Celebrating the people behind British small businesses

The rise of pop-up shops and how they can help your business

Craig Pannozzo is general manager of Gazeboshop, a supplier of gazebos and marquees. Since its beginnings in 2005 the company has helped hundreds of businesses prepare their stands for indoor and outdoor events. He explains how pop up shops can help your business grow.


This month it was revealed that over 42% of consumers now prefer small businesses and independent retailers in comparison to the conglomerates adorning the high streets of Britain. This is great news for start-ups and SMEs but we’ve all heard about the so-called ‘death of the high street’ and the figures don’t make for a great read, in fact, it is  estimated that 100,000 shops will close their doors forever within a decade.

The national retail vacancy rate is at a record high for the third year in a row. A solution to this has been to make renting premises more flexible and encourage business owners to temporarily move into a vacant rental space for a short amount of time. These ‘pop up’ shops have become very popular among small and growing businesses, who use them to test the water before making a long-term investment in physical premises. Read on to find out more about this growing trend, the benefits, and the considerations you need to take into account if you think a pop-up shop is an option for you.

What is a pop-up shop and what are the benefits?

As we’ve just touched upon, pop-up shops refer to short-term, rented selling spaces used by retailers big and small to promote their products/services and ultimately create a unique and memorable consumer experience offline. A recent trend from the USA that gained popularity after the 2010 ‘retail apocalypse’, the pop-up industry is now estimated to be worth over $50 billion (£37 billion). The idea of temporary stores dates back to the early middle ages, where market stalls were the name of the game. More and more businesses are opting for pop-up retailing opportunities instead of high street stores based on their affordable, non-committal, and brand augmenting nature, and are really raking in the benefits.


Pop-up shops are the perfect option for any small business on a tight budget. The rental cost is often much less than that of a traditional retail space due to the temporary nature of the contract, the (usually) small size of the venue and low overhead costs. In turn, the money saved from rent and utilities can be used to market new products, run promotions, or even to decorate your new space.


Pop-up shops allow your business to only be contractually committed for a short fixed period of time. This allows your brand the versatility to quickly adapt to changes in the market, as well as giving a more selective approach to selling and marketing in general. Pop-up shops also give your business the flexibility to only open when traffic and sales are high, and close when you need to regroup or sales have decreased.

Brand augmentation

These temporary shops allow businesses to build awareness and augment their brand in a physical way to their target market. If you have an online business, pop-up shops allow you to engage with customers offline, as well as reach new customer segments that haven’t seen your online presence. Face-to-face contact still remains invaluable and is often the best way to get open and honest feedback from customers, on what they like and don’t like and how much they’re willing to pay for something. Additionally, opening a pop-up shop as a marketing tool generates buzz, can draw attention from passing crowds, and encourages spontaneous purchases because of the novelty. Sometimes it’s the simple case of, “oh there’s a store  there now!” that sells.

How do I have a successful pop-up shop?

As pop-up shops seem to be, well, popping up everywhere it may seem daunting to jump on the bandwagon, yet they’ve proven to be more successful than ever. If you’re thinking of getting involved there are two more important things to consider: budget and location.


The budget for your  shop sets the tone for the entire endeavour. Having a clear idea of what you can afford is necessary – taking into account both larger costs such as rent, utilities, point of sale (POS) systems and smaller costs like paint, window display props, and refreshments. In turn, the budget lends itself to where you can afford to open your pop-up shop; its all about location, location, location.


Once your budget is set, it’s time to start looking for the perfect pop-up spot for your business. With more and more property owners realising the value of a pop-up in their location, there is an increasing amount of availability in the market. You can have a store within a store, gallery or event space, or even a more unique space such as a shipping container. The possibilities are endless! Additionally, there are online platforms that help you connect with other brands and find some space.

Now that you know the basics, you can make an informed decision as to whether or not a pop-up shop is the right way to grow your business and showcase it in an offline space. Taking your business from home to high street is difficult and rewarding simultaneously, and a temporary shop is a great way to start the process and take the leap. Every brand is different and has distinctive goals and outcomes that they will want to accomplish through their pop-up endeavour. So set some targets, create a budget, and find a location that will make your pop-up shop ‘pop’!