How to Design a Pop-Up Shop

pop-up shops, quick open

Over the last few years, online shopping has given traditional retailers a run for their money; changing the way we shop as consumers. Where you once had to find and then go to a store to get what you needed, now it is available at your fingertips and dropped at your doorstep. The online market place has given those small shops that couldn’t survive as a physical store a way to continue to service their customers at a fraction of the cost. 

That said, having a physical location still has benefits over solely having an online store: 

  • Provides exposure to a larger variety of consumers  
  • Enables the shopper to purchase and take home instantly  
  • Provides the ability to offer customer service – AKA – teach customers about the product first-hand  
  • Enables the shopper to see and feel the product (more valuable than you may think)
Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

This sounds great but how do you open a physical store on a budget and ensure it’s profitable?

What many retailers (large and small) have started to notice is that there is a time and place for a physical location. Enter the Pop-Up Shop. 


Pop-up shops are temporary stores that “pop-up” for a short period of time. Pop-up shops offer more flexibility to the company and can allow them to test a market with minimum investment. They can come in a few different forms: 

The Short-Term Lease Pop-Up 

This type of pop-up store is typically a lease agreement with a landlord that is for a year or less.

This type of pop-up is great solution for Landlords that may have had a few tenant close unexpectedly. This gives them a way to have no or fewer vacant shops.

Photo by Lauren Richmond on Unsplash

Having vacancies is not only hard on the property owner but also on the other tenants. Too many vacancies in a mall will decrease traffic flow which in turn affects everyone in the mall.  

The popular time of the year to open a pop-up store on a short-term lease is around the holidays. If you are looking to test the market as retailer, the holiday season is a great time to do that. Traffic is naturally up with shoppers looking to buy gifts for others; people that are looking for something unique and new. It’s great brand exposure. 

The Shop Pop-Up 

This type of pop-up shop in more popular between small, local, independent retailers. A boutique owner may invite a supplier to setup a booth within their store for a day, evening or event. The supplier would be responsible for staffing, set-up and tear down of the booth.

The benefit of this type of pop-up is it gives both company exposure to each other’s clientele. It gives the suppliers clientele a place to go and see the product or pickup. It then exposes the suppliers clientele to what the show owner carries as well. For the shop owner, their clientele gets to learn about a new product first hand from the experts.

When planning for a shop pop-up it’s important to understand what the owner of the store is offering you.  

  • How much space do you get, where?  
  • Will you have a part of a wall, will they supply you with a table or any racks?  
The Event Booth Pop-Up 

An event booth pop-up has been around for many, many years. This could be a trade show booth, a booth at a festival, specialty market or concert.

The event coordinator will have a select number of spaces that businesses can pay a fee and setup their products or goods for sale. These typically last for a weekend but in a short period of time, you will get exposure to a variety of different people and demographics they may not reach online.

Things to think about: 

  • The environment – if this is an outdoor event, you will need to incorporate some kind of shelter from the heat, cold or just rain. 
  • Know what’s included in your fees – some places will provide you with a tent, others will not. Knowing what your space involves will impact your design plan 
  • The size – you want to plan fixtures and product that is appropriate for the size of the space 
  • Transport – how will you get your booth and product to the event.  
  • Setup and tear down 
The Trailer Pop-Up 

The trailer pop-up is similar to the event booth pop-up but less setup. These are seen more often in outdoor events. They are basically a mobile store that allows you to take your shop anywhere you go! 

For more examples of Trailer Pop-Up, click here


No matter what type of pop-up you are doing, when designing or planning your shop, the most important thing is to ensure your branding is on-point.

You won’t spend too much on the build of the space since it is only a short-term home but you do want to make it functional and you want your customers to recognize you

Have you ever looked across a busy mall and been able to identify a company based solely on a color or a symbol? That’s the goal here. 

To save on cost, work with your surroundings, what’s been given to you in the space and invest in branded items that can be easily transported and reused for the next time. Things like: 

  • Large photo frames that can be used around the space to showcase your product. Using lifestyle images, images from social media post or images from your website will reinforce your brand image across social platforms, your website and now in person. These are easily updated with new prints as needs and inexpensively.
  • A fixture package that is easily relocated and/or stored but works for your product.  
  • An acrylic logo that can be mounted. You can use this as a storefront sign in a mall or behind a table in a tent or on display in a shop. These are inexpensive to have made, easy to store and transport and can be used in a variety of different ways. 
  • A large banner with your logo and website. This can be used to brand your cash desk, hung on the front of a tent or hung from the ceiling in a shop pop-up.
  • Find a fixture that is unique to your brand. This could be a simple as a rolling rack painted out in your brands color. Something that people will notice and remember as YOUR company. Pick something that is easily transported – breaks down to fit in a car or is on wheels (or both!).
    • TIP: Using it on your website and in social media post will make it recognizable from a far. 
  • Branded flag stands. Like the banner, this should be with your color, company logo and website. These can be used indoor and outdoor – beside a table in a shop pop-up or outside of your booth at an event pop-up. 
  • Staff t-shirts may seem cliche but in a pop-up environment they can be a powerful tool. Not only will customers know who to speak to but when they aren’t at the shop, it’s free advertising for the brand. 
    • Tip: find or design a shirt that represents your brand. If your brand is a lot of graphic shirts with fun saying, create one for your staff that will get people talking. 
  • If you plan on doing a lot of Event Pop-Ups, investing in a branded booth may be worth it. This could be as simple as a pop-up tent in your color with your logo and website on it or as extravagant as a custom booth build to be pulled behind a car and assembled onsite. 

As much as we talk about online shopping taking over the way we buy, brick-and-motor stores will still have a place, in some form. The way we use stores is changing. Pop-Up shops allow retailers to take their online marketplace and share it with the real world…when it profitable to do so. Don’t underestimate the power of human connection in sales. 

If you need some ideas or guidance on how to design your next pop-up store, send us an email at  [email protected]  

Also, don’t forget to share your ideas below! We love hearing from you! 

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