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How do pop up shops compare to trade fairs ?


This article first appeared on the members’ blog of the Australian Gift & Homewares Association, 1st March 2013 (and on popUPshops Melbourne, 27th April 2013). It seems timely to re-post this now, as the major Gift Fairs have just finished in Melbourne… and the Fashion Fairs are coming soon !


Phew. Another AGHA Home & Giving Fair over and done, time to put the feet up and catch your breath ? Actually, no…

In many ways, trade fairs are one huge pop up shop ! If you think about it…. both are intensive (short-term) selling opportunities, they require detailed preparations, should present an interesting look / feel / sound / smell to visitors – and they also require post-event follow ups…

One of the most popular genres of pop up shops we see are the weekend fashion event, end of season clearance or launch of a new range or product. Often trading over just a few days, with eye-catching displays and special pricing to attract sales – widely promoted to an existing database of fans but also aiming to meet and build relationships with new customers. Trade shows are very similar – attracting crowds of qualified buyers, some of whom you already know well – others are fresh faces looking for a great new product or supplier.

I’m not here to discuss the “thing” that makes you stand out amongst the sea of Fair exhibitors (there’s plenty of VM and marketing advice about that) – but it’s obvious that a great stand requires a good deal of “physical” planning before the event… not limited to working out which stock to display but also how to present it, how to get it there and then get it home. It’s the same with a pop up (but hopefully with a retail event there’s not much stock to take back afterwards !)

I also wont lecture on the importance of following up after Home & Giving… As with any trade fair, there are always sales to confirm, leads to convert, relationships to consolidate…

Many exhibitors at the AGHA Fairs would already be well prepared for a pop up shop. For one thing, the physical displays used at an exhibition may just suit a temporary sales event. Those display systems are often packaged and sitting in a warehouse – why not also use them between Fair times ? The logistics and staffing requirements are similar for a pop up shop, but there are of course additional challenges – finding a suitable location (at a suitable price), arranging extra fittings, the electricity, locksmiths, insurance…

We see quite a few seasoned “poppers” at instant retail – customers who return to pop up again and again. Each time they do they an event with us it’s a little different – obviously not always the same products and often they will tweak the look of their shop as well… with new graphics, alternative display systems, something unique which assures customers that their business is vibrant, not content to sit back and ride the tide.

And so… looking ahead to the next Home & Giving Fair… exhibitors could take a leaf from the successful poppers’ book. I’d recommend planning well ahead for making a few interesting, eye-catching changes to your stand, prepare (and execute !) a well-structured follow up after the Fair – maybe even read a couple of the “how to” guides on pop up shops for ideas to adapt to your trade fair experience. We’ve reviewed 2 of those books – Pop Up Business for Dummies and Pop-Up Retail by Christina Norsig.

I’d suggest… if you do take a moment to put those feet up and catch your breath… read these books while you’re doing it !


423. Australian Gift & Homewares Association trade fair 2


featured image : Australian Gift & Homewares Association trade fair, Google Images


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