Measure the Success of Your Pop Up in Six Areas - dummies

Measure the Success of Your Pop Up in Six Areas

By Dan Thompson

What does a successful pop up business look like? It may be achieving a high volume of sales or just one or two really important ones. It may be attracting thousands of visitors or just ten. It may have nothing to do with numbers. Or perhaps success is simply a good experience for visitors or new skills learned by your team.

How you measure success is very much tailored to your pop up.

You can measure success in many ways. Consider six main areas.

Aim (or purpose)

Did you achieve the aim you set yourself right at the start?

At the end of your pop up, you can judge whether you fulfilled your original aim. (Your aim is separate from your objectives.) Be honest and don’t worry if you didn’t achieve everything you set out to do. Use your evaluation to inform future work and try again.


Your plan had set objectives, which were measurable and mapped to a timetable. You can easily reference these objectives to see whether you achieved everything you set out to do and whether you worked to the timetable you set yourself.

Record what worked well and what you’d like to do the same next time.

If some of the items on your timetable slipped, you must have picked them up again if you opened your pop up on time. Look at whether:

  • Your original timetable was reasonable.

  • You could have changed the order of actions to make the project easier.

  • You included unnecessary things in your plan and timetable.

If you included things in your original timetable that turned out to be unnecessary, check your evaluation to see whether it was because of the way things turned out or whether they were things that simply weren’t needed.

Look closely at whether additional resources, such as more support or the right equipment, would have made your timetable easier.

Budget and sales

At the end of your pop up, you can see where the money was spent. Look at all the costs you incurred:

  • Materials, from paint and brushes to toilet paper and black sacks.

  • Furniture, fixtures and fittings.

  • Printed publicity and distribution costs, such as leaflets, posters and business cards.

  • Signs, window vinyls and graphics, and an A-board.

  • Website and Internet costs.

  • Media advertising.

  • Business rates.

  • Utility bills.

  • Insurance coverage.

  • Refreshments (day to day and at opening events).

  • Phone and broadband.

All of the preceding costs combined make up your project’s expenditure. Now, look at all the income generated:

  • Funding or budget found within an organisation.

  • Donations from the public.

  • Contributions to the project, such as from artists paying to hang work.

  • Sponsorship or cash donations.

  • Grant funding from local authorities, Arts Council England or trusts and foundations.

If your income was greater than your expenditure, you’re in profit.

If your expenditure is equal to or less than you anticipated when you set your budget, you’re also within budget.

A cash profit may not have been the aim of your pop up. If you were looking to test an idea, launch a project, engage with the community or build a better relationship with customers, don’t count a cash loss as the failure of the pop up.

Team satisfaction

The positive benefits to the team involved in a pop up are often overlooked. Team-building helps people:

  • Develop stronger relationships.

  • Share a positive experience.

  • Identify skills and talents.

  • Improve problem-solving skills.

Being involved in designing, building and managing a pop up achieves many of these goals as well.

Customer experience and visitor numbers

In evaluating your customer’s experience, you can look at:

  • Visitor numbers

  • Dwell time

  • Conversion rates (measuring either sales or engagement)

This quantitative data is useful, but it only gives you some of the information about the experience your customers had.

If you used a visitors’ book or some other interactive way for people to comment (such as sticky notes on a sign), you can include some comments from visitors, adding a qualitative analysis.

Your website, email lists and social media channels can provide further evidence for evaluation.

Again, you can provide quantitative data, such as:

  • Visits to your website

  • Followers on Twitter

  • Friends on Facebook

Quality and honest mistakes

Perhaps the hardest judgement to make is about the quality of your pop up. Quality is an entirely subjective analysis, but you can base it on comparisons with other business, events or activities within your market sector. This measurement relies on your knowledge and experience of your area.

Creative people (and the best entrepreneurs are really creative) know that failure is important, particularly when you’re prototyping and testing new ideas and different ways of working. If you fail fast, which pop ups let you do, you can quickly carry on. By making mistakes, you learn and do better next time.