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How to run a successful XM

Pop-Up Store?

Strategy, Creative + Branding, Experiential


By: Becca Enchin


In collaboration with: Josh Socket

5 Things to Consider When Planning
an Experiential Pop—Up Store:

So, you’re considering a pop-up shop. There’s an event or a temporary retail space you have your eye on and it’s the perfect opportunity to get your brand seen. But is it? Preparation for a pop-up is extremely important, understanding a few key elements of this tactic beforehand can be the difference between a successful pop-up and a flop-up.

1. Define your goals!

Before you start, you need to clearly define the goals of the pop-up experience. What you’re looking to accomplish with the event is key for planning the experience.

For example, is your goal to achieve brand awareness, brand affinity, launch a new product/ sku, push for onsite sales, drive traffic to web? This question is vital for your overall strategy and how you execute the pop-up itself. These decisions are important to your business challenge and will follow you throughout the planning and execution phases of the pop-up.

2. Choose your location(s) wisely!

Ask yourself, what and where is the venue? And is your target audience going to be there? You can be in one place that sees consistent traffic in a large area, you can be at an event like a festival, or you can be in multiple places across multiple days. This list of potential venues isn’t exhaustive, but it encompasses the key points that align with your goals. As long as your target audience is there or likely to be there, that should a driver in making this decision.


In a static pop-up like a retail space, a restaurant, a bar, or a public setting there are opportunities for larger activations and experiences. There is also room for inventory. A static location can be valuable for long-term awareness in the form of a larger experience. It’s also much easier to store the inventory you intend to sell as part of the event. With pop-ups at festivals, concerts, and bigger events, you’re also in an area that’s going to have foot traffic already.


In a mobile pop-up, like the truck we created for Lambert Bags there are different advantages and limitations. For example, you can provide a service on the truck, like the press on nails we provided through our partner, Naked Beauty Bar and our Clutch Cam photo experience. Onsite product for sales were limited, a mobile pop-up can be a hindrance if you’re looking for immediate sales but is great to be able to go where the action is and hand out samples on the fly. Factoring in parking and permits, your brand can be anywhere in a mobile pop-up. Our pink Lambert store in wheels was able to achieve their initial goal of brand awareness in a city where awareness was otherwise low.

3. What kind of experience do you provide?


Simply being there is not enough. “If you build it, they will come” doesn’t necessarily apply to experiential pop-ups. You can be in a hot pink truck in Yorkville or a bar in the Queen street neighbourhood, but if you’re not providing people with an engaging, value-adding experience, they will not come! You need something memorable, eye-catching, and picture-worthy to draw in your target audience and get them to tell their friends and family about your experience.

A great way to provide a value-creating, traffic-generating experience is through personalization. Something a potential customer can use, have, and keep forever. When we had our pop-up at Union station and Yorkdale for Johnnie Walker, it was the holiday season and we offered engraving services with on-site purchases. You could get a complimentary sample and buy somebody (or yourself) the perfect gift. Your fans will be excited to post their personally engraved piece from you!

Each experience is different. Ensure when you’re planning your experience, it aligns with your goals and fits your target audience’s wants and needs. Engraving services for a bottle of Johnnie Walker fits the brand and consumer base. Regardless of what you do it needs to please the consumers enough to make them want to share.

4. Are relevant VIPs coming?


VIPs come in the form of local tastemakers, influencers and micro-influencers. It’s not enough to have influencers at your event though, they need to have a relevant tie between your brand and your audience. Once your relevant VIPs are identified, they are excellent for telling your target audience about your event! This generates buzz and helps build credibility in the process.

Don’t forget to send your VIPs a gift bag to get them pumped for their upcoming event. A gift bag to a VIP can be the perfect fan preview on social media. You send them swag and in return, they post that swag on social and tell their audience all about this awesome pop-up you’ve put together that they’ll be attending. Their social media is the perfect place for a sneak peek or event teaser.

Better than inviting your favourite tastemakers is partnering with them! Together, you and this tastemaker can provide an elevated experience that draws people in. You never know where that partnership can take you. When we partnered with Naked Beauty Bar for our Lambert pop-up, not only did it add value and credibility to the event, but it also gave us a long-term partner for future events.


5. Call your new fans to action!


Always end with a strong call to action. Be it “sign up for a chance to win”, “buy now and get 20% off”, or something else telling your consumers what to do next. Your call to action needs to be clear, relevant and aligned with the goals of your pop-up. The call to action is how your end the transaction between you and your consumer. It’s the big closer before your finish, so finish strong. Tell them in a clear and engaging manner what you want them to do next.

If your event provides sales, ensure there are multiple ways to purchase. Online and Onsite. If your customers can purchase online, make it easy to get to your website. Have URL links and QR codes clearly accessible for them to get right to your site. Make sure you offer fast shipping and delivery for your product. And if there are sales onsite, be sure you have stock customers can walk away with that day.

Even with a sale, ask yourself, how can this experience live on in conversations later? You want to provide a memorable, positive experience that your target audience will continue to talk about it, never underestimate the power of user-generated content. Selling a product can be key to that as long as you can make the sale and end on a clear call to action.

If you’re planning a pop-up and are afraid it may become a flop-up, contact VIBRANT now and we can help you provide your audience with the experience of a lifetime.

See what we did there? We ended with a strong call to action.