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How do trade fair pop ups… compare to retail pop ups ?


It seems timely to talk about trade shows ! Earlier this week we saw another flurry of buyer activity in Melbourne … a couple of large fashion events and the February gift and homewares fair. A similar article on this topic has appeared on our pages previously (also on the blog of the Australian Gift & Homewares Association) – I’d expect my earlier comments and comparisons of retail pop ups vs trade show pop ups are still valid (?)

So. Phew. Another big weekend of trade fairs 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 shop (but hopefully with a retail event there’s not much stock to take back afterwards !)

I also won’t lecture on the importance of following up after the trade fair pop ups… As with any buyer event, there are always sales to confirm, leads to convert, relationships to consolidate…

Many exhibitors at the trade 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, security, 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 trade fair pop ups (there’ll be another intensive round coming up later in the year…) – exhibitors could take a leaf from the successful poppers’ books. I’d recommend planning well ahead to make 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 a few of those books – see our blog post (3rd January 2020)

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



images : FAB.event, Fashion Exposed Now, Retail Quarter, AGHA fair Sydney (past years)


One comment to "How do trade fair pop ups… compare to retail pop ups ?"

  1. Phillippa 18/02/2020

    Wondering about who wears the liability and insurances for a Pop-up shop if I were to rent my space out? Would love some advice


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