Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Pop-up shop

I just participated in a pop-up shop in Grantham. As a crafter, we were all used to being at our stands all the time. In the pop-up shop, we ran it as a 'normal' shop, where the customers could browse, choose and then make their payments at a central paypoint, just like a shop!
Sounds obvious, but why is this unusual?

We had about 25 different quality crafts, all handmade by crafters. Over the 5 days we were open, we had more than 2000 persons through the door, and everyone sold items. The venue was a large empty shop in a generally quiet shopping mall. The customers enjoyed having a new venue to go to, and welcomed us happily. Some were hoping we would be there for longer!

View of the pop-up shop. Photograph:Andi Emmett

In retrospect, the novelty of the new played a large part. We had returning customers over the week, and many wanted to know if we would be there in time for Christmas shopping.

I think that since there are so many empty shops in many shopping centres during this economic time, more and more property owners should re-think their strategies regarding the letting of their premises. I am not completely familiar with the T&C's of renting a shop, but I think many of them are long term, where it is not unusual for a contract to last for at least a year if not a few years. It also makes no financial sense (to me) to leave a shop empty when you could have reasonable short -term lets. The benefit for the shopping mall owners is that they get a greater footfall to their mall, and hence the attraction of more lets for the other empty shops.

People generally like seeing something new. Pop-up shops that are just 5 days long, perhaps spanning a weekend (Wednesday to Sunday) say, would enable word to get around, and bring returning customers. It may change the way businesses should be done. The longer term outlook for the property owners is that the pop-up shop could generate business potential for other long term businesses, and thereby the owners get their properties let at their “usual” T&C's.

Of course, running the shop would require volunteers like some of the participating crafts persons (the way we did it), and a good organiser (like ours). This worked out well for our first pop-up. Hopefully more empty shop owners will see the benefits, and encourage more (quality) pop-up shops.

We were In the News !