How to organize a pop up event

How to Organize a Pop-up Event

Pop-up events are a fun and memorable way for customers to experience your products or brand. Learn everything there is to know to help you organize one yourself!
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November 6, 2022

Not only will you be able to treat yourself with a shopping session after work, but you also now have a great idea on how to launch your company's newest product.

What Is a Pop-up Event?

Pop-up events are creative and temporary events that are hosted in unique spaces for a few hours or a few days before being taken down. Because they are unexpected, they create an effect of surprise, especially if hosted in unpredictable locations. Pop-up events are a relatively low-cost and low-commitment way for businesses to take creative risks, while generating buzz, and introducing their brands to new audiences.

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Pop-up events can be hosted face-to-face, virtually, or hybrid.

6 Types of Pop-up Events

1. Permanent Pop-ups

Sometimes, pop-up events are so successful that they generate enough traffic and sales to justify the costs to become permanent fixtures. Storefront, an Oakland-based social enterprise and retail incubator, runs a pop-up-to-permanent program to help retailers find pop-up venues to temporarily test retail spaces and determine if brick-and-mortar would be right for them and their business. Pop-ups can also become permanent or semi-permanent by choice of the seller. 

2. Marketing Event Pop-ups

Any time you organize an event, you want people to keep talking about how great it was once they leave. Word-of-mouth is one of the selling points of pop-up events because they are so unexpected and creative. Marketing events in the form of pop-up shops are hosted by brands to generate buzz when they launch a new product, for a rebranding campaign, or a company announcement. 

When a product or experience is always available, there is no rush to get it. This is not the case for pop-up events. As we mentioned earlier, they are temporary, which make people even more excited about the product or experience being brought by the company. Pop-up shops can act as both a marketing strategy and a retail strategy. 

3. Seasonal Pop-ups

The seasonal characteristics found in this type of pop-up event generate traffic and sales, which for some businesses represent one-third of their annual revenue. The holiday pop-up shop is the most popular type of seasonal pop-up. Businesses around the world surprise customers with magical holiday pop-ups. For example, in 2021, the restaurant Coppa Club in London partnered with the champagne brand Laurent-Perrier to offer an exclusive experience during the holiday time by setting up igloos in which customers can taste the Laurent-Perrier menu while enjoying the panoramic view.

4. Experimental Pop-ups

One of the reasons why brands organize pop-up events is to experiment with the launching of new products, markets, merchandising, or retail experiences. Experimental pop-ups allow businesses to gather valuable data from customer’s reactions and feedback. If you would like to expand your business into a brick-and-mortar store, launching a new product line, or targeting a new target market, you should consider organizing a pop-up shop to run your experiment.

5. Virtual Pop-ups

“What’s the difference between virtual pop-ups and a traditional ecommerce website?” You may ask. Virtual pop-ups offer a 360-degree shopping experience and allow your customers to virtually walk through the aisles of your store. Virtual pop-ups are interactive and visitors can browse your products the same way they would in a brick-and-mortar store, except they do it in a digital storefront. It is an innovative way for your customers to engage with your brand from all over the world. 

6. Pop-In Stores

If you are looking to market your brand while saving money on rent and decor, pop-in stores are the way to go! A pop-in store is a shop that is set up within another store. It is a great way for retailers to save money because they only need to rent a small portion of a store to sell their products. As a retailer, you want to make sure to organize your pop-in store in a store or boutique that is already well established so your business can benefit from the traffic that the store already brings in. Pop-in stores also give the opportunity for businesses transitioning from ecommerce to brick-and-mortar to gain valuable data such as operations and demand.

Take control of your pop up event

10 Steps to Hosting a Pop-up Event

Pop-up events are a creative and surprising way to introduce your brand to customers and to launch new products. They can be a great opportunity for your organization, but require planning. Here are 10 steps you need to focus on in order for your pop-up event to be a success: 

1. Determine Your Goals

The first step to organize a successful pop-up event is to determine a specific goal. What do you wish to accomplish for your business with a pop-up event? Do you want to reach a new target market? Gain new customers? Or increase brand awareness?

Remember, you want to offer the best experience to your customers. Once you know what your goals are, it will be easier for you to plan your pop-up event well. You will know what venue to look for, what type of pop-up event you should organize, and who your target audience is.

2. Select a Theme 

Having a clear goal will help you pick the best theme for your pop-up event. Once you have determined a theme, it will not only guide you on how to choose the type of pop-up event to run, but it will also help you select a venue, purchase supplies, and promote your event

For example, if your goal is to launch a new brand of swimwear, you might want to consider organizing a beach themed pop-up store.

3. Pick a Venue

When choosing a location for your pop-up event, make sure that it aligns with your goals, theme, and your target audience. Pop-up events can happen in a temporary venue or permanent structure like a boutique. Remember, you want to offer the best customer experience! So, if you want people to keep talking about your event, consider hosting it in a unique or popular venue. If you are launching a new flavor of ice cream, why not have your pop-up event take place in an igloo? The exclusivity of the experience will justify the price attendees will be willing to pay if they are required to buy tickets.

If you are planning to sell food during the event, you need to consider picking a venue where it is safe to cook and serve meals. It would also require you to hire the right staff and to apply for licenses and permits.

4. Don’t Forget about Logistics

After you have determined a clear goal, selected a theme, and got a venue secured, it is now time to think about logistics. Pop-up events may seem spontaneous, but like any events, they require a lot of forethought and attention to detail. If you desire for your pop-event to be a success –which we are sure you do– you need to be well organized when planning event logistics and its implementation. For example, as mentioned earlier, if you are planning to sell food and alcohol, there are some requirements such as permits and licenses to obtain before the event. Also, in almost every event, there are always last-minute changes. Be prepared for that and include it into the overall plan so you have solutions to any last minute problems.

5. Offer a Better User Experience With Technology

  • Save Time With Event Management Software

An event management software will provide you with all the help needed to plan, execute, and report on your pop-up event. Organizers save a lot of time thanks to the software that lets them automate promotional activities before the event and other processes such as registration, booking, and follow-up. Event management software can also assist you with your budget for the event and analytics to optimize your pop-up event ROI.

  • Audio Visual (AV) Technology to Engage Your Audience

A way to engage the attendees at your next pop-up event is to use audiovisual equipment such as projectors, screens, speakers, and lighting. Whether you are organizing a presentation, a conference, or a training, using audio visual technology will encourage your audience to participate and will help you convey your message to them. 

  • Run Your Pop-up Event Smoothly with Wi-Fi Connectivity and Bandwidth 

Having access to a Wi-Fi connection gives you many advantages for your event. You will be able to increase sales by using mobile payments such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Venmo. Wi-Fi and bandwidth will increase the efficiency of your event by improving the communication with your audience, which is a key point for your event success. You want to make sure that your target audience understands the message that your event conveys.

  • Find Food and Beverage Service & Partnership

If you are planning a pop-up event that involves food and drink, the key to your event’s success is to sign up for food and beverage service and partnership. It offers a larger food and drink selection to your attendees so there will be something for everyone!

Organizers can make their pop-up event even more unique with food and beverage partners that match the event’s theme. Sponsorships are a way to save money while reaching new audiences. Partners can market your pop-up event by promoting it on their channels such as their website and social media which will boost your attendance and increase your revenue.

How to grab attention at your next event
  • Boost Your Revenues with Cashless Payment Systems

Cashless payments are a convenient and secure way to make and receive payments during your pop-up event. Nobody has to worry about carrying cash and people who forgot to bring it won’t have to leave your fun event to go to the ATM. If there is no access to the internet at your event, don’t panic! Cashless payment can work 100% offline.

  • Use Videography

Recording videos during your pop-up event will extend the longevity of it and allow you to reach a broader audience. Event videos can also attract more attendees who won’t want to miss your next event! We recommend hiring a professional to shoot videos to build credibility to your event and to create a positive brand image online.

6. Marketing & Partnerships 

When you’re planning an event, there’s nothing worse than nobody showing up to it. So how can you build enough excitement among your target audience to attract people to your pop-up event? Use social media to promote your event and drive curiosity by posting teaser photos and mysterious captions. This will help you build brand awareness and arouse audience engagement.

If you want to create an effect of surprise with a pop-up event without revealing too many details, you can create a countdown and send save-the-date notices via your social channels to build excitement and interest.

Organizers can partner with influencers that will use their social media to promote your event. It is essential to choose wisely when partnering with influencers. You want to make sure that their followers represent your target audience. For example, if the goal of your pop-up event is to launch a product designed for children, you should partner with influencers who are followed by parents.

7. Shop for Fixtures and Supplies

Once you’ve found a location for your pop-up event, the next fun part is to plan your space. Based on the type of event you are planning, you might need to purchase tables, shelves, lights, and most importantly, decorations that will match your theme. Don’t forget while you shop to make sure that you are staying within your budget.

8. Plan the Opening

Pop-up events only last for a short period of time, so you really want to bring as many people as possible from the start.  For that reason, you need to focus on the marketing strategies to raise awareness for your event. Organizers should give themselves enough time before the event to build interest and arouse excitement among the target audience to attract them to the event. Because last-minute changes happen, you also need to make sure that you have a plan B in case something goes wrong. 

9. Launch and Enjoy!

After months of planning, finally comes the big day! But it does not mean that your work stops there though. Take the time during the pop-up event to connect and interact with the attendees. Showing them that you care about them will leave them with a good impression about you and your brand and will make them want to come back to your future events.

10. Analyze and Determine What Went Well

Like for any type of event, it is important to gather feedback from the attendees to understand how you can improve your future events. A good way to determine your event’s success is to look at the attendance, the audience engagement, and to measure the event ROI

Collecting and analyzing data can also help with your future objectives. For example, if the goal of your pop-up event was an experiment to determine if you should expand your business into a brick-and-mortar store, gathering and analyzing data will help you answer that question.

5 Examples of Pop-up Events

Hosting a successful pop-up event calls for some creativity. If you are in need of inspiration, here are a few examples of brands who nailed it with their pop-up events.

1. Birchbox

Pop-ups give the opportunity for ecommerce businesses to turn into a “brick-and-mortar” shop for a short period of time and to interact with customers while showing off their products. In 2015, the beauty subscription brand Birchbox went on a national tour and opened pop-up stores in multiple cities. As you can imagine, all the beauty products fans were very excited by the experience offered to them! Customers had the chance to build their own box of makeup and get manicures and even astrology readings. As mentioned earlier, the success of a pop-event store can sometimes lead the brand to turn into a permanent pop-up store, which was the case for Birchbox.

2. Pantone Café

The globally well-known color company, Pantone, offered a unique experience with their pop-up event, Pantone Café. Customers could discover what Pantone colors tasted like by enjoying food and drinks corresponding to Pantone color numbers. The Instagrammable seasonal pop-up was a big success, especially among people who are always posting on their social media. This example of a pop-up event shows how companies can take creative risks by stepping out of their comfort zone.

3. West Elm

The popular furniture and home decor retailer West Elm invited local artisans to set up pop-up shops in their stores on weekends. The event, called West Elm Local, gave the opportunity to local business owners to expand their brand awareness and to gain new customers. This pop-up event allowed ecommerce businesses to become a brick and mortar store to demonstrate their products that can sometimes be hard to capture customers’ attention on an online store. For example, Megan Alchowiak is a paper artist who’s been able to display her work that she describes as “dimensional and hard to photograph”.

4. Glossier

If you are a fan of beauty products, we probably don’t need to introduce you to Glossier. Back in 2019, the brand launched a pop-up store in the pop-up village located in Seaport Boulevard, Boston. For their first pop-up store in New England, Glossier set up nine pink shipping containers in which customers could come to discover and choose beauty products.

5. The Street Store

Not your average pop-up shop! This rent-free and premises-free pop-up store gives the opportunity to homeless people to shop for clothes that have been donated by generous people. The concept started in South Africa, but its popularity exploded and now, anyone in the world can host a Street Store to help homeless communities. This concept demonstrates perfectly what cause marketing is.

7 Pop-up Event Ideas

With your pop-up event, you need to offer a unique and unforgettable experience to your attendees to stand out from the competition. Following are a few ideas that will for sure make customers talk about your pop-up event:

1. Invite Celebrity Guests

There’s no better way to create FOMO to your pop-up event than by inviting celebrity guests. If there are celebrities who love your brand, ask them to come to your event and to promote it on their social media. Celebrity marketing will boost your brand image and attract a large number of attendees who won’t want to miss the chance to meet their idols! 

2. Collaborate With Other Brands

Brand collaboration has many benefits that it would be a shame not to take advantage of it. Choose to partner with brands that align with your values and that would help you reach your goals and target audiences. By collaborating with other brands, you can reduce costs while attracting new customers and building buzz around your brand. 

3. Offer Exclusive Discounts

Who doesn’t love to save money? Nobody! A great way to encourage your target audience to come to your pop-up event is to offer exclusive and sales. There’s no doubt they will talk about your event with friends and family who will rush to your “doors”!

4. Contests

Who does not like free samples or to win prizes? Offer a fun and creative way to customers to interact and engage with your brand by holding contests or raffles. You can gain new customers and build brand awareness by encouraging social media sharing. For example, you can have participants enter the contest via social media to advertise your pop-up event.

5. Complementary Services

On top of selling products, consider offering complementary services to make your customers feel special. It will encourage them to try and buy your products. For example, if you sell kitchen supplies, offer a free cooking class.

6. Product Demo

Hosting a product demo at your pop-up event is a great way to educate customers about your products and to show them how they would benefit from them. Buyers might not know yet that they have a need for your products, so giving them the opportunity to try it is a way for you to give them a buying motivation. Customers like to hear opinions of past customers so ask your loyal customers to do the product demo to show potential customers that they can trust your brand.

7. Exclusive Releases

By giving a feeling of exclusivity, you will increase interest among customers who will feel special and appreciated. So when hosting a pop-up event, keep in mind that releasing a new product will attract attendees who will want to be the first one to buy it.

8. Free Samples

“I don’t love free things”, said no one ever. By giving away free samples, you can be sure to gain new customers and to install loyalty among your current ones. It is also a way for you to show your generosity to the attendees and to build brand awareness at the same time. 

 Ensure your next event is a success

How to Promote Pop-up Events

Now that you know how to host a pop-up event, the next key point of its success is to build interest and excitement to attract as many attendees as possible. A well promoted event will allow you to build awareness and to increase attendance. Here a 8 ways you can promote your event future pop-up events:

1. Host Special Events

Offering a unique experience through the originality of your pop-up event will encourage your audience to participate in and be engaged in the event. Define specific goals and choose a theme and location that will help you accomplish them in an exclusive way.

If your goal is to launch a new product, you can offer free samples to attract the audience and inspire loyalty. Another way to stand out from the competition and to build brand awareness is to invite a special guest to your event, such as a local celebrity or an influencer.

2. Invest in Signage

You want to spread the word out about your pop-up event to gather a large crowd. An efficient way to promote it is by creating a unique banner design on your website, other events page, and on your blog if you have one. To engage your audience, you can link the registration page to your banner so that they can sign up and buy their tickets. We also recommend investing in signage such as flyers and posters to draw attention to nearby foot traffic. You can also use a QR code generator to produce a code to add to your signage. By scanning it, people would be able to get more information about your pop-up event. 

3. Use Creative Online Marketing Techniques

To reach a larger audience, use online marketing channels. Write a blog about your upcoming pop-up event to show the benefits attendees would get from it, and include an invitation and the link to the registration page. Email Marketing is another online marketing technique that will let your loyal customers know about your future pop-up event. They already know your brand, so if you are launching a new product, they won’t want to miss the opportunity to discover it! Partner with influencers who are followed by your target audience to increase brand awareness and gain visibility. They can promote your event through social media, and share pictures and videos from your event in real-time. 

4. Write a Press Release

Another good way to promote your pop-up event is releasing a press release in which you need to include the date, time, location, and the benefits of participating in your event. Reach out to local contacts and send complimentary tickets to a few journalists so you can earn a feature to gain visibility for your event.

5. Share About Your Pop-up Event on Social Media

These days, just about everyone has a social media account! Using social media is an effective way to promote your event, to extend your reach, and to increase attendance. Share valuable content about your pop-up event that will engage with your target audience. You can join Facebook groups whose members are the audience you are trying to target with your event. Don’t forget to make your posts shareable so that your audience can become promoters by sharing it as well. 

6. Work With the Press & Influencers

Invite local media and influencers and ask them to promote your event before it happens but also in real-time by posting pictures and videos. As you are researching your target audience, find out what blogs they like to read and send a press release to writers so they can promote your pop-up event.

If the reason for your pop-up event is the launching of a new product, send free samples to influencers and ask them to share their testimonials on their social media. 

7. Create a Unique Event Page

Creating an exceptional event page will make your target audience enthusiastic about coming to your pop-up event. Consider using event management software to customize your event page to your event branding. Include information about your pop-up event such as the location, the date and time, and if you are inviting celebrity guests, mention it on the event page. Don’t forget to make the site fast and easy to navigate to keep the audience engaged!

8. Hire the Right Staff 

Staffing is an important process of your event planning. The staff will be the image of your brand at your pop-up event, so you want to make sure that they are aligned with your company values. You will want them to be courteous and at the service of your attendees to build meaningful relationships with them. 

When you determine your budget, don’t forget to include the staff. Think about the number of employees you will need to hire based on the size of your event, and determine their rates. During the interview process, ask them how they can best represent your brand and what they can do to offer participants the best experience.

Conclusion

With a little bit of planning and a lot of creativity you will be able to organize a pop-up event to deliver a memorable experience to your audience. Creative pop-up events offer an exclusive way to connect with your customers and to create buzz around new products or announcements from your compagny. So don’t wait, your future customers are waiting for you!

Picture this: you’re running down the streets of the city to be on time to your marketing meeting. You can’t be late because your company is launching a new product so this meeting is really important. But something catches your eye and you stop- your favorite online makeup store just opened a pop-up store!

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