The Pop-up Shop Budget Made Easier
The most important element of a pop-up is neither its location nor its design. More critical than the product, the celebrity, the spectacle or the swag is the pop-up shop budget.
Getting the numbers right is a mandatory first step is creating effective, meaningful pop-up retail. A thoughtful, detailed budget serves as a touchstone during the planning process, and as a measurement tool when the pop-up is over.
A pop-up shop budget can be complicated, and is best approached in three phases:
- Categorize general expenses
- Determine detailed costs
- Explore contingencies
In my last post, I talked about the important first step of categorizing general expenses. Once these umbrella groups have been identified, it’s time for phase two – drilling down into detailed costs.
What are some areas of detail to explore when creating a pop-up shop budget?
Fixtures and Cabinetry
Of course, your pop-up shop has to look great. Fixtures and displays play a large role in presenting products to shoppers in the most appealing and interesting ways possible. Decide whether the product speaks for itself and requires minimal display support, or whether a more detailed, ornate display will help make the big splash. Cabinets built onsite will eat a fair amount of your budget, as will A/V and media displays.
There is a huge variety in materials, and in their pricing. Finishes and design elements will vary wildly in price, and can therefore hugely impact the pop-up shop budget.
Some pop-up creators make the mistake of assuming that the least expensive approach is to slap a coat of paint onto existing walls. The reality is that preparing existing walls, doors, floors and ceilings – and returning them to a leasable condition – can be a budget killer in itself. If money is tight, consider using adhesive vinyl graphic coverings, freestanding signage or faux materials.
General installation labor costs will vary, depending upon the complexity of the project. This includes moving materials through the door, installing fixtures and running cable.
Specialty on-site labor is going to be more expensive. It takes a specialist to address electrical loads, lighting, flooring, site remediation, hydraulics, plumbing and technology. Anything that requires a construction permit means big dollars. (And speaking of permits, make sure to budget for them – construction, electrical, plumbing, signage, event and occupancy.)
Packaging and Freight
While it’s not the most glamorous part of retail pop-up, shipping is an important line item of a pop-up shop budget. Materials need to get from one place to another, and that’s not inexpensive. If building onsite, materials can be delivered directly to the venue for build-out (at the cost of increased labor, lease and utility bills). An off-site fabricator can also build elements, but it will cost more to get them to the event site once built. So do your math carefully.
The exterior signage of a pop-up shop can vary in cost, depending upon size, material, complexity and installation. The more complex the sign, the higher the price tag. (For example, an internally illuminated sign will require a specialty installer.) Depending upon location, signage may have to be hurricane or earthquake certified. In most cases, the signage will require a permit (another permit!), which means advanced planning and submission for approval.
Graphics and Merchandising
Display will probably represent one of the smaller budget lines. But through smart signage and merchandising, a retailer can get a huge bang for the buck. Well-designed and cleverly integrated visuals – graphic panels, light boxes, fabric elements, signage, wayfinding, wall coverings and unconventional product displays – are critical to shopper satisfaction. Great Shopper Moments are all about the details.
Next time, we’ll continue our conversation about the retail pop-up budget with a look at contingency costs.