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Your step-by-step guide to launching a pop-up shop or event

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Build buzz — and your brand

Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar retailer looking to go more digital or an ecommerce brand looking to go more physical, launching a pop-up shop or event is an excellent choice.

The pop-up store or event offers a happy medium between a tangible in-store experience and convenient digital engagement or shopping features.

Back in 2014, the pop-up industry was worth a whopping $3.16 billion and despite a dip in popularity in the following years, the pop-up event or store is back in business again.

Yes, pop-ups are on the rise and if you’re a modern business looking to expand your brand, the time to strike is, well, now.

To help you get started, we’re going to explore the rise of the pop-up shop and event, look at some inspirational examples, and explain how you can launch your own.

Let’s get started.

The rise of the pop-up shop and event

A pop-up shop is a temporary store that acts as an innovative, intimate brick-and-mortar store. A pop-up event is much the same, except it’s even more temporary, usually lasting for one to three days.

The pop-up shop phenomenon started in 2008 in the wake of the financial crash. At a time when retail and ecommerce businesses were suffering, pop-up stores offered a way of avoiding expensive leaseholds and reducing operational overheads.

Shortly after pop-up stores and events started, you know, popping up in various places, consumers were drawn to their intimacy as well as the novelty of going to a temporary branded space. The world of retail had entered a new age.

As mentioned, pop-up popularity dipped a little after 2014 to 2015, but these retail or ecommerce brand hubs never went away. And, as COVID-19 put a stranglehold on the way we live, the perceived value of pop-up shops or events has risen.

You see, mass isolation has highlighted the boundless value of ecommerce and the digital age. But, as some people want to get out there and dip their toes into the physical world once again, the pop-up shop is a real attraction.

Gucci, for instance, launched a series of pop-up shops in 2019 to attract different segments of its audience in a bid to boost its receding sales. “Gucci Pin,” as the project was known, launched stores with different themes including beachwear, offering immersive digital in-store features as well as dazzling interiors.

The initiative popped, proving to be a brand-boosting success, leading Gucci to launch more pop-up stores during the pandemic—like this one in Chicago.

“Pop-ups are about brand engagement, the experience, and introducing people to things they didn’t know about.”—Freddie Sheridan, retail expert

Related: Using customer segments to build lasting relationships

How launching a pop-up shop can expand your brand

Person holding canvas tote bagBy merging intimate brand shopping experiences with innovative digital features and touchpoints, the pop-up shop will help you boost brand awareness, increase engagement, and cement customer loyalty.

Approached the right way, the pop-up is a real winning combination. Today’s shoppers indeed love the convenience of online or ecommerce retailers, but there’s something attractive about the ability to see, feel, touch, and experience a product and its brand in the flesh.

Naturally, pop-up shops and events give ecommerce brands a ‘real world’ presence, but brick-and-mortar retailers looking to experiment with more innovative digital channels (or simply stand out from the crowd) stand to benefit just as much.

Create connections, gather intelligence

Pop-up stores or events offer retailers of all kinds the chance to bring their customers something fresh and exciting—an experience that lingers in the mind and keeps people coming back for more.

Not only will launching a pop-up store or event set you apart from the competition, but it will also empower you to test what works and what doesn’t. By looking at sales data and interacting with customers on the day, you will gather the intelligence you need to make vital improvements to your branding, messaging, products, and services.

Oh, and during busy seasons like the holidays, pop-up stores or events will help you attract more customers, earning more sales in the process.

Ride the crest of a new, exciting wave

Many businesses are starting to see the benefits of launching temporary pop-up shops, from Warby Parker to the Dollar Shave Club.

Not long ago, online bra manufacturer ThirdLove, launched a concept shop in New York’s Soho to meet the demands of people looking to connect with the brand in person. Meal kit business Blue Apron also opened up a temporary location for a month, where they offered customers swift, convenient cooking classes as well as an option to buy grab-and-go items.

Pop-up shops come in many shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: executed properly, they are incredibly well received by customers.

How to set up your pop-up shop or event

Now that you’re up to speed with the value of pop-up shops or events and what they can do for you, let’s look at the best way to launch one.

Source the right location

Person looking at their phone map application

Person looking at their phone map application

Your location will form the foundations of your pop-up shop or event’s success. You probably don’t have the same budget as ThirdLove or Gucci, but as long as you set a solid budget beforehand, you will maximize your chances of earning a solid return on investment (ROI).

Foot traffic, cost, and accessibility are the three main components that will help you choose the right location for your pop-up store or event.

When it comes to choosing the right location for your pop-up store or event, foot traffic, cost, and accessibility are your three main components.

First, you should look for temporary rental spaces within your budget, then create a shortlist. Visit each location and ensure it’s accessible to all and has enough space to display your designs, branding, and products.

If you’re struggling to make a firm decision, you can search online for public retail and location data in your region, picking the venue or space with the best foot traffic.

Decide on your concept

Once you’ve secured your location and settled your temporary lease terms (based on how long you want to run your pop-up store or event for), you should gather your team and create a floor plan based on where you want your sales desk, customer touchpoints, product stands and installations to go.

With your plan visualized, get together with everyone involved with the pop-up project and start brainstorming. The aim here is to settle on a strong theme or concept based on the current season, trends within your industry, a certain selection or category of your products, or an abstract theme you can play with, like ‘Space Travel’, ‘Going To The Beach’ or ‘Alternate Dimensions’, for example.

As long as it’s a theme or concept that will resonate with your audience, it’s likely to be a winner.

Related: Build and use your ideal customer profile and personas

Settle on your pop-up features

As we live in a hyper-connected digital age, there’s never been more scope for getting creative and bridging the gap between the physical and online world.

When you set up your pop-up, you should use features including QR codes or tablets that lead customers to content about your brand story, specific product pages, landing pages or email subscription portals.

Doing so will merge the digital with the physical while offering additional engagement as well as data gathering opportunities. Plus, in this day and age, this is the level of detail your pop-up visitors will expect.

In addition to equipping your store with digital touchpoints and preparing the right product or landing pages, here are other creative features you might want to consider.

Curbside pickup

Person carrying shopping bags and camera

Person carrying shopping bags and camera

If you have a main brick-and-mortar hub or a fully-fledged ecommerce store, you can entice customers to your pop-up shop or event by offering a buy online (or pre-order in-store) and pick up curbside option (a service also known as BOPIS). This approach offers people plenty of convenience, a personal level of service, and is likely to drive extra traffic to your pop-up shop or event.

Immersive installations

Creating an immersive element for your pop-up shop doesn’t necessarily require expensive tech or complicated bells and whistles.

If you can throw a little digital tech like augmented reality (AR) apps into the mix, that’s great. But, truly speaking, being immersive is simply offering your customers an experience they can get involved with, like:

  • A product showcase where customers partake in a little testing and offer their feedback.
  • An educational or practical (hands-on) workshop with an industry expert or social media influencer.
  • A musical performance or keynote talk based on relevant themes or subjects.
  • An in-store competition where customers can take a themed photo with a relevant hashtag and share it via social media (an effective brand awareness-boosting method).

Tip: If you are offering an immersive pop-up experience for your shop or event, setting up a simple booking system will help you keep footfall regulated while creating an extra element of buzz or a sense of exclusivity.

Market your pop-up shop or event

If you don’t promote your pop-up store or event, it’s unlikely you’ll get a consistent flow of visitors.

In the lead-up to your launch, you should reach out to relevant social media influencers in your niche and incentivize them to plug your shop or event into their audience. Coupled with a dedicated event or shop hashtag, this promotional approach will attract droves of shoppers that are likely to enjoy what you have to offer.

By investing in paid digital and print advertising, creating relevant articles, videos or posts for your blog, and getting active on social media, you will build an additional buzz while making the right people aware of your forthcoming pop-up venture.

Example of Amazon’s pop up shop for photo opportunitiesExample of Amazon’s pop up shop for photo opportunities
Ecommerce colossus Amazon offered its visitors a space for photo opportunities, encouraging them to share their snaps using a dedicated hashtag via social media. Source

Here are some hand-picked marketing resources fresh from the GoDaddy blog that will help you with your promotional efforts:

Offer multiple payment options

These days, customers command choice, convenience, and flexibility—payment options are no exception.

To secure those conversions and complete your end-to-end pop-up experience on the day, offering more than cash and debit card payment alone is a good idea.

Our guide to why you should offer multiple payment options for your customers will explain why.

Final thoughts

Launching a pop-up shop or event does take work, but once you’ve launched successfully, you will reap endless rewards including commercial growth, increased customer loyalty, and a boost to your bottom line.

Once you’ve launched your first store or event and offered your customers an experience that stands out in their memories, you can gather feedback and explore your engagement or sales data to make improvements for the next one. It’s an exciting time to try ‘popping up’, and certainly worth your investment if you’re looking to stand out from the crowd.

We wish you the best of luck and if you need help with setting up a digital storefront or promoting your pop-up venture, check out GoDaddy’s Website Builder.



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How to Start a Niche Foam Party Business: Kid’s Party

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Foam parties have become popular and are great fun. If you didn’t know what a foam party is, it is a party or event where participants have fun dancing amidst foam created by a machine. The machine creates bubbles of foams that envelop the place, creating a fun environment at the party. If you are a business person, then a foam party business is a great idea.

You can get a foam machine and use it to throw foam parties and make money from it – relatively affordably.

photo credit: Roaring Foam

Can you make money through foam parties?

Yes, you can make money if you have a foam machine. Parties are common, and party-goers get bored with the usual stuff. A foam party is an innovative way of partying. It allows participants to let go, dancing in joy amidst the foam. This kind of party would be popular, and you can make money by offering a different experience to participants.

Creating a niche market

When you want to make money from a business, you will find that there are many others with the same idea. You need to do something different so you can succeed. This is where finding a niche market helps. A niche market is a specific category to which you can cater. Kids Foam Party is such a niche market. While there are many businesses catering to foam parties in general, foam parties for kids is a niche idea. This is a business idea that can help you succeed and make money.

Planning your business

Now that you have found your niche, it is important to plan your business before you get started. The first thing is to be clear with what you are offering. You are offering a foam party, which is an event where there is a dance floor filled with suds. When this party is offered for kids, they will enjoy it the most. They would not only dance but play in the foam and have a great time in general.

Taking proper safety precautions like setting the depth of the foam and insisting on face coverings ensure there are no problems.

What do you need?

It is obvious that you need a foam machine if you plan to run foam parties. A foam machine is not too expensive. However, you need not buy one immediately. Since you are starting off with a new business, you can get a foam machine for rent. This is a cheaper option allowing you to rent a machine and use it whenever you need it. This will allow you to do a pilot run of your party business.

If the response is good and you start getting many events, then you can consider buying your own foam machine. This would work out better for you.

Kid having fun in foam
photo credit: Roaring Foam

Planning and executing foam parties for kids

With these basic concepts in mind, it is time you start planning your parties. Since you have chosen the niche of foam parties for kids, you need to explore different options. You can have foam parties to celebrate birthdays. There can even be parties for no reason but just to allow kids to have fun. Explore different themes for foam parties and plan the events.

Here are a few considerations to keep in mind while planning and executing foam parties for kids:

  • You need to find a venue to host the foam party. The ideal location is outdoors, so the foam does not create a mess inside. When the weather does not permit, you need to find indoor venues with a fairly big hall to organize the event.
  • Apart from the machine, you need the foam solution to create foam. You need to have sufficient foam machine solution to last the entire party.
  • Safety is a very important issue in foam parties. This is all the more important when you are dealing with kids. You need to have a clear plan for ensuring safety in your foam party. Communicate the plan with your clients so they are assured of the safety arrangements.
  • If you are doing the party indoors, you need a tarp to cover the floor and walls. It is important to cover up all the electric and other outlets to avoid them being damaged.
  • Placing plastic furniture is better since it won’t get damaged due to bubbles.
  • Safety arrangements for the kids are very important. Wearing shoes is a must. You can insist on goggles or face coverings to prevent allergies from the suds. You need to take adequate precautions to prevent kids from skidding and falling during the party. There is always a risk of accidents at a foam party, and you need to do everything to prevent it.
  • Preferably, get a waiver from guests to protect against liabilities.

With all this planning, you are now ready to execute foam parties and make neat profits from them.

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What open source-based startups can learn from Confluent’s success story

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It’s common these days to launch an enterprise startup based on an open source project, often where one the founders was deeply involved in creating it. The beauty of this approach is that if the project begins to gain traction, you have the top of the sales funnel ready and waiting with potential customers when you move to commercialize your business.

In the past, this often meant providing help desk-style services for companies who appreciated what the open source software could do but wanted to have the so-called “throat to choke” if something went wrong. Another way that these companies have made money has been creating an on-prem version with certain enterprise features, particularly around scale or security, the kind of thing that large operations need as table stakes before using a particular product. Today, customers typically can install on-prem or in their cloud of choice.

“A key aspect of these kinds of technology-developer data products is they have to have a combination of bottom-up adoption and top-down SaaS, and you actually have to get both of those things working well to succeed.” Jay Kreps

In recent years, the model has shifted to building a SaaS product, where the startup builds a solution that handles all the back-end management and creates something that most companies can adopt without all of the fuss associated with installing yourself or trying to figure out how to use the raw open source.

One company that has flirted with these monetization approaches is Confluent, the streaming data company built on top of the open source Apache Kafka project. The founding team had helped build Kafka inside LinkedIn to move massive amounts of user data in real time. They open sourced the tool in 2011, and CEO and co-founder Jay Kreps helped launch the company in 2014.

It’s worth noting that Confluent raised $450 million as a private company with a final private valuation in April of $4.5 billion before going public in June. Today, it has a market cap of over $22 billion, not bad for less than six months as a public company.

Last month at TC Sessions: SaaS, I spoke to Kreps about how he built his open source business and the steps he took along the way to monetize his ideas. There’s certainly a lot of takeaways for open source-based startups launching today.

Going upmarket

Kreps said that when they launched the company in 2014, there were a bunch of enterprise-size companies already using the open source product, and they needed to figure out how to take the interest they had been seeing in Kafka and convert that into something that the fledgling startup could begin to make money on.

“There have been different paths for different companies in this space, and I think it’s actually very dependent on the type of product [as to] what makes sense. For us, one of the things we understood early on was that we would have to be wherever our customers had data,” Kreps said.

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5 Hobbies That Make Money and How To Get Started

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Money-making hobbies range from walking dogs to blogging to creating and selling homemade goods.

Read about these profitable hobbies, as well as what you can expect to make.

1. Driving

Enjoy cruising around town? Give others a ride and make money by becoming an Uber or Lyft driver. Uber drivers make an estimated $5 to $20 an hour, and Lyft drivers earn about $5 to $25 an hour, according to SideHusl.com, a review site for money-making platforms. Note that earnings depend in part on when, where and how often you drive.

To become an Uber or Lyft driver, you must be the minimum age to drive in your area. You must also meet specific requirements related to your driver’s license, insurance and vehicle. Learn about these exact requirements in our guide to becoming an Uber or Lyft driver.

If you enjoy driving but don’t want people in your car, look into becoming a full-service Instacart shopper, which involves shopping for and delivering groceries. Uber Eats and Amazon Flex also offer opportunities to deliver food and other products to homes. Each of these gigs has its own set of requirements, though, so do your research before signing up.

2. Caring for dogs

If your favorite hobbies involve belly rubs, smooches and long walks in the neighborhood, try Wag or Rover. These apps enable you to walk, dog-sit or board pups overnight for money.

Rover and Wag work in similar ways. They both require you to be at least 18 years old, pass a background check and meet other requirements. For both, you create a profile, set your own rates, and use the app to choose which gigs to take. (See our Rover vs. Wag comparison for more specific sign-up and payment information, as well as how the apps vary in the services they allow.)

On both apps, the amount you earn depends on what you charge, how much you receive in tips, and which types of services you provide. As you would guess, boarding typically pays more than walking a dog, for example. But both companies take a bite from your earnings. Rover charges a 20% service fee per booking, and Wag takes 40%.

3. Blogging

If you have a blog that gets decent traffic, try making money from it. Blogging for money can take a few forms. One way is to host ads on your blog through a service like Google AdSense, which is free. Here’s the gist, according to Google: If your website is approved, then you choose where on it you would like ads to appear. Then advertisers bid to place ads where you designated, with the winner’s ads appearing in that spot. (People make money on YouTube through the same service.)

You earn some money when a reader clicks on one of these ads — but determining exactly how much you’ll make is tricky. Explore our guide to Google AdSense to learn more about it.

You could also try writing sponsored content, meaning companies pay you to write about their products. Or, become an affiliate through the Amazon Associates program. That involves linking to an Amazon product from your content and earning a commission when one of your readers clicks through and buys that item. Learn more about how to make money on Amazon through your blog.

4. Posting to social media

Love posting to social media and building a following? On Instagram and TikTok, many users earn money through sponsored photos and videos. Say you regularly post about your at-home exercise regimen. You may agree to post about a retailer’s resistance bands or sweatpants in exchange for cash or free products. (Sponsorships and affiliate marketing are also ways to make money from podcasts, in case that’s one of your hobbies.)

Sponsors may reach out to you to set up this kind of arrangement; you could contact them; or, in some cases, you may consider working through a third-party agency.

The type of content you post, as well as your number of followers and their engagement, will likely impact sponsorship opportunities. Learn more about how to make money on Instagram or on TikTok.

5. Selling your wares

There’s a marketplace for just about everything. So if you’re skilled in a hobby, consider trying to profit from it. For example, if you create jewelry or have an eye for thrifting quality clothes, try selling those items at a local flea market or yard sale, or on a neighborhood website such as Nextdoor or Facebook Marketplace.

Or look into an online market that could attract a wider range of buyers. Consider Etsy for crafts or Poshmark if you want to sell clothes online.

These websites charge fees that will cut into your profits. This guide to selling stuff online will help you think through the math and determine if your hobby can become a viable business.

What to consider before making money from your hobbies

Before taking any of the routes listed above, keep in mind that this work will likely affect your taxes. See our guide to self-employment taxes, which includes expenses you can deduct, and how to avoid penalties.

And as you aim to profit from your hobbies, consider whether you will continue to enjoy them through this new business lens. Let’s say knitting helps you relax. Will it continue to do so if you’re pricing, promoting and shipping your homemade wares through an online marketplace? And that blogging hobby: Will writing still be fun or cathartic if you’re occasionally throwing in a sponsored post?

It may be hard to answer these questions until you give the money-making approach a shot. But it’s worth reflecting on the potential trade-offs as you think about turning your hobby into a job.

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