6 Tips for Planning a Pop Up Shop Tour

You’ve read up on the latest trends, received budget approval, and decided that a pop up shop tour will be a key part of your brand’s consumer marketing strategy. Step 1: DONE (congrats!)

Experiential marketing is an excellent way to develop a deeper connection with both new and existing customers. Pop-up tours allow you to take that brand experience on the road, vastly increasing the reach, engagement, and impact of your campaign. Like any large-scale marketing initiative, pop up shops require time, energy, and buy in, so it’s important to consider the following when kicking off a project:

Start planning now

From idea to execution, pop-up tours usually take 3 – 6 months to come to life (and that’s if you have the help of experienced partners and vendors). The size and scope of the tour is a key component to timeline. Other factors that impact timing include vehicle fabrication, experience development and production, stop selection, product sourcing, staffing, and promotion.

Choose the right type of pop-up vehicle

Pop-up structures come in all shapes and sizes. Vehicles can be loaned, leased or created from scratch based on available budget and intended length of use. The most popular styles include shipping containers, buses/vans, retro-fitted trailers or RVs, and custom structures.

Existing vehicles can save a lot of money upfront, but often come with large renovation budgets and ongoing maintenance costs. Custom fabrication builds allows the brand 100% control over the structure’s look, feel, finishes, and environment. If going in this direction, think about the cost of the pop-up vehicle as an investment that can be amortized over the length of the pop-up tour and beyond.

Google Chrome pop-up shop

Develop a cross-functional brand team

Like any experiential event, pop-up tours are a public representation of your brand. YMC’s most successful partners treat the pop-up as a “new store opening,” incorporating various department team members including store operations, visual, merchandising, product supply, marketing, and social. This cross-functional task force works together to align on strategy, development, and execution.

Select strategic locations

Cities, colleges, or, beach towns? When narrowing in on locations to pop up, think strategically about where your brand has a brick-and-mortar retail presence, the demographics of your target consumer, the time of year, and potentially weather impacts on your event experience.

Each type of location has a different process for contracting space, regulations around activation footprint size, and fees ranging from $500 to $10,000+ per day. Agency partners, like YMC, can help to navigate these waters based on years of experience and existing relationships with venues and colleges.

It’s also important to understand that the type of vehicle you build will impact the speed, mobility, and possible locations for the tour. Self-propelled or easily towed vehicles are the most flexible, while shipping containers are both costly and complicated to move around the country.

Design a memorable experience

The consumer experience is integral to the pop-up tour’s success. Beyond the environment inside the mobile vehicle, the outdoor event footprint needs to be designed and optimized for traffic flow, engagement, and most importantly, fun! Photo opp areas, music, food, lounge space, and DIY activities are key. Encourage user generated content by communicating a clear campaign message and utilizing on-site branding and signage with social calls-to-action and a hashtag.

Promote the pop up shop

It’s one thing to build the ultimate pop-up experience, but it’s another to promote and put a spotlight on your brand’s efforts! Build a comprehensive pre- and post-event media, promotion, and PR plan. Use this opportunity to show off what your brand team is up to by leveraging real-time social channels like Instagram Stories and Snapchat. Professional photographers and videographers are also key to capturing high quality content which can then be repurposed for future social, website, blog, or advertising needs.

Campus reps and street teams are incredibly effective at driving pre-event buzz and leveraging personal and local community networks. This on-site team also helps to drive walk by traffic to your pop-up experience on the day of the activation and engage consumers in a peer-to-peer manner.

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How can YMC help?

Looking to hit the road with a pop up shop but aren’t sure how to get started? Finding the right partner is key to your success. Here at YMC, we’ve been helping brands connect with 15- to 29-year-old consumers for two decades—we’d be happy to share our wealth of knowledge with you. Contact us today!

Making Your Brand’s Pop-Up Shop a Success

Over the past few years, pop-up shop retail has become an increasingly popular trend among brands. These short-term spaces range from seasonal markets to consumer expos to event-specific stands. Temporary pop-ups can have a big impact—building interest in a product or service, increasing customer engagement, and generating impressive sales. But how exactly does one build the perfect pop-up experience?

Let the brand shine through.

Companies put a lot of time, thought, and energy into their branding—and with good reason! Having an instantly recognizable and attractive logo is key to strengthening brand awareness and enhancing brand loyalty. Use this to your advantage when creating your pop-up shop. Take the Adidas pop-up below as an example. There’s really no question as to what this installation is, and people can easily tell from far away who is hosting the pop-up shop. Job well done, Adidas!

Set up the perfect photo opp.

Millennials are all about “doin’ it for the gram.” Fulfill this desire by incorporating a totally photo-worthy spot in your pop-up. Recent crowd-pleaser The Museum of Ice Cream has room after room of photo ops, from a giant tub of sprinkles to a banana room complete with reflective wallpaper and swings. Take note!

Make it mobile.

While certain areas will attract traffic no matter the date/time (think L.A. or Times Square), a surefire way to spread the love with your pop-up is to turn it into a tour. Whether you decide to roll through different cities, set up shop on college campuses, or travel mall-to-mall, hitting the road will bring excited customers from around the country. A great example of such a pop-up is the Aerie Mobile Tour, which hits both cities and universities throughout the fall, winter, and spring. 

Include customization + exclusive deals.

One question customers ask themselves when considering attending a pop-up is, “Why should I go out of my way to come to this when I could just drive to my local store?” The answer: exclusivity. Feature limited edition items, offer product customization, or include exclusive deals/discounts to make the experience one-of-a-kind. YSL’s 2017 Lip Showroom boasted free engraving with any purchase. Who wouldn’t want to walk away with a custom lipstick that has their name on it?!

Give people something fun to do.

Browsing for clothes, looking at art installations, and listening to speakers or panelists are all great in their own way—but they can also get monotonous. Including games and DIY activities as part of the pop-up experience provides customers with a way to relax and unwind. At Brit + Co.’s 2017 #CreateGood Pop-Up, an arcade (sponsored by Lyft) featured skeeball, pop-a-shot, Pac-Man, and prizes. Everyone walked away feeling like a winner!

Want more? Check out these blogs.

How can YMC Help?

Want to open a pop-up shop on campus but aren’t sure how to get started? Finding the right partner is key to your success. Here at YMC, we’ve been helping brands connect with 15- to 29-year-old consumers for two decades—we’d be happy to share our wealth of knowledge with you. Contact us today!