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The 16 Best Pop-Up Shop Ideas for 2021

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Whether you started a business online or in a brick-and-mortar location, pop-up shops are a great way to increase your brand awareness, gain customers, and drive sales. Although there’s been a move away from brick-and-mortar stores as ecommerce has grown, many brands are finding that customers still like to experience their products or services and buy in person. And, customers may even be more motivated to buy if they experience a product in store versus purchasing online.

Exploring pop-up shop ideas and setting up a location could be a great next step in giving your customers a unique experience and driving sales. Not sure where to start? We’ll cover several of the best pop-up shop ideas so you can find the one that’s right for your business.

What are pop-up shops and why are they important?

Pop-up shops are temporary locations that enable customers to interact with products they’re often not able to, often for brands that only sell online. They can also be extensions of existing physical stores, popping up as new locations in other areas, or providing different product experiences than usual, such as demos or curated selections. Pop-up shops are an example of experiential marketing, designed to draw more customers to your store and build brand awareness.

The importance of customer experience in pop-up shops

Pop-up shops are all centered on customer experience. Because one of the main points of a pop-up shop is to drive traffic that turns into sales, it’s important to consider what kind of interaction a customer wants to have with your product in a novel way.

Are customers looking for demos? Are they looking for exclusivity? Are they looking to have a sensory experience? Are they looking to access your product in an unusual location? Consider all of these factors, which will help steer you to the best pop-up shop idea for your business.

16 creative pop-up shop ideas

Once you’ve figured out what you think your customers will respond to and what you’re hoping to accomplish as a business with your pop-up store, it’s time to choose the best pop-up store idea for you. Hopefully, you’ll be excited to see that there are lots of options to pick from, or use as a jumping-off point to brainstorm your own.

1. Holiday shops

The holidays are obviously big for many retailers—sales jump, and consumers are very focused on not only spending, but also on finding the right gift for their recipients. You can consider launching a pop-up shop that’s timed to the holiday shopping season, potentially opening between Halloween and Thanksgiving, when people begin to gear up for gifting.

Think about giving your pop-up location a holiday theme, which may potentially motivate buyers to purchase as they get into the holiday spirit.

2. Interactive product demos

Many ecommerce businesses don’t have brick-and-mortar outlets that enable customers to touch, feel, try, or even smell products. This might make customers hesitant to pull the trigger on a purchase if they’re not entirely sure that they’re going to like it in person.

One of the best pop-up shop ideas is to create interactivity with your products, and even demonstrate them to customers. This can be especially important if your product has a slightly higher-than-average education component, which is easier to teach in person than online.

3. Sampling tents

For food, beverage, and other consumer-packaged goods, sampling pop-ups can be a huge boost. You can set up a pop-up station that enables customers to try your product and then purchase on-site. This can prompt not only confidence in your product, but even help spur impulse purchases, since customers will hopefully want more after they taste.

For a sampling station, you might want to consider a mobile pop-up, such as a cart or a truck, to reach more customers. (More on this below.) This will let you go to where the customers are, rather than having to wait for them to find you.

4. Themed selections

Pop-up shops are generally small, which means there’s an emphasis on curation. One pop-up shop idea to consider is curating a themed shop, where customers get a specific selection of products from your line that all have something in common.

This could be any number of things. For instance, if you set up your pop-up store in New York, you could have urban-themed merchandise. Or, maybe you’re a clothing company that wants to just focus on your T-shirt line. Curating your selection can help consumers see many products they identify with, instead of having to search for one they like. It could even drive sales when they see how your products relate to each other.

5. Special guests

Customers often love the opportunity to meet special guests in person. If you have brand ambassadors—celebrities, influencers, experts—invite them to exclusively appear at your pop-up shop. This can drive foot traffic, especially for fans who might not be in your normal demographic.

Here, make sure you take advantage of social media to let people know who is going to be there, and see if you can ask your guests to promote your content on their channels as well.

6. Competitions

Don’t underestimate the power of competitive spirit. If your product lends itself to competition, invite customers to face off against each other in front of a panel of judges, or even fellow shoppers.

For instance, maybe you have a food product—host a competition over who can use your product to make the best dish. Or maybe you have clothing, and you can create a competition over who can style one item the best. There are lots and lots of possibilities, so get creative here.

7. Vending machines

Your pop-up store doesn’t have to be within a tent or a traditional storefront. If you have a small product, consider popping up vending machines in high-traffic areas. Here, customers will instantly be able to get access to your product without having to wait for it to ship to them. It might even drive impulse purchasing. This could work for a number of different products: packaged food, makeup, books, and more.

8. In-store experts

Customers always like to learn from experts who can teach them how to get the most out of a product. Maybe you bring in an esthetician for mini spa treatments to demonstrate your skincare products. Maybe you have a personal stylist to help customers pick out clothes. Maybe you have a chef demonstrate how to use your spices. You can bring in outside experts, or utilize your own staff members if you have an expert on your team.

9. Discounts and bonuses

Some companies like to offer promotions to customers who visit their pop-up shop. For instance, you can offer limited sales on certain products, or a percentage or dollar figure off of certain purchases.

You can also consider giving away free products with a purchase that are only available at the pop-up shop. For instance, maybe you have a fragrance company. Customers who purchase a full-size bottle could get a free bonus of a travel size, too.

10. Mobile store

Pop-ups don’t just have to exist in stationary spaces. A mobile store is a great idea for many businesses that want to reach lots of different customers in different locations and neighborhoods. This could be a truck, van, bus, or a cart—whatever suits your business best.

And mobile stores aren’t just for food brands, like a food truck. You could set up a station to try products or experience them outside of the physical vehicle, too—which can help bring in additional passersby as well.

11. Customization

Another trendy pop-up shop idea is customization—enabling buyers to customize their products on-site. Maybe this means monogramming or picking special colorways. If customers usually have to wait to get their products personalized, being able to provide this service same-day could be an incentive to purchase.

12. Previews and early releases

A lot of brands build up anticipation for product launches. And you don’t have to be a major electronics company with a stage to get customers hyped for the next thing in your product line. Consider building a pop-up that enables customers to preview new products or styles that are coming (you might even find valuable feedback from customers as they interact with your new products, too).

Alternatively, your pop-up store might enable customers to get their hands on a new release faster than customers who are just shopping online.

13. Entertainment

Bring customers to your pop-up store with entertainment. Music, dancing, photo booths—anything that customers will find exciting (or Instagrammable), and want to go out of their way to attend. If you’re hosting a performance, create breaks between sessions so customers can spend time shopping around, too.

14. Exclusivity

Another pop-up shop idea is to create a product that’s only available at the pop-up. Maybe it’s a certain scent or colorway, a new design, or a limited edition of one of your products. This can drive customers, especially big fans of your brand, to show up to your pop-up to get their hands on a product that they otherwise couldn’t under normal circumstances.

15. Charitable donations

If you’re an ethical company, consider integrating giving into your pop-up shop. You can donate a percentage of the profits from your pop-up shop to a charity that aligns with your brand’s mission. For example, say you run a company that creates reusable products to avoid disposable plastic. You could take 10% of your profits from your pop-up and donate them to a cause that fights ocean pollution.

16. Behind-the-scenes look

Providing a behind-the-scenes look at your brand gives shoppers an exclusive experience. Consider hosting a pop-up store that shows how your product is created from start to finish. This isn’t for everyone, especially those who outsource their products. But for handmade goods, this could be an interesting approach.

The bottom line

Although many think of a pop-up shop as a tent or small location to sell products in person, there are actually many variations of pop-up stores—and some could fit your business or product better than others. Consider your resources and how your target audience would like to connect to your product before choosing the pop-up store idea to pursue. If you like several ideas on this list, you might even be able to combine them for the perfect experience.

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

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How to Kick-Start Your Online Clothing Resale Gig

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With the recent rise of resale apps like Depop and Poshmark, the idea of selling old clothes online is becoming more fashionable. Many people have turned clothing resale into a lucrative side gig or even a full-time job, gaining thousands of followers and making dozens of sales per week.

The secondhand-clothing market is projected to more than triple by 2030, according to a 2021 study by reselling platform Mercari and research firm GlobalData, as more fashion enthusiasts clean out their closets and search thrift stores to find valuable pieces to resell.

But whether you have a collection of band T-shirts or office attire, finding success on these platforms takes time and effort. Before diving into your closet, there are a few things to know.

You set your prices

Unlike consignment and resale shops, you can price items yourself on an online platform. Before listing a piece of clothing, look it up on multiple platforms to find out what it’s currently selling for. Depending on age, condition and brand, prices can vary widely.

You can also take advantage of direct messaging to negotiate with buyers and use features on apps like Depop and Poshmark that let you accept offers and create multi-item discounts.

“Sales can be sporadic,” says Andres Castillo of Los Angeles, who sells rare designer pieces through Depop, eBay and Instagram under the name Debonair Vintage. With rare or high-value items, it may take a while to find the right buyer, especially if you’re looking to break even or make a profit.

There’s a big time commitment

“I treat [reselling clothes] like my job,” says Eve Perez, a full-time student in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, who sells under the name Fitsfinesse and was featured in Teen Vogue in 2021 for her Depop success. She responds to messages daily, on top of taking product photos, sewing custom pieces, and packaging and shipping orders.

Communicating clearly with first-time buyers is essential: “If you don’t build that relationship, then you won’t get sales and returning customers,” she adds.

Although you have control over the prices, reselling online takes much more time and energy than selling to consignment stores. According to Depop, sellers who list consistently — around 15 items per week — sell more over time.

“It takes a lot of time and dedication,” says Castillo. Top-notch sellers have to learn to take eye-catching photos, understand shipping rates, negotiate over text, and research brands and trends to make the most of their inventory.

Overhead costs add up

Yes, you can set your prices — but there are a few overhead costs to factor in. Online resale platforms charge commission fees, plus additional fees for shipping through the platform or accepting payments through a processor like PayPal. Depop takes 10% of every sale and eBay takes 15%; Poshmark takes $2.95 for items under $15 and 20% for items over $15. PayPal, which integrates with Depop, Poshmark and eBay, charges another 3.49% plus 49 cents per transaction for payment processing.

On top of that, you’ll need to pay for packaging, label printing and possibly storing inventory including bins, hangers and shelves. Top sellers also recommend adding a personal touch in shipments, like free stickers, small accessories or a thank-you note. When all those costs add up, you may find that only higher-value items are worth listing.

You can cut costs by reusing shipping mailers and boxes, and printing labels at your local FedEx or UPS store instead of purchasing a label printer. Or, reduce shipping costs for buyers by bundling several items into a single shipment, which can motivate buyers to purchase more from your shop.

The social aspect is a priority

The most successful online resellers have one thing in common: a strong personal brand. Finding your niche and building a loyal following is essential to long-term success on a resale platform.

“It’s like Instagram, but for selling,” says Perez, who focuses on curating a consistent aesthetic and marketing her shop on social media platforms like TikTok.

Castillo grew his business by catering to a very specific market: vintage designer collectors, specifically for Moschino and Chanel. He sells across several platforms, using his Instagram to rent pieces out to stylists for photo shoots and red-carpet events. Though he targets a fairly small community, his narrow focus helps him reach his ideal buyers.

Other top sellers on resale platforms can be seen taking a similar approach, with shop themes ranging from band T-shirts to vintage gowns. “Lean into your personal taste,” says Castillo. Even if you don’t have a curated collection to sell, personalized packaging or a unique photo background can help your items stand out.

Both Perez and Castillo emphasize the importance of cross-linking social media platforms to reach as many potential customers as possible. Creating a dedicated Instagram Business account and following other online sellers and designers can help drive buyers to your shop. Check popular pages for trendy hashtags and add those to your posts. Making the time to promote on social media can help transform your closet into some serious income.

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Turning Your Hobby into a Business? Here is What You Need to Know

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Do you dream of one day quitting your job and following your passion in life? You can do it! Many successful entrepreneurs turned their hobbies into profitable businesses.

Do you have a hobby? Doing the things you love keeps you engaged with life, gives your mind a focus, and helps you enhance your concentration. Investing time in your hobby also provides you with a great way to relax, unwind, and relieve daily stress.

photo credit: Giulia Bertelli / Unsplash

You shouldn’t be ashamed of your hobby even if your friends and family don’t share it. Only because they find interest in something else doesn’t mean that no one in the world shares the same interests that you do. In fact, millions of people engage in the same hobby as you do daily.

So if you thought that no one shared your enthusiasm for this activity until now, think again. Whatever activity you can imagine, millions of other people on the planet are doing it as you read this article.

If you’re one of the individuals who wonder how they can transform their hobby into a successful venture, this article provides information on how to start a business based on the things you love.

Do a Self-assessment

Do you know what it takes to turn your hobby into a lucrative business? Do you have the required stamina and energy to take the necessary steps and transform it into a venture? Yes, it would be nice to spend your days doing what you love and making money, but make sure you don’t ruin your hobby by transforming it into a business. You started pursuing it to blow off some steam, but you could take its charm away if you add a lot of pressure on it to deliver money.

Research to understand what starting a business in this sector implies and make sure there’s a paying public before you bet the farm on it. Running a successful company requires plenty of work and responsibility, two things that could take the fun out of your hobby.

Plant hobby as a business

Test The Idea

If you decide that you have what it takes to turn your passion into a business, the next step is to test the concept by starting a side hustle. When the profits reach a level that allows you to cover monthly bills and support yourself, you can quit your job and pursue this venture.

However, don’t leave your present job if your side gig doesn’t make enough cash flow to last you at least two years. Be ready for the shock you’ll get when you turn from getting a monthly salary to having to pay taxes yourself. To make sure that you won’t worry about housing, food, or monthly bills, save up at least two years of living expenses.

Research

Before investing time, money, and effort into starting a business, take a look at the market and see what your future competitors are doing. Research the niche online, on social media and among the public to see what customers expect from you and what other companies provide.

You can research the market on your own or hire a professional company to do it for you. It’s recommended to work with specialists because they know the aspects that require extra attention and can help you determine if starting a business in this niche is worth it.

Make a list of your biggest 10 competitors and analyse their activity to figure out what they do to position themselves as leaders in the industry. Check their website, evaluate its functionality, and have a look at their Google ranking. Remember that people start searching for a product or service online in the present digital world, and it’s crucial to rank high in search engines to reach your ideal customer.

After doing research, you’ll have a clear idea of what you’re dealing with in terms of competition.

Reading small business plan

Write a Business Plan

The business plan serves as a blueprint for your company, and you’ll definitely need it if you want to apply for a loan. However, don’t skip creating a business plan because it’s quite useful in starting your venture, even if you don’t seek funding. Research shows that the business people who make a detailed business plan are 16% more likely to develop a profitable business.

Here are some elements your business plan should include:

  • Financial plan
  • Executive summary
  • Business overview
  • Management team
  • List of services and products
  • Marketing and sales plans
  • Marketing strategies
  • Metrics and milestones

If you want to transform your hobby into a profitable business, you need to take it seriously and write a complete business plan.

Build a Brand

Branding is essential when trying to build an easy-to-recognise business. It would help if you had a unique business name and logo that match your company’s personality and values. Pick brand colours that resonate best with your target audience, and craft a message they resonate with.

You can use free online tools to create a logo and elements for your business cards and advertising materials. Canva is such a solution that provides access to a huge library of elements.

Digital aisles

Establish a Strong Web Presence

In the digital era, all businesses need an online presence to attract attention and reach their target audience, no matter their size or specific. You should create a website that allows you to present the benefits your clients get if they purchase your products and even create a shop page that allows them to buy online. However, establishing a solid web presence extends beyond creating a website. It also implies creating and maintaining the page, connecting it to social media profiles, and posting regularly on the blog.

Your purpose is to brand your company as an authority in the industry that also provides valuable pieces of advice beyond selling products.

Try to be consistent in how you present yourself to your public because you need to establish an image. Your web presence and brand are the main elements that impact your company’s identity and help loyal clients differentiate your products from your competitors.

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Q&A With Dr Ryan Shelton on Starting Up a Natural Healthcare Business

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”Dr Ryan Shelton is the Medical Research Director For Zenith Labs. He believes that there is a way to help sick people with natural treatments complimenting the conventional pharmaceutical approach. He has created a regimen of natural treatments consisting of holistic and complementary medicine, and it’s all backed up by science-based research.

Dr Ryan Shelton had dreams about being a doctor from a young age. His love for helping people inspired him to study the human body and how its internal and external environments change it for the better or for the worse.

Dr Shelton’s path to becoming a doctor was anything but typical. His undergraduate education focused on biochemistry and genetics. After attending medical school for one year he withdrew to “think in slow motion” and received another degree in Philosophy. He left because he disagreed with the way doctors were being taught to practice medicine. Dr Shelton believed that the better way to treat his patients was to heal their whole bodies rather than just treating the symptoms.

After receiving his Philosophy degree, Dr Shelton understood how important it would be to be able to treat or prevent chronic diseases holistically. He returned to medical school, where he earned his Naturopathy Doctorate. Now, Dr Ryan Shelton gets to follow his passion by helping his patients achieve their best overall health through natural remedies.

With chronic disease being on the rise, Naturopaths like Dr Shelton want to do their best to try and stop it from spreading by treating patients holistically. He does this by turning their food into medicine first and using natural remedies to increase their overall health. His goal is to balance his patient’s systems, and he passionately believes that his ultimate goal is to help his patients achieve optimal health.

Dr. Ryan Shelton’s work with Zenith Labs has helped him attract patients interested in pursuing wellness rather than focusing solely on disease care. His successful medical practice complements this passion, as does the company he founded. Whether you’re looking to improve your overall wellness or just want an alternative to the traditional pharmacological regimen, Dr Ryan Shelton has a plan for how to help you.

Hello Dr. Shelton, can you briefly tell us who you are and what you do?

Currently, I’m the medical research director for Zenith Labs and a Naturopathic Doctor with a successful private practice. I am also the Wellness Director and on the admissions team for a behavioral therapeutic program.

For the last few years, I’ve been running an online supplement business where people outside of where I am can get the same kind of advice that I give to my in-person patients from anywhere in the world. I do my best to promote a concept of total wellness and natural health solutions.

I have developed several natural health regimens over the years based on my research. I’m working hard to teach people that everything else will follow if they improve their overall health.

Please describe your company in a few words

Yes, it is a company, but really what we’re trying to promote here is a culture. Sure, we could go online and sell supplements till the cows come home. Lots of people do that. This naturalistic approach has been my life’s work ever since I was in medical school. I initially left medical school because I felt that the traditional way medicine was practiced was to treat the symptoms rather than treat the whole person.

I’m working hard to use my company as a vehicle to teach my customers and patients that they can improve their total body health, which makes healing other symptoms easier.

What is your company’s biggest achievement in recent years?

The surge in online business, I would say, has been our best achievement in recent years. When we first moved into this space, I felt like the company wasn’t getting the attention it deserved. We did traditional promotions and bought advertising, but nothing was really getting us over that plateau.

Just when I thought I might have to just let it go, word of mouth started spreading, and it spread like crazy. Satisfied patients were telling other people about what they’d experienced by using these treatments, and those people turned out in droves to get these benefits for themselves.

In what direction do you see natural healthcare going?

The coolest thing I think I have seen recently is that natural medicine is becoming more and more mainstream all the time. For a long time, people who preferred natural remedies were seen as “uninformed” or “Weird.”

Nowadays, people are flocking to find out what natural remedies they can incorporate into their own life. We’ve all seen so many odd things come from big pharma over the past ten years, so is it any wonder people are looking for a way that they can take charge of their own health. It will become much more focused on environmental medicine, lifestyle medicine, and anti-aging medicine.

We will begin using natural treatments not in response to crises, but rather to promote a level of optimal health not yet seen in the general population.

Natural medicine
photo credit: PhotoMIX Company / Pexels

Which recent developments in your industry do you find exciting?

The way in which people seem to be flocking to natural medicine. It’s no longer on the fringes of people’s thoughts. I see people take a more open-minded approach to learn about things that natural healers from around the world have known for centuries.

The general attitude that people have, that they want to discover things for themselves rather than just taking the proscribed wisdom as gospel, is really exciting. I feel like I’m getting closer and closer to being able to reach more people than ever before.

Again, environmental medicine and anti-aging, natural agents specifically targeting your unique specific genes and DNA to promote optimal health. The days of degeneration and disease are hopefully going away soon.

What keeps you motivated?

My vision. It’s been front and center in my mind since I was a child. I watched so many of my older relatives that suffered from chronic conditions just wither away with the traditional medical approaches. I knew there had to be a better way, and I feel like I’ve found it.

What keeps me motivated is the drive to bring what I’ve found to as many people as possible, so maybe they won’t have to watch their loved ones suffer as I did.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the health field?

Hang in there. It’s the best advice I could give anyone. Medical school is tough, and it should be. Then you’ll have your residency and boards, which are brutal. Becoming a doctor is a privilege that we, as a society, only bestow on those who have proven themselves to be the best at what they do.

If being a medical professional is your dream, then hang in there, and fight for it tooth and nail until you’ve achieved your dream.

Thanks for your time, Dr Shelton!

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