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August 8, 2021

Online Pop Up Shop: Cute Idea or a Flop?

There’s almost an art to setting up a pop shop in the blink of an eye, only to dismantle it in a few weeks. While the concept might seem a bit redundant, the truth is, pop-up shops can be a fantastic way for brands to connect with clients and drive home sales. And when it comes to an online pop-up shop, it’s a cost-effective way to build excitement about your brand and even test new ideas. Yet if executed incorrectly, your little venture can just as easily flop.

 So, should you invest your time and energy into popping up online? Read on to find out.

What is a popup shop?

Just as the name suggests, pop-up shops are temporary retail stores that ‘pop-up’ for a limited time only. While physical pop-up stores are location-bound where the owner typically needs to rent out a space for the pop-up, e-commerce pop-up shops are hosted completely online. From unveiling new products to re-selling best-selling items, the purpose of a digital pop-up store is to create an immersive shopping experience and show off your brand in a fresh light. 

Whether you’re an experienced retail business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur, a virtual pop-up shop is an excellent idea if you want to:

Why run a digital pop-up store?

Think fast, affordable and fun. The beauty of popping up online is that it’s an effective way to boost sales without having to invest so much energy and money into setting up a full-scale e-commerce solution.

Low risk- An online pop-up shop carries less risk than being locked into a long-term rental agreement.

Increase outreach- Having a digital presence means you can cast the net wide and expand your brand offerings to a broader audience.

Save money- Unsure about your business idea? Rather than setting up a physical retail space, cut down on investment costs by first testing your idea in a safe virtual space.

Brand visibility- Whether you’re promoting new stuff, launching an exciting campaign, or simply looking to enhance awareness, generating hype about your shop can lead to more website traffic and sales.

Test the market Validate customer demand by putting your product out there. If people start buying your items like there’s no tomorrow, it’s usually a sign that your business has what it takes to succeed.

Unleash creativity- A temporary pop-up environment gives you the creative license to explore fresh ways to sell your products. 

Unload old inventory- Breathe new life into old items and simultaneously clear up your inventory stock. 

Is a digital pop-up store right for me?

While anyone can set up an online pop-up shop, many choose not to. Like with any business venture, there is some stress and startup investment costs involved. But with the right mentality, commitment, and planning, your shop can succeed. 

Beyond the costs of setting up your site and e-commerce shopping platform, you should think about the goals, products, and length of time you want your shop running. Moreover, conducting market research and coming up with a marketing strategy to promote your virtual pop-up is important since it’ll ultimately boost your visibility and help you reach new customers. 

How to run an online pop-up shop

You don’t need a fancy space to run your pop-up. With the right technology, incentives, and strategy, it’s perfectly possible to drive brand awareness and sales to your doorstep. Below we’ve broken down four simple steps to running your pop-up space online. 

Step 1: Figure out your platform

Starting from scratch? Use a third-party platform like ShopifyWordPress or Squarespace to host your virtual pop-up. Whatever option you choose, just make sure your site is e-commerce friendly so consumers can easily shop your products.

Step 2: Understand your shop space and ideal customer profile

Are you trialing a new product, launching a one-time collection, or testing your business idea for the first time? Map out how you’ll use your shop to achieve your objectives. Next, look at who your target audience is and their motivations, shopping habits, and interest points. When you have a clear idea of who you’re targeting, it’ll be much easier to promote your pop-up to the right crowd.

Step 3: Market before, during, and after your pop-up

Drum up buzz for your pop-up. Use a mix of paid advertising and organic promotion to spread the word. Promote your venture across multiple channels like your social media accounts, business email, paid Google ads, and Facebook ads. As the word spreads about your site launch date, you’ll undoubtedly have an influx of traffic on the day of your launch.

Step 4: Analyze your pop-up shop’s success

Was your pop-up idea in vain or a smashing success? Look at key metrics like site traffic, sales, and stock levels to determine how successful your venture has been. 

Final verdict

While a pop-up shop is usually a physical store, don’t underestimate the power of virtual pop-up shops. More and more brands are opting to go virtual since there’s less of a startup cost involved than renting out a space. Plus, you get to highlight specific products in an immersive, user-friendly way that’s difficult to achieve in physical retail.  

Whether you’re an online retailer or a business looking to open in a new location, investing in an online pop-up concept is a fantastic way to generate sales and connect with new customers. Like with any business idea, it takes meticulous planning to succeed; however, it’s indeed a cute concept that deserves your consideration, at the very least.


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