Mobile payment technologies are helping the sector flourish, as solutions such as portable credit card readers allow traders to give customers the options they want.
Barclaycard figures, based on a survey taken at Greenwich Market in London, show that a quarter of people will walk away from a purchase if they cannot pay by card. At the same time, 41% of traders who do accept cards say they are reaching more people, while 12% of businesses say they have increased sales volumes by taking them2.
What’s fuelling growth?
It’s not hard to see why pop-ups and other temporary trading locations are popular. They allow both new and established retailers to experiment. They’re also often a cheaper and easier option for start-ups to take their first steps.
“I need to test the market, to see what people like and the prices they’re willing to pay,” says Erika Alvarez, owner of Mexican craft retailer Mexzik Home. She is trading at a temporary market before moving online.
Then there’s flexibility. A survey by lawyers’ network Quality Solicitors shows that 54% of SMEs want flexible, short-term leases rather than lengthy contracts3. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that more small businesses are looking for temporary locations to provide a solution.
Making it work – 5 steps to success
So how do you make sure your temporary or pop-up store continues to fizz? Here are five important things to consider.
1. Take card payments
Do you worry about not having the right change for customers, the inconvenience of taking cash to the bank and the time taken to balance the books? According to The Payments Council, you wouldn’t be alone as 68% of traders do4.
“Lots of customers say they don’t have cash,” says Bijan Morvaridi, co-founder of street food business The Rolling Duck. “We definitely have more success by having our card machine, and we prefer card payments. We can keep track of things a lot easier.”
It’s a similar story for Erika, who, with 70% of her sales by card, also benefits from the advantages of chip and pin.
“It’s easier to do the admin around my money if customers pay by card. By using Barclaycard Anywhere I can monitor my account, so it makes it easy. It’s really important to keep an eye on this.”
2. Do the research
Research, research, research, and then do some more. It’s one of Bijan’s top tips for any aspiring pop-up owner, and something he said he should have done more of when starting out earlier in 2015.
“It ended up costing us – we made mistakes along the way,” he says. “For example, we didn’t realise we couldn’t use our gas grill in our cabin, so we had to buy an electric one as well.”
3. Know where your customers are
Don’t expect to be able to trade from anywhere and find the same level of success. Make sure you choose a location that brings in a suitable audience.
“I was trading in one market because it was cheap and because there are a lot of creative people there, but it wasn’t what I expected – people didn’t have the money to spend,” says Erika
One of the benefits of a temporary location is that it can move and ‘follow the money’. However, it’s also worth remembering that, while customers are experiencing your brand at a pop-up location, they might be looking to buy online later.
Don’t let the good work your store does go to waste – having an online option provides more ways to take payments and can play a major part in making sure your store is a success.
4. Location, location, location
Once you’ve worked out where your customers will be, there’s the potentially tricky part of making sure you get the space you want as it’s very competitive.
“You have to plan things in advance when choosing locations, and you really need to be applying to places six months in advance,” says Bijan.
But even then that’s not always enough. If you’re in a location when many other traders are, the crowd-pulling benefits can be offset by having to fight for attention.
“You need to think about which other traders will be there,” says Hemini Shah from photography retailer Quirk London. “You should push to get a good pitch – talk to the organisers, create a good relationship with them. Show commitment.”
5. Don't just sell, sell yourself
Whether it’s trying to convince the manager of a market to give you a spot, pulling in the punters when you’re in there or delivering a compelling experience that entices them to come back for more, how you sell yourself is as important as the goods for sale.
“You need to do something to stand out when you’re surrounded by other similar businesses,” says Erika. “I have decorations and pieces of art to draw people in, then I tell them the stories behind the products and try to involve them in the brand.”
The brand aspect can be crucial – Bijan says developing one and staying true to it is his other top tip. The potential benefits of social media should also be fully explored.
“You can market your business on the go, and people want to see what you’re doing in real time,” he says. “You can connect directly with your client base, which is really important.”
Whether you’re at the beginning of your business journey or you’re already some way down the road, we have a variety of payment solutions that can help you get to your destination faster.
2 Barclaycard – June 2015
4 The Payments Council 2015