2020.10.28

How to Open a Holiday Pop-up Shop

Written by Austin Chegini

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If you walk through any public square during the winter, you are bound to see people flocking to holiday pop-up shops. Each year, more of these mobile stores are entering the retail space, and the trend will only continue. PopUp Republic reports that the industry now produces $10 billion in sales. 

The National Retail Federation reports that 19% of retail sales happen at the end of the year. If you want to capitalize on this surge in demand, it might help to open a holiday pop-up shop. 

Why open a pop-up shop?

The end-of-year shopping rush should not be your only reason to open a pop-up shop. Instead, these retail locations are effective year-round and carry many benefits. 

What’s more, survey data found that most companies that host pop-up stores consider them to be successful, and over half say they’ll likely host another one.

Increase revenue

For almost any type of store, business owners only open a new location if they think it will increase revenue. This logic is no different when you start a pop-up shop. 

As long as you open your store in the right location, you will sell more products. Pop-up shops attract attention by creating a sense of exclusivity and urgency. Passersby will know your shop is a limited-time experience, and they will want to see what goods you’re offering. In fact, some fans waited in line for 11 hours just to enter Kylie Jenner’s pop-up store.

To add to this, opening a pop-up costs 80% less than creating a second traditional location. Instantly, your store can boost revenue and profit due to the lower operating expenses. 

Enter new markets

Opening a pop-up shop will put your products in front of more consumers. You will build larger brand awareness in the area and boost sales. Even once you close your temporary location, past customers will remember your brand and may visit your permanent stores. 

Perhaps you want to expand but are hesitant to commit to leasing a new storefront. Your pop-up can also be used to gauge the demand for your products in a new market. Depending on sales volume, you can determine if opening a permanent store is a sound investment. 

Liquidate inventory

Stores do not want to begin the new year with a surplus of seasonal items or outdated inventory. Dead stock can add to your operating expenses and crowd storage rooms.

When you open a holiday pop-up shop, you can sell your seasonal inventory when demand is high. However, this is also a chance to sell all other goods at a discounted price, such as out of season clothing or older models of electronics. 

Interact with the community

By running a pop-up during holidays, you can enjoy the festive atmosphere and get to meet new people. Not only is this fun, but it can also help you generate brand loyalty

Shoppers want to feel connected to the stores they support. Research shows that consumers want to support local businesses that offer personalized service. It’s important to treat every customer with care and employ the basics of suggestive selling. 

Steps to open a holiday pop-up shop

Review each item below to get your new store up and running.

1. Choose your products

What goods do you sell, and how can they benefit consumers during the season? 

For many shoppers, buying gifts, decorations, and other holiday-related items is at the top of the list. In fact, PopUp Republic found that 61% of shoppers visit pop-up shops for seasonal items during the holidays. 

Even if you don’t sell common items like wreaths, cookies, or other themed goods, you can still join in on the seasonal rush.

Consider bundling goods into baskets or packages. You make it easy for shoppers to imagine themselves giving the product as a gift. Through these bundles, you can sell everyday, as well as out-of-season items, that might not sell as well individually.

In addition to getting seasonal offers, customers want to feel a sense of exclusivity. pop-up shops are known for offering fun, limited-edition products. Businesses are known for offering branded goods or giving away free merchandise to the first few hundred guests. 

How can your business incorporate this approach?

2. Pick a location

Finding the right location is key. Many businesses open their pop-up shops at malls, festivals, galleries, and even city parks. These areas generate tons of foot traffic and can accommodate lines.

Will your shop occupy an empty space, or will you be setting up a standalone structure? It is usually better to rent out a retail space, especially if this is your first time running a short term store. To get some ideas, you can use a site like Storefront to view pop-up spaces for rent.

If you want to build your own pop-up shop, there are plenty of fun ways to create the perfect place. Some companies use empty shipping containers, inflatables, and even boats to set up their stores. These stores are sometimes full of fun activities, like ball pits, slides, and photobooths.

Although these experiences are quite the spectacle, your shop all depends on your market. If you are in a small town and only want to connect with your community, you can run your store from a simple party tent and be just as effective. 

Once you decide on your location, be sure to spread the word on social media. You can even let local press outlets know about your pop-up retail space. With concerted effort, your store can be the talk of the town. 

3. Set the scene

According to Bazaarvoice, Inc., 42% of consumers choose to shop at stores that have festive environments. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to bring traffic to your shop. Get your shoppers into the holiday spirit by creating fun-filled experiences at your pop-up shop. 

Fun decorating ideas for your store:

  • Set up a Christmas tree: Choose a corner of your pop-up to display a tree and presents. You can even put your own products under the tree to show customers how they will look as gifts! 
  • Hang lights and snowflakes: No matter where your store is located, create a winter wonderland that immerses customers in the holiday season.
  • Cover the ground and shelves in fake snow: If you only want to add a light touch to your store, white stuffing and glitter can help set the mood.

Once your decorations are in place, choose a festive playlist to inspire shoppers. Research shows that music can affect shopping behaviors, specifically how long guests stay in a store and how much they spend. If you want to make more sales, don’t play your music too loud and choose stores that have a slower tempo.

Lastly, make sure your staff spreads holiday cheer. As we mentioned earlier, shoppers want personal attention while holiday shopping, so great each one with a smile and try to learn what brings them to your store. 

4. Find the right displays 

Since this will be a temporary store, there’s no need to buy furniture and retail displays. Storing these items will be a headache, so it’s often better to rent anything you need for your shop.

Keep things simple. You do not have that much room in your shop, so you don’t want to crowd it with large displays. Try to use items that can serve two purposes, such as bookshelves that are aesthetically pleasing and can hold small items for sale. 

Make sure to follow the basics of visual merchandising to encourage your customers to interact with your products and maximize sales. 

5. Choose how to process payments

How do you plan to take payments? With nearly half of Americans carrying fewer than $20 in their wallets, you do not want to lose customers because you can’t accept credit and debit. Investing in the right point of sale system is crucial. 


You will want a POS that can:

  • Accept debit, credit, and contactless payments
  • Manage your inventory
  • Integrate with your accounting software
  • Process orders when offline

The Epos Now system runs on touchscreen computers, tablets, and mobile devices. You can access your back office from any internet-connected device to see sales data and inventory reports in real-time. Best of all, staff members can be trained to operate the POS in 15 minutes. 

Speak with a consultant today to learn more about Epos Now. 

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