Market your business through a pop-up shop
Category: Sales and Marketing | 22 January, 2013 12:33
Pop-up shops are becoming the latest thing for businesses looking to increase their exposure to potential customers and clients.
With markets and various events set up to showcase the newest goods and services companies are manufacturing, a pop-up shop is a great way to get involved. At a time when business rates are rocketing, more and more firms are looking to get their products out on the high street without the need to shell out huge sums of money.
Whether it's retailers aiming to give their retail sales a little boost or seeing if their wares will sell before launching, pop-up shops are appearing in almost every town and city centre across the UK.
Matthew Hopkinson, director at the retail research specialist Local Data Company (LDC), said: "I definitely think the number of pop-up shops has increased over the last year, as it has over recent years."
The short-term nature of the pop-up shop is very appealing to many firms, particularly those that operate online, with the busy festive period a major target.
Showing consumers what you are selling is important, as they may not come across your website naturally. Taking some samples and giving out small gifts, as well as the details of how to get to your website is vital, and you never know, it could lead to a lot of sales that you may not have received otherwise.
Christine Cross, chief retail adviser at PricewaterhouseCoopers, recently told The Independent that pop-up shops provide businesses with a good way of giving some "high-profile leverage" to a brand. She added that it also offers the opportunity to conduct some market research and establish whether or not there is a market for a new product or service, before going ahead and investing in it.
"[They provide] a low-risk strategy to test and learn in new domestic or international locations," she concluded.
If you think setting up a pop-up shop is too much like hard work then there is some good news as the government has pledged funding to entrepreneurs and small businesses that want to get involved in the trend.
The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) with 'Pop-up Britain', a branch of the entrepreneurial campaign Start-Up Britain, will offer low-cost retail floorspace for start-ups in Whitehall, which is aimed at helping small companies get more exposure than they currently have.
The move is part of the government's plans to regenerate the struggling UK high street, which has seen a host of high profile issues in recent months and years, with the likes of Woolworths, JJB Sports and Comet failing to cope with the rising costs of bricks and mortar stores. The new pop-up shop is being opened in time for final Christmas present buying this week by communities secretary Eric Pickles and local growth minister Mark Prisk.
It is located in the Victoria-based government office building and it is hoped it will act as a blueprint for high streets around the UK.
Mr Pickles unveiled the Whitehall shop with The Apprentice winning entrepreneur Tim Campbell. Every two weeks six small businesses will move into the shop, sharing costs and showcasing their exciting new ideas to a different audience, with the hope of securing extra revenue just ahead of Christmas. The store will be in place for at least 12 months and will hopefully provide some of the UK's smallest businesses some prime real estate in the capital.
Eric Pickles said: "We are absolutely determined to support the high street and we know pop-ups are a great way to bring empty shops back to life and get new businesses going, so we thought 'why not open one right here in the department?'. It will also showcase how we can unleash more of our best and brightest young entrepreneurs onto the country’s high streets."
Mark Prisk said explained that town and city centres have a real appetite to get the high streets around the UK back up and running and the time has come for action rather than just talk. "There are many extremely capable and serious people with some superb ideas; but they need a bit of help to get started.
"Pop-up shops are a superb way for all sorts of entrepreneurs to test their ideas. So I'm delighted that this department is opening the first pop-up shop in Whitehall and I look forward to inviting all 27 Portas Pilots and 330 Towns Teams here to see how they could replicate this model across the country in the new year."
Ministers have backed the move and many believe that pop-ups are a great way to get empty spaces used and that the project could easily be used in town and city centres around the country, where shops now lay empty due to high rents and business rates, which show no sign of falling.
What else is being done?
The government is also working hard to help small businesses struggling on the high street, with a doubling of small business rate relief, mentoring from retail experts and workshops to address the challenges that are posed by operating within a town centre, where competition and vandalism can both play a part in the troubles faced by a small company.
Over £80 million of start-up loans for young entrepreneurs will also be provided by the government in the hope that people will start thinking outside the box and coming up with innovative and exciting business ideas. The loans will hopefully be used to kickstart the economy by creating around 30,000 new businesses.
Ministers have also been working to change planning restrictions so that commercial landlords can alter the way an empty shop is used for up to two years. Each and every one of these measures have been outlined in a bid to give small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK the chance to get set up, begin trading, expand and become a major player within their industry.
Last year 450,000 people set up new businesses and almost two-thirds of new start-ups say they would benefit from trading on the high street.
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