. For best results, contract an experienced retail designer who can create a beautiful aesthetic for your business.

  • Get the word out

With small-scale operations such as pop-up shops, customer awareness is all important. Make sure everyone knows about your temporary retail location through an aggressive marketing campaign across all of your channels, including social media, email, website and other promotional materials. A grand opening day, with perhaps some free giveaways or competitions, is a good way to raise awareness.