How to design a pop-up shop - SYST Business

How to design a pop-up shop

Most of us were shopping online during the past year, but with the economy in the UK now reopening, it’s time to talk shop! Are you ready to get back out there, engage with your customers and test your ideas in person? A physical pop-up is a great way to do that, so here are some tips on where to begin!

Retail design combines many fields, so we must start with the basics that are not necessarily within the interior design sphere.

1. Create a clear strategy

It would be good to have a clear idea of why you are starting the pop-up. Based on your goals you can develop the experience and format that works best for you. Is it a short promotional stunt where you want to achieve the ‘wow’ effect, or is it about the long-term testing of a location?

2. Start with your brand and ideal customer

The design behind your pop-up shop should be an extension of your brand’s story. The message you want to send to your clients has to be loud and memorable, especially if you are using the space only for a short period. As a business owner, you always need to have a picture of your ideal client in mind. Who is that ideal customer to whom you are selling your product? What do they like and what will grab their attention? What do they enjoy doing and what is their ideal shopping experience?

3. Get creative – deliver an unforgettable experience!

If you understand your customer well enough and make an event of your pop-up, people will not want to miss it. What can make your brand unique are memorable experiences, Instagramable places, and dynamic content. Create magic around your business, think of demonstrations, performances, one-time offers, appeal to people’s curiosity. When they think of the product make them remember their experience with you!

Fun things that you could do to attract customers can be through window displays, on-site activities (presentations, classes, speaking engagements, etc.), selfie spots that encourage social media interaction, virtual reality to showcase new technologies and so much more.

Spring season is all about bright colours, the smell of flowers, the taste of new fruits, and new bright beginnings. Use this emotional connection and call on those feelings, thus people are more likely to remember your products.

4. Customer behaviour – a guided tour through your shop

As we go to the physical materialisation of your brand as a pop-up, we need to create a narrative for customers coming into your shop.

A window display is how you make a good first impression – a great way to attract customers and start communication.

Upon entering the shop, customers need a transition space to adjust to the new environment, so within the first couple of metres (depending on the shop size) we usually create a ‘decompression zone’. If you put content in this zone, it can easily be overlooked.

Some retail statistics are suggesting that 90% of people turn right when they walk into a store. Some refute these claims saying that there is a 50-50 chance for people to turn left or right. So, the best thing you can do for your business is to track the behaviour of your customers and create your own statistics in this regard.

Observing this behaviour is really important to properly design a clear path and lead customers down it. There are a couple of the most common shop layouts and I will describe them in the next segment.

If you have a larger space, create speed bumps to ensure that people entering the store will not just speed through without noticing your products.

5. Basic store layouts

These are some basic store layouts that are most frequently used:


This layout consists of aisles alongside the walls. It is good for displaying a lot of products in a small space, but it can feel cramped for customers.


In this case, the circular path is created and ends where the customer began. If you have a bigger space, this type may waste customers’ time if they came for a specific product.

Free flow

This layout allows customers to wander without a specific path, but you need to know your customers’ behaviour because there are certain rules you need to follow in order to not make it confusing.

6. Displaying your products

If we are talking about visual merchandising, there is a saying ‘Eye level is a buy level’. With this being said, have in mind that if you are offering products desired by children, they should be on their eye level, 90cm to 120cm of the ground.

There are many interesting ways on how to captivate your customers’ attention and what works best for a certain type of product. For example, what to put on the highest shelves, where to put heavy items, dark colour items, etc. but this would be a whole new blog topic.

If you are displaying a variety of products, they should be classified into different categories and put in the right place according to your customers’ needs. What are your premium products; most popular products; what do you want to promote at the moment; what could be an impulse buy?

Draw attention to the products using signage, lighting, or colour. Think of putting together items you can use with each other; arrange them by themes – seasonal, holiday gifts, etc.

With these points we just touched the tip of an iceberg. This is a much more complex topic, but in the end, I just wanted to remind you to enjoy the process as well. It is OK to exaggerate and be playful – this is just a temporary space design, and you are allowed to test and make mistakes. These solutions do not need to be pricey, just release your creativity and have fun!


Originally published by Enterprise Nation