How To Start Your Own Pop-up Retail Store

Pop-up shops are the retail world’s “Uber.” Despite the rising wave of ecommerce, the pop-up retail industry topped $50 billion last year. Designers, musicians, artists, and brands can use the here-one-day-gone-tomorrow model to touch consumers directly, generate enthusiasm, and boost sales considerably. Consider the wild success of luxury consignment shop The RealReal: NYC pop-up shoppers ordered six times more than online shoppers, ultimately bringing in $2 million.


What Are The Benefits of Pop-up Retail Shops?

The relatively low cost of operation (as low as $50/day) removes barriers to entry, opening the doors to:

  • Test out different markets and products
  • Capitalize on special event and holiday foot traffic
  • Make a unique impression on shoppers to sell more

But is it really so simple that anyone can do it?


How To Start Your Own Pop-up Retail Store in 5 Steps

  • Come up with a concept. Do you want a beautiful booth to showcase your offerings, a totally interactive experience aimed at making a big impression, or a physical place to host special events? Know your goals early on, whether it’s generate awareness, move more product, or track metrics.
  • Find the right location. Check out to search neighborhoods where you might set up shop. You will need an operating license from a landlord for a short-term commitment or a lease for a long-term operation. For most retailers, a high traffic area like a shopping mall, festival, street-level space, an existing store, or a gallery makes the most sense. However, sometimes choosing an unusual location attracts interest in your offerings, too.
  • Design your pop-up experience. You’ll need modular components that make setup and tear-down simple. You’ll need to decide how much shelving you want, whether you need TVs or touchscreen computers or electrical outlets, and what kind of furniture you’ll need to rent. Emagispace is one design resource brands like Samsung are using for modular retail solutions that are fast, affordable, and customizable. You’ll also need branded posters, cards, signs, price tags, and shopping bags.
  • Consider possible legal hurdles. First of all, you’ll need a local permit or business license from the city where you plan to set up shop. Check with the Chamber of Commerce for more information. Keep in mind, you may also be required to pay income tax, sales tax, and business tax on all sales. If you expect high traffic volumes (or more than 1,000 people), you’ll need to demonstrate adequate crowd control measures before gaining approval from the local municipalities. Before opening day, be sure you know how you’ll process payments, connect to the internet, and protect customer data. You may opt to purchase renter’s insurance to protect your assets.
  • Hire staff. You’ll need to hire workers on fixed-term contracts or freelance basis. Consider putting together teams focused on management, marketing and communications, design, maintenance, and front-house sales. You may opt to DIY the hiring process by placing a job ad online or work with a staffing firm to vet top talent.
  • Market your business. Reaching out to local reporters and bloggers is a good way to spread the hype. Putting out a press release is an easy way to solicit inquiries. Hit the streets with flyers and posters. Create an event on Facebook. Consider other creative methods to get the word out. Form alliances with complementary local businesses who may be interested in co-marketing opportunities.


Make Your Pop-up A Cut Above the Rest With Emagispace

Since 2015, Emagispace has taught clients how to click together 10×10 foot rooms as easily as connecting Legos in less than an hour. Buyers are now able to construct their own film sets, art galleries, and pop-up retail stores. Setting up a shop with Emagispace starts with selecting the modular design of your choice and customizing the finish to suit your brand experience. We ship easily received and stored pallets to you within 10 days. The turnkey assembly instructions are basic enough for a team of two equipped with wrenches to follow, but we also provide on-call engineers and a network of certified on-site installers if you prefer. The reusable, eco-friendly components can be taken down, stored, and set up at additional locations again and again. Additional components can be ordered to expand with your pop-up’s popularity.


Contact Emagispace to get started with your personal touch shopping experience.


Additional Resources:

  1. DigiDay – For The RealReal, 2018 Will Be the Year of the Pop-up,
  2. Medium – Startup Lessons from Soap Operas,
  3. American Marketing Association – The Magic of Pop-up Marketing,
  4. The Fashion Law Blog – Positives and Legal Pitfalls of Pop-ups,