Like many L.A. mamas, I turned an innovative idea into a small business. Pop-up stores have been all the rage for a while now, and while you may view them as a trendy wave, they can be a great way to sell and market your products. On the flip side, they can also turn into small-business budget busters.
Here are some of my tips after running a successful 43-day pop-up at The Grove for my children’s socks company, Sockabu (sockabu.com).
1. Work It – Don’t rely solely on hired help to do your work. This is your business, and you are your best salesperson. I didn’t miss a single day at my pop-up, and it paid off.
2. Brace Yourself – Experiencing rejection from shoppers is humbling and sometimes even hurtful. I was ill-prepared for the emotional and mental rollercoaster of retail. However, by the end, nothing seemed to bother me.
3. Break the Ice – Use visuals that pique curiosity. I think many shoppers are trained to not make eye contact with salespeople. This is why your visuals have to be on point. Getting a potential customer to glance over is an open invitation for educating them about your product.
4. Less is More – Get your pitch down to two lines. Mine was: “Traction socks! Best for slippery floors!”
5. No Resting Bit Face Allowed – Smiling is a must. Prepare to engage everyone with a welcoming smile or be prepared to say goodbye to sales.
6. Doggy Daze – If your pop-up is outdoors, you will see a lot of dogs (especially in L.A). While they are cute, they often make messes, which stinks for sales. Have Maintenance on speed dial.
7. Beam Up – Purchase your own Wi-Fi hot spot. Once you have an interested customer, you need to make things fast and easy. Having a designated hot spot and fully charged card reader will make checkout a breeze.
8. Real-time Testing – Use dry-erase boards to test brand messaging. I was surprised how often shoppers would read aloud whatever message I wrote. If it struck a chord, they usually stopped to learn more.
9. Wear Comfy Shoes – Be ready to stand for hours on end. No lounging or cell phone use should be allowed anywhere near your pop-up store. Appearing bored or disengaged is the worst thing you can do for sales.
10. Build Your Tribe – Try to collect customer emails. They are just as important as the sales for building your business.