Three Tips for Launching One Successfully
Online sales continue to explode and exceed growth expectations. In 2015, retailers reported $11 billion in online sales, up 15 percent from 2014, as compared to brick-and-mortar sales, which were generally down. While this is great news for home business owners, carrying out much of their commerce online, many online giants are eyeing the brick-and-mortar world for marketing and customer loyalty purposes. Even Google and Amazon are opening brick-and-mortar stores. Pop-up shops are growing quickly; they present less risk and are less expensive than committing to a permanent brick-and-mortar location. Here are three things for home business owners to consider in the execution of a pop-up shop:
1. Cultivate an experience.
Face-to-face interaction with customers may be an uncommon occurrence for many home business owners. Pop-up shops allow home business owners to use spatial experiences to express their online brand and build personal relationships with customers. As customers can already order the home business owner’s products or services online with ease, a pop-up shop should add a value to the transaction unavailable online, through services such as free fittings, visually appealing displays, or even food and beverages. This is your opportunity to deepen customer relationships, take advantage of it.
2. Spread the word and get feedback.
After creating a unique in-store experience, market it. Many people who conduct business from their homes have a global customer base and therefore may question the effectiveness of pop-up shops, or underestimate the value of targeting a hyperlocal demographic. However, sharing pop-up shop happenings on social channels and in marketing collateral is a valuable way to communicate appreciation to all customers, regardless of location. Pop-up shops are also vehicles for gathering customer testimonials, new product testing and feedback. For home business owners, it’s often easy to gather quantitative customer feedback and demographics online, while attaining qualitative feedback and testimonials may be more difficult. Also, as online shoppers expect convenience, they may view online surveys and questionnaires as hindrances. Pop-up shops, however, are an effective method of acquiring the feedback home business owners may lack.
3. Invest in an mPOS.
For home business owners with no prior need for a physical point of sale (POS) device, a mobile point of sale (mPOS) may be the ideal solution. Mobility is conducive to the temporary physical location and often hands-on nature of pop-up shops. Online shoppers may have previously avoided brick-and-mortar stores in the interest of time. mPOS solutions expedite transactions, enabling cashiers to accept payments from anywhere in the store, in lieu of behind a counter after a long line. Home business owners should consider an mPOS that:
- Accepts all payment types. Home business owners deal primarily with credit and debit online payments and now need a solution that can accept mobile payments, cash, checks and EMV (chip and PIN, chip and signature) payments. The mPOS should also have barcode and QR code scanning capabilities for coupons and gift cards.
- Offers an App Market. The operational and managerial requirements of a brick-and-mortar store differ from those of a home business, which means that there may be facets of running a pop-up shop that home business owners may have not anticipated. This is why an mPOS that offers an app market with apps for everything from accounting to customer feedback and employee management, is an advantage. POS App Markets may also enable home business owners to synchronize their online presence with their physical presence, so that aspects that may cross over between pop-up shop and online store, such as inventory, are carefully tracked.
- Simplifies set up. For pop-up shop purposes, home business owner should find an mPOS they can remove from the box and put to immediate use. In the fast-paced environment of pop-up shops, where most employees are being trained on the spot, technical difficulties are major setbacks. Home business owners may consider an mPOS that not only offers IT support at the touch of a button, but that also is user-friendly, so that its immediate use is intuitive for new employees.
For home business owners looking to unlock customer engagement and bolster marketing efforts, pop-up shops may be the ideal solution. However, in order to avoid a pop-up shop flop, home business owners must consider what the shop will offer customers that they can’t find online, disseminate pop-up shop happenings to their global customer-base, gain useful customer feedback and find an mPOS solution that can grow with and anticipate their fluctuating needs.