There is no disputing that pop-up shops are all the rage. But you need to have an innovative pop-up shop idea in order to stand out in the crowd.

If you’ve settled on opening a pop-up store but are still struggling to pinpoint your next great idea, here are 7 pop-up shop concepts that are guaranteed to wow your customers!

1. Go Mobile

Can’t decide on where to hold your pop-up shop? Or maybe you’ve already held a successful pop-up store and are looking to take it on the road! Either way, outfitting an old food truck or moving van is a great alternative to the traditional brick-and-mortar store. It gives you the flexibility to expand awareness of your products in different areas of town (or country!), as well as with different demographics such as farmers’ markets or outdoor concert festivals. It can also turn your pop up shop ideas into pop up event ideas, which are powerful ways to create an engaging brand experience.

People standing in line in front of a red food truck.

2. Be Exclusive — Go Invite Only.

It’s the most basic principle of human nature: everyone wants what they can’t (or might not be able to have). So go exclusive, create some hype, and watch the buzz about your pop-up shop skyrocket! If you think it’s counterintuitive to restrict the number of customers to your store, just hear us out.

We’re not saying that the entire lifespan of your pop-up shop needs to be invite-only, but restricting it to invite-only guests for the first week (or day) is a popular marketing strategy that can spread the word about your business and get the ball rolling on social media. You can increase the impact of this strategy by including local influencers in your invite list. You can also create a hashtag for Instagram and Twitter to serve as another marketing vehicle.

3. Get Creative With Structure

Whoever said that your pop-up venue must be a traditional brick and mortar — and may we say unoriginal structures — was sorely mislead. There is nothing traditional about pop-up shops, so there is no reason to feel confined to a traditional retail store layout when choosing your locale. Get creative and open up shop in something industrial like a recycled shipping container. Or maybe go all Swiss Family Robinson and build a treehouse! With a little bit of creativity (and maybe a tool belt), the possibilities are endless.

Image of a red shipping container.

4. Entice With the Senses.

Have you ever gone into a bath store just to smell the perfume? Or how many times have you gone to your neighborhood bakery when you know they are giving out samples? Delicious smells and yummy tastes translate into foot traffic, so take advantage of this knowledge! Whether you’re a boutique that’s flung its door wide open and smells of delicious vanilla-scented candles, or a bakery tempting passer-byes with delicious candied goodies, enticing customers with as many senses as possible will not only draw them into your pop-up store, but will create a warm and inviting environment they’ll pass along via word-of-mouth. Better yet, consider complementing your pop-up retail space with a pop-up restaurant to create a memorable experience for your audience.

SEE ALSO: 26 Inexpensive Customer Appreciation Ideas

5. Location… Location… Sweet location!

Maybe you’ve scoured the streets looking for your ideal location, or perhaps what you are looking for is so unique that no location exists! Either way, whether it’s out of necessity or creativity, popping up shop outside the confines of the traditional is completely in line with pop-up culture. One way to be imaginative is to host your shop — wait for it — inside another store!

This is not only a great way to attract customers from the get-go, but can also act as a great way to introduce your store (and yourself) to a community. What is better than having an already-established store vouch for you? Not much! Just make sure that when you approach a store to host your shop, you aren’t choosing a potential competitor or a business that isn’t likely to attract your target consumers.

A customer standing and holding a dog at the counter of a pet store.

6. No space? No worries.

Still no space? Who said your pop-up space needed to be indoors? As long as Mother Nature allows, pop that shop up in the great outdoors! We don’t recommend this as a long-term solution, but the charm of hosting your store in the town’s gazebo might just be too quaint to pass up.

Hosting your event outdoors may also give you more space that you can use to create a blow out experience. Use the opportunity to tap into experiential marketing best practices to increase brand awareness and offer potential customers a unique experience.

Just make sure that if you wind up hosting your shop on public property that you obtain any (or all) necessary permits.

7. Give It Away. Give It ALL Away!

Well, maybe not all away. But free samples/merchandise is the key to a customer’s heart and an essential part of pop-up marketing. Make sure that what you’re giving away doesn’t decrease your profits so much that it hurts your bottom line. You also need to make sure that what you pass along to your patrons feels like a solid value. Taking both of these points into account, giveaways might not be sensible for all stores, maybe a free gift for just the first 20 or 30 customers is feasible.

Either way, keep in mind that great marketing both surprises and delights your customers. A few of our favorite free sample ideas are mini cocktails (pop-up bar anyone? ), custom perfume scents, and temporary tattoo applications. Like so many things in small business, your only limit is your imagination. So let it run wild and see what you come up with!

Five dogs waiting to receive treats in a pop-up shop.

After taking a look at our pop-up shop ideas, if the uncertainty of opening a shop makes you nervous, don’t be. Often the concept for a pop-up store morphs and takes on a whole new dimension before the store even opens. And that’s totally OK. It’s part of the nature of pop-up shops, and very often the creative inspiration for something great down the line.

Sara Sugar

Sara Sugar

As Managing Editor at ShopKeep, a leading iPad Point of Sale System, Sara Sugar uses her distinguished journalism background to boil down small business and point of sale topics.