If you trade online, would you like an opportunity to meet some customers face to face and let them see and touch your products, and recognise their quality? There would be a number of advantages to this, not least the invaluable feedback you could get, and the opportunity to promote your website first hand.
How you Can Do it
PopUp Britain is one of the organisations that recognised all this, plus the fact that at the moment there are lots of empty shops in our High Streets. It was launched in July 2012 by StartUp Britain to try to do something about it. It introduced the pop-up shop project, for which it persuades landlords to make shops available to local small businesses for two weeks at a time. The businesses pay £150 to share the space with, typically, five others, so the landlord gets £450 a week rent instead of nothing for the empty premises.
For those small businesses who don’t want the hassle of long leases or can’t take the risk of renting shop premises long term at present, it’s an excellent way to dip a toe in the water. Those who have had the experience feel it was well worth while.
The Pop up Shop Experience
An entrepreneur who was able to promote her child product business in pop-up shops reported that people want to see what something feels like and what the quality is like, and then, once they have seen you in the flesh, they’re no longer hesitant to visit your website. She emphasised the importance of talking to the customers and explaining the project and the aims of your business. If they like you they are more likely to do business with you, both at the time and online in the future.
A clothing retailer had been using market stalls for her sales but decided to try a pop-up shop for two weeks. She said that it brought a lot more customers and that more people heard about her, tried on the clothes and looked online. On the first day she had more than covered the fee for the two weeks rent. Another benefit was that she came into contact with other local entrepreneurs that she hadn’t met before. Using the pop-up shop brought them a shared camaraderie they hadn’t experienced before while they operated in isolation.
Preparation Is the Key
Before setting up in the store, it’s wise to prepare carefully. You’ll need to have cards or flyers to hand out, as well as clearly priced products to demonstrate and be available to buy. If possible, organise a launch event with some small freebies to draw people in.
You’ll also need to let as many people as possible know about it in advance. Blog about it and give it a prominent place on your website. Email your local customers and ask them to tell their friends and family. Ask your outsourced bookkeepers to spread the word too. Get your own friends and family committed to attending a launch. Promote it on as many social media platforms as possible.
It’s probably worth a try. What have you got to lose?