Pop-Up Failures: Four Crucial Pitfalls to Avoid

We’ve spoken a lot about the many benefits of a well-executed Pop-up. A well-executed pop-up can be a memorable experience for consumers, a buzz maker, and a brand booster. Pop-ups don’t all have to be the same. Pop-up failures are simply not worth the effort. They can waste your time and money, or worse, create a negative reputation for your brand.

We were excited to visit a few pop-ups in Manhattan during the end of the year due to their increasing popularity. We found everything from amazing to terrible. These are the most common pop-up pitfalls we discovered and how to avoid them if you can’t make it to NYC.

Inability to wow = yawn factor

Pop-ups do not always have to be extravagant (although it is possible to go big if you have the funds), but they must make a statement.

It is not enough to have a pop up that does not deviate from brick-and-mortar locations if you already own them. Your store layout may be very familiar to your customers, and possibly a bit stale. Brands have lured customers in with promises of pop-ups, which, when they walk in, look exactly the same as the existing stores. It’s not a temporary store opening, it’s a new (albeit temporary!) store layout.

Your audience should know that you are hosting a pop up. You can’t make it the same old thing over and over again. This is easiest to achieve. Make it about the experience. Pop-up visitors should leave with an experience that is unique and exciting.

False advertising = lack of consistency

This wow factor cannot be left alone. This wow factor cannot be left to its own devices. This is a failure of pop-ups.

There are two ways to create continuity. First, don’t make a pop up that is too different from your brand if you are unable to create continuity of experience financially or effectively. Don’t try to impress your customers with a pop up that doesn’t live up to every interaction with the brand. Consumers dislike the bait-and-switch – feeling so excited at a pop up, but in their local store there is no change.

Second, don’t let your pop-up close down your campaign. While pop-ups are temporary, they should make lasting impressions that can guide your future locations. Your stores don’t have to be completely redecorated. You don’t have to redecorate your entire store.

Inattention to details = poor execution

Strong opinions can either make or break your business. One mistake can spell doom. You can do a million things well. Flickering lights, messy inventory, and ugly signage are all things that can impact how customers view you.

It is crucial to pay attention to the finer details. Your pop-up has evolved from an idea in your head to a fully-fledged, living concept. It’s not what you want for your pop-up to fail because of something that you didn’t see.

Make sure that everything is organized and clean. It’s like a cooking contest. It doesn’t matter if you have a great idea for a recipe. But if you don’t cook the food properly or use too much salt, then you will be sent home. Each ingredient must work together.










Promoting improperly = Major No Shows

You have spent months planning a pop-up that is flawlessly executed. Every detail has been taken care of and every duck is placed in its proper place. No one is there on opening day.

If nobody wants to spend money on an interesting installation, what’s the point? It’s like throwing money down the drain. Of course, the message is often the media. ?

A communications strategy must be included in your pop-up plan. You can use social media, email campaigns and news articles to let people know about your pop-up, and to incentivize them to come. Don’t forget about store windows. These are used to announce the opening and draw people in after you launch. Your windows are one of the most valuable assets you have. Consumers can shop online and walk by your store. It’s up to you to make them feel excited enough to visit your store.

You could fail to do this and you could end up like KanyeWest shutting down a popup in an hour and a quarter because no one showed up.