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Six Steps to a Successful Pop-Up Shop: Beyond Just Showing Up

Updated: Apr 26

Six Steps to a Successful Pop-Up Shop: Beyond Just Showing Up - For Vendors

Pop-up shops and Vendor Events are a great way to raise brand awareness, network, and make sales. Most vendors fail to realize that you can't just sign up, show up, and expect overnight success. Everyone who signs up for an event should be working towards the success of the event. Although, sometimes, events flop at no fault to the host or the vendor there are steps you can take to try and prevent that. Six steps you can take to increase the chance of success are: signing up for relevant events, setting intentions and goals for each event, planning and tracking inventory, marketing leading up to the event, putting time and thought into your displays, and remaining present throughout the entire event. Using these strategies will not only help to boost your brand’s visibility but also ensure a more gratifying and productive event experience.

Retail Vendor At Pop-Up Shop

Six Steps to a Successful Pop-Up Shop

1. Thoroughly Vetting Events and Hosts Before Signing Up.

2. Setting Clear Goals and Intentions.

3. Planning and Tracking Your Inventory and Supplies.

4. Start Marketing Leading Up To The Event.

5. Creating Eye-Catching Displays.

6. Be Present During the Event with Customers, On-lookers, and Other Vendors.


1. Thoroughly Vetting Events and Hosts Before Signing Up.

Making sure the vendor events you sign up for are successful starts before you even sign up. Yes, you read that correctly. The first and most important step is thoroughly vetting the event BEFORE you sign up. If you're hosting your own Pop-Up shop then that means making sure you're planning aligns with the goals you set forth. For now, we will approach it as if you're a vendor vetting an event to participate in. Here are 8 questions to consider when trying to decide if an event will be a good event to vend at:

  1. Does the event’s purpose/theme align with your brand’s values?

  2. Do you share a similar Target Audience with the event’s target market?

  3. Who is the event’s host(s)?

    1. What are their goals for this event?

    2. Have they hosted a similar event?

    3. How did it turn out?

  4. Who are the other vendors?

    1. Is there anyone selling the same thing as you?

    2. Do you see others promoting the event?

  5. Does the time and date fit your schedule?

  6. How much is the vendor fee?

  7. Where is the event being held?

    1. What surrounds it?

    2. How is the area’s foot traffic on a normal day?

    3. Are there any other events in the area that you can pull traffic from?

  8. What does your vendor space include?

    1. Are tables/chairs provided?

    2. Can you bring an extra table/shelving?

    3. If your setup requires electricity- does your vendor space provide it? Is there an extra fee for electricity?


2. Setting Clear Goals and Intentions

Don't go into events with no direction and expect miracles to happen. Heading into a pop-up shop or vendor event without clear goals and intentions is like sailing without a compass; you might eventually get somewhere, but it’s not likely where you intend to go. Setting specific and measurable objectives not only gives you direction but also provides a benchmark for success.

For instance, if your aim is to broaden your network, a goal might be adding 10 new email subscribers to your list. Achieving this could involve various strategies such as placing a visibly attractive email sign-up sheet on your table, offering incentives like a 10% discount coupon for sign-ups, or incorporating a subscribe to emails option into the card checkout process. Alternatively, hosting a raffle that requires an email to enter can also be a fun and engaging way to collect contacts. These actions are not just tasks; they are steps toward turning casual browsers into loyal followers and customers.

By outlining these goals and the steps to reach them, you're not only preparing for the event but setting up a foundation for ongoing engagement and sales long after the event concludes.

Examples Of Other Goals/Intentions:

1. Increasing product awareness, which could be measured by the number of product demonstrations or flyers distributed.

2. Enhancing brand reputation, perhaps by aiming to receive positive customer reviews post-event.

3. Boosting sales, setting a specific target number for products sold.

4. Launching a new product or line.


3. Planning and Tracking Your Inventory and Supplies.

Knowing the right amount of inventory to bring to an event can feel like a delicate balancing act. It’s tempting to pack every single variant of your products, envisioning a crowd eager to snatch up every item. But, the reality is, this approach can quickly turn into a logistical nightmare, not to mention the overwhelming task of packing and unpacking. Through trial and error, I've been able to master selecting inventory that aligns with the specific event and season, streamlining the process significantly.

Another reason not to take everything is because you need to leave customers something to come back to you for. Make sure they get a business card or follow you on social media with or without making a purchase. I have had customers who found me at an event but wanted something not on my table- so they later purchased online or came into my shop. Find the balance in what inventory to bring and make a list. Events are also a great opportunity to showcase/test out new products and clear out old inventory. 

If you're vending around the holiday season keep in mind that 61% of shoppers visit a pop-up shop to find seasonal products. If your products can't be customized by the season consider your supplies like thank you bags, stickers, business cards, or table decor.

Tracking inventory is one of the main reasons I created the Pop Up Shop Planner. I was so busy bringing “everything” I kept track of nothing and kept forgetting the little things. My inventory reports were way off and I was noticing out-of-stock items too late. Now I would like to map out the following for each event:

  • What I need to bring product, display, and supplies wise.

  • A brief sales description and list of the product benefits or highlights. So I can refresh myself if I have a worker at my booth. Or create product info cards.

  • The quantity of how many of each product I‘m bringing.

  • The normal retail price and the price im selling them for at the event. Those might be the same price it just depends.


4. Start Marketing Leading Up To an Event.

Events have the best chance when marketing is a collective effort. This means marketing falls on EVERYONE involved in the event. The host should be paying for paid promotions, flyers, etc. But that doesn't mean you just show up and reap the benefits.

Starting early is key; let your followers know about the event as soon as you have all the details. As the event draws nearer, amplify your promotional activities. Utilize the three days leading up to the event as a final push to spread the word even further.

5 Ways To Market Upcoming Pop Up Shops And Vendor Events

This is the time to get creative on your social media platforms, engage with local Facebook groups, and community forums, and tap into your email subscriber base. Sharing is caring, especially in the vendor community. Make an effort to promote fellow vendors participating in the event. This not only builds a supportive community but also increases the likelihood of cross-promotion.

The more buzz you create around the event, the higher the anticipation and excitement. Remember, your promotional efforts are crucial in turning an ordinary pop-up shop into a must-visit event for your community.


5. Creating Eye-Catching Displays

Creating an eye-catching display is not just about showing off your products; it's about crafting an experience that draws visitors in and embodies your brand. As you plan your setup, think of your space as a mini-gallery where every piece, from the layout to the decor, tells a story about your brand. Consider the amount of space you have and how you can maximize it without creating a cluttered look. If the event has a theme or you're participating during a holiday season, find a way to mix that into your decor/setup.

  1. Here are a couple of questions you can ask yourself when planning your set-up:

  2. How much space (size-wise) do you have?

  3. How will you highlight your products in a way that's visually appealing and accessible?

  4. Can you incorporate different levels or textures, such as wooden crates for a rustic vibe or sleek shelves for a modern look?

  5. Where will your signage be to ensure it catches the eye of passersby?

  6. How will you incorporate lighting if you have access to electricity, and how can you make your booth inviting if you don’t?

Remember, your display is your silent salesman; it should be attractive, functional, and represent your brand's essence. By taking the time to thoughtfully design your space, you’re not just setting up a display; you’re creating an environment that invites engagement and leaves a lasting impression. Hopefully a picture-worthy one so make sure to display your social media handles somewhere, that way people can tag you.


6. Be Present During the Event with Customers, On-lookers, and Other Vendors.

Fidgets 4 You Vendor Set Up

You have no idea who you will meet during these events or what connections they may have. So treat every single person you come in contact with as if they are the reason you are there. Being present means:

  • When people walk up to your table give a quick pitch, explain products, tell about your sales, etc. Don't talk too much but don't be mute either.

  • Head up. Not buried in your phone.

  • Engaging with people as they approach or even pass your table Not just speaking only if they come browse your table.

  • Speaking and checking out what the other vendors have to offer. Not acting standoffish as if they are your competition. If you have a few minutes before the event starts or during downtime go check out their table and introduce yourself.

  • Use downtime wisely so you're still looking busy and productive.

    • Product photoshoot.

    • Clean/Tidy up your space.

    • Pass out business cards, samples, or flyers.


Need help finding Pop Up Shops/Vendor Events in the 757 area?


Need help planning for and tracking your Pop Up Shop / Vendor Events? Check out our Pop-Up Shop Planner.

Pop Up Shop Planner For Vendor Events

The Pop Up Shop Planner helps vendors research, strategize, and track their vendor events to reach goals and increase the success of each event. Ideal for Retail Business Owners and Creatives to use in preparation for Vendor Events, pop-up shops, Craft Fairs, and alike. Each event has 7 pages: 1. Event Details Page: Keep all of the important details about each event handy to refer back to before, during, and after the event. 2. Set Intentions & Goals: 3. Inventory Log: Plan and track all of the inventory you take to each event. This will give you an idea of how products performed, what is running low, etc. 4. Event Marketing Plan: Create a marketing plan for events leading up to events 5. Event Day Check-In: 6. Sales Tracker: 7. Event Recap: Take the time to review how your day went and take notes. These will help you improve how you approach going forward and determine if you'll return to an event by that host or not.

Pages: 16 - Print as needed Binder Cover, Back of Binder Image, and Binder Spine

Six Monthly Trackers with 6 Event Planners for each month. Total pages: 52

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