Ready to make a little Christmas holiday magic at the till? For makers, entrepreneur-artisans and savvy business people, the holiday shopping season is the only shopping season that matters. The consumer extravaganza Black Friday is just days away and promises to be as big as ever. Big retailers are already gearing up for the consumer frenzy – and it’s not too late for the crafty business owner to get in on the good times, whether you’re considering a stand-alone pop up shop or an add-on kiosk for an established shop.
Santa isn’t just going to hand over a business plan for you to take advantage, so it’s time for you to get ready.
Here’s a quick and handy guide so you can bring your products to the table – and instead of complaining over your credit card bill, you might just wind up filling your stockings with some sparkling profits.
Set up a mobile payments system. Cash is so 2014. Solutions like Dream Payments make it easy for you to take your customer’s money via Interac or credit card through your smartphone – just as easily as an established business that’s been around for years. It’s a fast, secure and low-cost way to handle the transaction, give out receipts and instantly track all purchases. You’ll never have to kick yourself for losing out on that big customer sale because they didn’t have exact change.
Location, location, location. This is important when it comes to any business, but particularly for pop-up businesses that need to start earning revenue fast to justify the enterprise. You’ve got to go where they are. Understand what complementary products and services your customers are looking for and set up shop next door. For Hagensborg we found that the Fancy Food Show in NYC and San Francisco were well worth the trip. If you’re a niche maker, look for exhibit space at a craft fair like the One of a Kind Show.
But do your research – you don’t want to be one of several makers set up selling virtually the same thing. And be careful: if the exhibitor space is giving a discount on rent for the dusty, barely-accessible spot under the stairs in the corner of the building, don’t be tempted. Lower rent isn’t that great a deal if you’ve got no traffic coming by your business.
Have an online presence. Why create a website that’s only going to be used for a month or two? Because not having one is just plain silly, when you can put up an eCommerce store and landing pages so quickly and cheaply these days. We have the tools now to set up eStores and simple business websites with templates in mere minutes. You don’t need a crack web developer to put it together for you, either. It’s easier than ever to DIY a site on WordPress, or another popular platform. If you do want a fully-built out website with great design and content that will serve you well for the longer term, that’s very do-able, too.
Besides, there’s no hard-and-fast rule that your pop-up business needs to take most or all of its income through your physical locations. Consider your temporary stores as advertising space for your exploding online business.
Market your products collaboratively. “Buy any two widgets at Jack’s Shop and get 10 percent off your next purchase at Jill’s House of Gifts” – or something like that. Set up your partnerships strategically to incentivize customers to come in from down the street, or the other side of the holiday craft fair. Participate in a coupon booklet. Collaborate on contests. Get instant referral business from other cooperative entrepreneurs who are directing traffic and dollars your way.
Create a brand memory with a holiday theme. Use your clothing line to put on a holiday fashion show with your friendly troupe of elves (or in our case, holiday pigs). Do a taste test or a bake-off with your holiday-themed chocolates. Have a race with your innovative selection of flying reindeer drones. Have a Santa’s workshop diorama contest using your creative 3D-printed cartoon characters. You’re not just selling a product. You’re selling an experience.
There are a million ways to make your pop-up store pop out from the competition. Get into the spirit and make it happen.
Shelley Wallace is the owner of Hagensborg Chocolates, makers of the wildly popular Truffle Pig line of high quality All Natural European chocolate truffles.