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Let People Know Your Pop Up Is Open

The ‘Open’ sign that hangs in your pop up shop’s doorway is one of your most important bits of kit! Make sure that you buy one or, better yet, custom make one that reflects your pop up’s branding.

The pavement immediately outside your shop is an important bit of property. It’s where people choose to visit your shop . . . or not.

Most shops ignore this space, but it’s vital. You need to use your pavement transition zone to make it very clear to passersby that you’re open and to invite them to step into your shop. Spend some time in a local street and watch how many people hover outside a shop without going in; these are lost customers!

Bigger shops keep their front doors wide open the whole time they’re open, or they have automatic doors that open when you’re close and invite you to step inside. (Yes, automatic doors aren’t just there for lazy people; they help you step over the threshold!)

Open doors obviously help, but they’re not very practical if it’s cold, windy or raining, or if you have goods on display that bad weather may damage. In those situations, consider doing something else to let customers know you’re open. Remember, you’re a pop up, and that means you’re fresh, urgent and exciting, so get that message out on the street!

To make it obvious you’re open, consider:

  • Bunting, flags or balloons to tell people exactly where you are; they’re like an urban shorthand that says something exciting is happening. You can purchase these items in your corporate branding colours. You may even want to hire a local artist to make custom-made designs or have a commercial printer make you a custom-made alternative with your branding on it.

  • Planters and plant-pots as a simple way to extend your shop onto the pavement; they’re colourful, friendly and welcoming. Remember to water them and bring them inside when you close at night.

  • Seats and benches which are used by many cafes and restaurants. Shopping is increasingly a social activity, so giving passersby a spot to stop and be sociable right outside your shop isn’t a bad idea!

  • A-boards and swinging signs on the street, as an effective way to say that you’re open and tell passersby about any activities, such as talks and workshops in your pop up. However, these signs are so commonplace that they’re easy to ignore. If you use them, make sure that they’re interesting and eye-catching.

Local bylaws may prohibit the use of A-boards, street signs and furniture outside your shop. Check with your local authority, but also scout the area and ask local shopkeepers.

On the days you’re open, you can also use signs on street corners to direct people your way. Find out whether any sites are nearby where you can legally hang a temporary banner or signpost. And if you can display an A-board, put one out in a prominent location.

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