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Pop-up advice from the experts 28th July 2016

Over the years we’ve worked with numerous brands on pop-up projects. The trend continues, with brands big and small using it as a way to reach customers in new and interesting places. But a significant challenge for clients is finding the perfect location and so we asked the team at Appear Here  for their tips on how to do it.

Appear Here lists thousands of spaces across the country, which brands can book to make their ideas happen. Whether you’re in fashion, food or retail, to have a successful store you need to be in the right place at the right time. And knowing the aim of your pop-up is the fastest way to work that out. Do you want to drive sales? Dip your toes in a new neighbourhood and see what happens? Or road test a new product or branding?

Once you’ve got your aim in mind, you can start to narrow down your search to find that perfect place. Answering the following questions can help you work this out.

How high is the footfall?

Footfall figures tell you how many people pass through a location over time. To find out the footfall of an area, start your search online – shopping centres and train stations usually make these figures public. For high street locations, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) publishes a monthly Retail Sales Monitor that includes footfall numbers across the UK.

Now ask yourself, does the figure match your expectations? When is the busiest peak, and when does it get quieter? Check this pattern fits your opening hours. For example, launching a Saturday market in the City of London – which is packed Monday-Friday but quiet at the weekend – probably isn’t going to work.

Another thing to consider is accessibility – how close is the space to train stations and bus stops? Does it have parking nearby, for shoppers driving in?

Work, or play?

If you’re hosting an event – like a product launch party – then be careful of choosing to appear in a residential area. On the other hand, a supper club might benefit from being closer to residents. Taking on a residency in a local pub is often the best way of generating word-of-mouth recommendations.

Before you sign up to any space, get in touch with the local council. Find out about limits on opening hours in this area and what licenses you’ll need before you launch. If there are offices nearby, get in touch to see if their workers will want to stop by.

What are the neighbours up to?

Who are your neighbours going to be? Do you have things in common? If not, how will these stores affect perceptions of yours?

A little bit of competition can be healthy, it brings more shoppers to the area and maximises dwell time. So if you can partner with nearby retailers – even better.

Old Street station is a great example of this in action. In January, fitness brands packed out the station’s spaces: cross-promoting their food and lifestyle brands and even hosting exercise classes in store together.

What about the budget?

Certain events can push prices up (during London Fashion Week, for example) so consider a different date. If the numbers still aren’t adding up, don’t worry – there are two more ways to reduce overheads.

One is to find a nearby shop share with a similarly minded brand or concept store, which means you’ll get to split the rent. Another is to consider a longer-term pop-up. Landlords are often more flexible on prices if you book for a longer period.

How does it look?

Investing in bricks and mortar is an opportunity to create a memorable branded experience for visitors, increasing awareness and ultimately sales. Start by checking permissions with the landlord and local council. Once that’s done, working with a retail design agency to create your desired concept will maximize its impact and ensure customers leave with plenty to talk about. I-AM worked most recently with lifestyle brand Hem on a six month pop-up in Seven Dials, with outstanding results.

It’s now time to find the perfect place for your idea. Check out the latest spaces available on Appear Here or browse our curated Destination Guides to start your search.