Are Pop-Up Kiosks the Future of Retail?

Apr 18, 2017 Olympic Eyewear


You've probably seen them in malls, at events or outside stores. They are there one day, selling products, and a few days or weeks later, they are gone – usually off to a new location. It's pop-up retail, and it means opening a sales space for temporary use.

During the holidays last year, Snapchat opened a pop-up store in New York to sell Spectacles, its video-recording sunglasses. Since Snapchat is a mobile app and doesn't generally sell physical products to consumers, it needed a way to draw attention to its new glasses when they came on the market. The company could have just promoted the specs through its application and through other traditional marketing methods, but they decided pop-up vending machines were a better strategy for getting the word out about their new product. Snapchat took these pop-ups to multiple locations, and almost immediately, lines were forming down the street, full of people interested in checking out the new hot item.

There is obviously something to this new trend, but what is so great about pop-up shops? If you have a business selling items directly to customers, you may want to consider jumping on this pop-up retail trend. It may be especially beneficial if you sell specialty items, such as fashion sunglasses, as it brings an extra sense of exclusivity to your business.

For those looking for a new business endeavor, a great option is to buy wholesale sunglasses in bulk online and create pop-up shops in strategic locations where you can sell them at retail value. You could resell them online through Amazon or eBay, but that may take longer and you have to consider shipping and packaging. Temporary storefronts may be a better sunglasses sales option because they bring several profitable advantages.

mirrored sunglasses on display rack


Setting up a small pop-up store means limited inventory. You can only display so many pairs of sunglasses in your space. This sets up a sense of urgency for shoppers, as they need to get there and choose their favorite pairs before they are gone. Shoppers who visit your kiosk late may not have all the options others did, and will likely interpret that as meaning your shades are hot-ticket items. If your products are must-have items, patrons who missed out may come back the next day.

However, don't minimize your inventory so you run out an hour into selling. Keep extra in boxes behind your display so when it clears out, you can add more. When multiple people love your products and prices, it's a great idea to start an email list for top customers to get exclusive notice of your future locations.

sunglasses displayed on the table


When building your pop-up retail store, consider the timing. Put your products where they are needed, when they are needed. Check calendars, events and incoming trends before picking a location. If you are selling wholesale sunglasses, maybe set up shop at outdoor concerts, sporting events, festivals or even parks. Each of these events may involve spending time outside, so sunglasses are a relevant and useful product for all attendees. If you can sell a solution for a problem someone is having right at that instant, they might be more likely to buy it.

counter-top displays with sunglasses

Less Risk

According to an article from StoreFront, brick-and-mortar locations are generally 80 percent more expensive to open than pop-up stores. In most cases, having a storefront also requires committing to a lease for an extended period of time. If you set up shop at a standard store space and the location isn't right or you have trouble selling to that crowd, you are stuck. You will have to pay rent until your contract is up, even if you aren't bringing in any money. Running a kiosk is a less expensive way to drive business. With a pop-up store, if things don't go as planned after a couple of weeks, you can move to a new location that may be more fitting. Some commercial real estate is now even available for short-term usage.

When you have a small product-based business and are looking for a way to boost sales, consider the pop-up retail trend. The excitement and surprise of a moving storefront, personal face-to-face interaction with customers, limited inventory, convenience, and the feel of specialized shopping all can contribute to shopper interest. As a store owner, opening a pop-up shop can also save you money as you try to drive profit. If you are just starting out, it's a good idea to follow the pop-up retail trend. It can help you drive both brand awareness and sales at the same time.

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