The pop-up store is not a new concept. Retailers of seasonal merchandise such as Halloween costumes, Christmas gifts and fireworks have used pop-ups for years to sell their merchandise. It’s a growing industry with no signs of slowing down. According to data from industry research firm IBIS World, the number of pop-up stores in the United States has jumped 16 percent to 2,380 in 2012 from 2,043 in 2009. There are even businesses opening around the country devoted to helping retailers match up with property owners to find temporary pop-up locations.
Year-round retailers are also starting to open pop-up locations as a way to complement their business, expose their brand to new audiences, test new locations and products, and increase sales at a fraction of the cost of opening a traditional store.
While a pop-up store can come in any shape or size, the same key elements should be considered in order to set up, run and manage any successful store. These include:
- Store Training Program – Many times temporary help is brought in to staff the pop-up store so it’s important to have a training program in place that ensures employees—both new and old—can quickly get fully up to speed on the product catalog, how to use the in-store POS system, and fully understand corporate policies in order to deliver a fantastic in-store shopping experience.
- Preparing for the Unknown – In retail, being prepared for the unknown is extremely important in ensuring that there are no disruptions in service to customers. Nothing would be worse than having to turn buying customers away if sales associates were unable to complete a transaction due to down or spotty internet service within your pop-up location. Be sure that your POS system has an offline component so that service is not disturbed and store associates are still be able to access customer data and inventory information, and complete transactions. Because the data is cached, once the system is back online, the system should be able to automatically synch in real time.
- Real-Time Visibility into Inventory and Management – A pop-up store can’t run on an island all by itself. Having a system that allows store associates to access
real-time inventory levels across all stores and warehouse locations is key for meeting consumer demand and replenishing products when a sell-out is imminent.
- Endless Aisle – Pop-up stores typically carry a subset of their typical inventory within the temporary location. While this tactic is a great way to introduce your brand or specific products to new audiences it can also be limiting, especially if new customers come in and don’t see what they want or anything that interests them. Utilizing the endless aisle model by installing in-store kiosks within the store or equipping sales associates with tablets that can access the full product catalog can help in saving a sale
-Branden Jenkins, NetSuite GM of retail/etail