How to open a successful pop-up shop

6th February 2024

For D2C brands, starting with your first physical space can be very daunting, and the fear of taking a lease and being fearful of constant footfall is of course a worry. For Barber, we’ve designed pop-up shops in London and elsewhere, we’ve worked with brand owners and founders several times over so we know the pain points you’re facing now and will face as the project progresses. The definition of a pop-up shop also can mean so many things these days; temporary stores, market stalls, short lease retail, long-term lease and you wonder how to do a pop up shop in 2024; so we’ve set out how to start a pop up shop in the following steps below. We hope it helps.


Finding the right location, right designers and right shop-fitters takes time and it has to feel right for your brand. Some agents will conduct feasibility studies for you, show you nearby retailers and ‘points of interest’ that will help get people to the area. We actually did a feasibility study for King Living, who from Australia during the lockdowns, they needed feet on the ground to scope shop floors and the local area. For some brands, local markets or shop-in-shop concessions can start to build local buzz and there’s also pop-up hubs such as BoxPark and Camden Market who have more longer-term solutions.

Beyond a smart location that suits your brand; here’s what we think also needs to be considered;

12 points to consider for your pop-up design

1. Eye-catching shop-front and street appeal:

  • Design an attractive and cohesive visual identity that aligns with your brand.
  • Use bold graphics, signage, and window displays to grab attention and communicate your brand message.

2. Brand Storytelling:

  • Use the pop-up space to tell the story of your brand. Utilize visual displays, videos, or written content to convey the brand’s mission, values, and unique selling points. The colour palette has to represent your brand’s personality and the signage, packaging, graphics – it all has to embody who the brand truly is to connect with consumers.

3. Interactive Displays:

  • Encourage customers to physically interact with your products to create a memorable experience. Free samples, holding the product, touch, smell – engaging all the experiences of your customers heightens the experience and will help make a lasting impression.
  • Incorporate interactive elements to engage visitors. This could include touchscreens, VR experiences, or interactive product displays but only where relevant; don’t do ‘tech’ for the sake of it.

4. Social Media Integration:

  • Create opportunities for visitors to share their experience on social media. Incorporate Instagrammable moments and encourage the use of branded hashtags.
  • Consider hosting social media contests or giveaways to increase online visibility.
  • Run social media focused campaigns to test your following, trialling marketing campaigns both off and online will show you insights into how customers are finding you and shopping with you.

5. Personalized Experiences:

  • Provide personalized experiences, such as customization stations or personalized consultations, to make customers feel special and connected to your brand. This can include customisation through products, services or loyalty scheme.

6. Comfortable Seating Areas:

  • Design comfortable seating areas where visitors can relax, try out products, or engage in conversation with staff.
  • Foster a welcoming environment that encourages people to spend more time in the space. This may seem obvious but retailers thing product display over customer experience a lot of the time. Making a space comfortable will make them stay longer.

7. Limited Edition Products:

  • Offer exclusive or limited-edition products that are only available at the pop-up shop. This creates a sense of urgency and encourages immediate purchases. It’s a strong merchandising idea but an area of your store needs to be focused towards a seasonal or limited edition campaign, so this will need incorporating in your floorplan.

8. Event Programming:

  • Host events, workshops, or product launches to attract a larger audience.
  • Collaborate with influencers or industry experts to draw in their followers and create additional buzz. A great way to drive people into your space- no matter how big or small it is, it’s about getting content, driving footfall and word-of-mouth.

9. Branded Merchandise:

  • Offer branded merchandise or freebies that attendees can take home, serving as a reminder of the brand.

10. Data Collection:

  • Collect customer data through sign-ups or surveys to understand your audience better and continue engaging with them post-pop-up. This needs to be considered for people in your shop and looking you up online.

11. Sustainability Initiatives:

  • Showcase your brand’s commitment to sustainability through eco-friendly materials, practices, or product lines. This can resonate well with environmentally conscious consumers. For example, recycled paper bags or recycled plastic labels.

12. Seamless Checkout Process:

  • Ensure that the checkout process is quick and convenient. Consider implementing mobile payment options to streamline transactions. It has to be quick and where it can be personalised or allow for an up-selling – they are also good things to consider.

Design yourself, hire a designer or just get a shop-fitter

When you’ve gone through all the above, it’s time to think about who to help you bring your pop-up shop physically to life. You could design a floorplan yourself and then get help from a designer or shopfitter, or just go straight for a design and build practice. It’s our belief naturally that nor an architect or shop-fitter considers the same aspects that designers do, but when it comes to choosing the right services, go with experience, knowledge and who you trust to do the job properly for what you are aiming to build.

To ask our team how to design your pop-up store, please get in touch;