How to Decide If a Brick and Mortar or Pop-Up Shop Is Right For You


Brick and Mortar shops aren’t dead yet, many people believe that ecommerce has taken over everything. Online shopping is more convenient and provides a better shopping experience, but online shopping only accounts for 14.3% of all retail sales worldwide. You can see that less than 15% of the share is online, brick and mortar stores hold the remaining 85%, is that something you want to neglect as a retailer? Probably not.


On the other hand, pop-up shops are on the rise especially during the holiday seasons, online retailers are using pop-up shops to generate more revenue for their business, it’s easier to set up than brick and mortar stores but still comes with its own challenges. In this article, we’ll compare brick and mortar shops versus pop-up shops to see which one is ideal for you.


What Is Brick And Mortar Store?


A business or retail outlet that has a physical location even if it’s only one. All the stores in your local area are considered brick and mortar stores since you can visit these stores and make a purchase in person. Running a brick-and-mortar store isn’t inexpensive because it comes with more overhead costs than ecommerce stores.


On the other hand, brick-and-mortar stores have higher conversion rates because people who visit stores in person are in a shopping mindset. When shoppers find the right product they’ll make a purchase right away because there are no distractions. With ecommerce stores, customers can quickly compare prices and products across multiple brands and platforms, lowering the potential conversion rate.


What are pop-up shops?


Pop-up shops are temporary short-term storefronts put on by ecommerce businesses to help them get new customers and also interact with existing customers. They are popular in in big cities due to massive foot traffic and can be used to drive more sales directly.


They’re easier and more cost-effective to set up, as there are no long-term costs associated with maintaining and employing a traditional storefront.


Organizing Pop Up Shop


Even though pop-up shops might seem easier to set up, they also come with their challenges as well, that’s why it’s a good idea to hire an agency to handle most of the process for you, this will help you save a lot of money. You need to find an experienced agency to set up things the way you imagine them.


Cost of setting up pop up shop


Pricing is important since you don’t want to run out of budget when you begin setting up your shop. Speaking of costs, there are a lot of things to consider. These include;



  • License, insurance and permits
  • Renting costs
  • Employee costs
  • Maintenance and design
  • Shipping and logistics
  • Marketing
  • Store software and hardware

As you already know, pop-up shops are temporary, and the shorter the lifespan of the pop-up shop the lower the overall costs will be. Be specific with your timeline in order to eliminate costs.


Choosing a location for a pop-up shop


Location is very important because the main purpose of a pop-up shop is to increase awareness for your brand and you want to make sure that it is located somewhere with heavy foot traffic. You need to identify where your potential prospects are and then choose the right location in the crowd, come up with a few options and then go check them out during different times of the day. Observe foot traffic, potential clients, and the neighboring stores and restaurant options. Use these factors to help you eliminate some options and make a decision.


Licensing pop up shop


Licensing differs by city; they have their costs, requirements and policies, you’ll also need a commercial license to protect your store and the goods inside. Be sure to check out your local licensing requirements as they tend to differ depending on geographical locations.


For more information on creating a pop-up shop, be sure to check out this article from Shopify as it has some really great information.


Now, let’s discuss how to set up a Brick and Mortar store.


Setting Up Brick And Mortar Shops


Setting up a brick and mortar shop is more challenging than setting up a pop up store as it is a much longer commitment. At times you could be purchasing a storefront or leasing one, meaning you are bound to the location financially for a period of time. However, let’s walk through some steps you should take.


Outline your plan


If you are opening up a store, we can assume you plan on staying in the business for the long term. In order to execute your business successfully, and eventually make a profit you need to prepare a proper business plan.


You need to develop a plan that discusses the following: your product, targeted customers, the type of employees, competitors, and your price range. For a more detailed look at how to create a business plan please check out this article.


Give your retail store a name


Choosing the right name is very important also, you should keep it simple with meaning and should be unique. Your brand name matters a lot, so please do not settle. Work and rework your name, keep it short and simple but significant enough, that your clients will remember it. Here is a great article on how to name your business.


Take care of legalities first


Make sure to speak to the right legal team that will guide you on how to set up your store legally. You will need licenses, permits, employer identification numbers and seller’s licenses.


Find a good location


Location matters a lot in retail, you want a location that’s easy to find and that has great foot traffic. Just like with a pop-up store you will need to come up with a few location options and then go check them out during different times of the day. Keep in mind that you may need to refurbish or redesign the space entirely, so place close attention to the space and how much money you would potentially have to invest before deciding on a space.


Explore marketing opportunities


You have to be ready to invest a lot in marketing, even if you’re in a populated area; you have to promote your store as much as you can. The best way to get started is on social media, connect to the audience in your city and show them what you have to offer. You can hire a social media marketing agency to do the job for you if you have the cash flow, but if you don’t here is a great article that should get you started.


Now, which would you choose? If you want to test the waters, start your store online and venture into a potential pop-up shop to promote your products. As time goes on, look into investing in a brick-and-mortar store.

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Author: Joel Goldstein


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