It won’t be long before you start seeing those Halloween pop-up stores in your community. You know the ones – they appear in vacant storefronts, often before the leaves have even changed color. As stealthily and quickly as they arrive, they’re gone just a few days after jack-o’-lanterns disappear from doorsteps.

These stores and other pop-up shops and events are part of a $14 billion industry and growing. Some brands and retailers use pop-ups to test out new store formats or locations. Others use pop-up events to launch new products or create immersive experiences.

Among those who have launched pop-ups, 80% said it was a success and 58% said they would do another pop-up, according to a survey of more than 600 professionals in the global retail industry. After hosting a pop-up store, these retailers reported improved market visibility and increased sales and social media buzz.

For online-only retailers, pop-up stores are especially appealing. They give shoppers a chance to interact more directly with products, and because pop-up stores are temporary by design, they also create a sense of urgency to buy now. These “here today, gone tomorrow” shops allow brands to connect with consumers in fun, fresh ways without committing to a brick-and-mortar location. They also don’t require a huge financial investment. About half (44%) of retailers who host pop-up shops spend less than $5,000.

Brands with established physical locations also benefit from pop-up stores. By popping up in different locations, they can drive traffic and sales while reaching a new customer base. Businesses can also set up pop-in stores, which are simply stores within a store. Nordstrom has used this strategy since 2013 with its Pop-In @Nordstrom concept. Every four to six weeks, the retailer features a new themed pop-up from brands like Everlane, The North Face and Warby Parker.

In a world where most people prefer online shopping, promotional products can help draw people away from their screens and into a pop-up store to shop. Read on for some promo ideas to make pop-up shops a success.

Top 3 Reasons For Opening A Pop-Up Shop

According to a survey from Storefront, retailers and brands chose short-term retail for these reasons:

  1. Instant buzz: 66%
  2. Customer connection: 63%
  3. Introduce a new product: 46%

Why People Attend Pop-Ups

Most people are naturally curious about pop-up stores. They want to know what’s inside and what kind of deals they can score. And sometimes, they just want to get a closer look at a cool design. Here are some of the top reasons consumers shop at pop-up shops:

  • Unique/exclusive products or experiences: 55%
  • Curiosity/excitement/entertainment: 49%
  • To support local/independent businesses: 47%
  • To get good deals or free items/services: 38%
  • More personalized shopping experience: 29%
  • Engage with brands/products for the first time: 27%
  • Face-to-face interaction with employees: 23%
  • Immersive brand/product experience: 21%
  • To share experiences with friends/family: 20%
  • Social media-worthy: 17%
  • The aesthetics or design layout: 17%

Cost To Open A Pop-Up Store

Many factors go into the cost of a pop-up shop, including size, location and how long it stays open. Some retailers can run a short pop-up event for around $1,500, although longer-running stores (like the Halloween pop-ups) may cost upwards of $30,000. When planning pop-up budgets, brands should factor in promos that align with the event or store theme.

Who Opens Pop-Up Shops?

A Storefront survey reveals that 40% of businesses that open pop-ups run a brick-and mortar location, 32% operate online and 28% run both online and in-person operations. The most common industries for pop-up shops include:

  • Marketing and event agencies
  • Fashion
  • Consumer products
  • Entertainment/media
  • Health and beauty

Just Add Promo

Pop-up stores can pop up anywhere – festivals, local boutiques, mall concourses. Busch Beer even launched a “pop-up schop” bar in a national forest to benefit the National Forest Foundation. Organizations can turn to promotional products to not only build buzz and attract foot traffic, but to keep their brand top of mind in the long term. Try one of these pop-up ideas:

Seasonal pop-up shop: With fall just around the corner, brands can set up a pop-up shop at football tailgating events, homecoming parades and pumpkin patches. Local businesses can get in front of fans and attendees with all kinds of logoed items, from rally towels to sunscreen.

Nonprofit pop-up shop: Pop-ups can also be great fundraising opportunities for local nonprofits, churches and schools. Offer branded products for sale to raise money while spreading the word about a specific cause. Promo items like tumblers and bags are perpetually useful.

Local up-and-comer pop-up: Community festivals provide prime real estate for pop-up shops, and not just for brands. Individuals like authors and chefs can set up a shop to let the community know about their new book or catering service. Branded merch like bookmarks and kitchen tools get the professional’s name added exposure.

Food Trucks: The First Pop-Up Stores

Not all pop-up shops sell merch – some sell food. Since the iconic Wienermobile (now the Frankmobile) first appeared in the 1930s, food trucks have continued to grow in popularity. The U.S. is home to more than 35,000 food trucks, which is up from 24,000 in 2020. California boasts the most food trucks, followed by Texas and Florida. Whether food trucks are rolling into street food markets, music festivals or business districts, owners can dole out promos to connect with customers and keep them coming back for more.

Campaign Collateral

woman displaying custom-printed beach towel

Ideal for beach, lake and resort pop-up events, the ColorFusion Deluxe Beach Towel features an edge-to-edge design in striking colors. It’s made from absorbent combed cotton velour with an undetectable-to-the-touch imprint.

Towel Specialties / PPAI 113150, S7  

woman with dog and holding collapsible flat water bowl

Pet stores, vet clinics, dog walkers and rescue organizations can attract pet owners to pop-up shops with the Feed ’N Go collapsible pet bowl, which includes a metal carabiner for attaching to leashes or bags. It holds up to 12 ounces of food or water.

Ariel Premium Supply / PPAI 161650, S11 

 branded gel pens in a rainbow of colors

Branded pens like the Phoenix Softy Brights Gel Pen make great giveaways at events of all kinds, including pop-up stores and events. This pen writes in super-smooth gel ink and features a soft-touch rubberized finish. Choose from a kaleidoscope of bright hues.

Goldstar / PPAI 114031, S10 

branded beverage can tab opener and lid

Keep the party going after a pop-up event with the Cappy. This promo creates a lid for any can – just clip it to the tab and rotate to open and close. It keeps a brand name visible and beverages fizzy.

HPG / PPAI 110772, S11 

 branded drawstring backpack and water bottle

The Drawstring Backpack and Bottle Combo can help places like gyms and fitness studios pump up crowds at pop-up stores and events. Both promos feature a logo and come in a variety of splashy colors.

Garyline / PPAI 112004, S10

custom candy box with window

The Window Box With Candy Confections makes a sweet send-off for pop-up store visitors. Treats are bagged inside a box featuring a round or heart cutout window on top. Choose from a variety of sweets like chocolate buttons, gummy bears and jelly beans.

Midnite Snax / PPAI 113793, S3 

custom branded pickleball paddles
Amp up the fun at a pop-up event with the Smash Paddle Ball Game. This classic outdoor beach game includes two customized paddles and two rubber balls packed inside a mesh carrying case.

AAA Innovations / PPAI 110972, S4