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Salsa’s Australian Open pop-up prompts start-up advice

Thursday, 24 January 2013 | By Michelle Hammond

Launching a pop-up shop to coincide with an event can be a huge success, according to a leading industry player, after Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill launched a pop-up shop at the venue of the Australian Open.

 

Scott Williams, founder of Instant Retail and Pop Up Shops Melbourne, told StartupSmart it can make a lot of sense to link a pop-up store to an event.

 

“You’ve already got lots of people going there,” Williams says.

 

“The London Olympics had a great number of [pop-up shops]… Major sporting brands all jumped on the bandwagon of major events.”

 

Williams’ comments come after Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill highlighted the success of its first-ever pop-up shop, located in Melbourne Park to coincide with the Australian Open.

 

According to Salsa’s general manager Brett Carman, the store has outperformed expectations.

 

“We achieved sales 30% more than forecasts in the first three days of trade… I expect we’ll serve 15,000 burritos in 14 days,” Carman told Franchising.

 

Williams says the Australian Open is the ideal event for a pop-up shop.

 

“Even though the Australian Open is an annual event, it’s still like a pop-up event. It’s very intense for two weeks and then it’s gone again. It’s the same as the Grand Prix,” Williams says.

 

When choosing an event, Williams says it’s important to ensure it’s a good fit for your key demographic.

 

“I would say your position within the event is fairly critical as well… It’s no good being in the back corner where traffic doesn’t go,” he says.

 

“It’s important to be in the right spot with the right demographic, but it’s also important to send the right message. Your message should be memorable.”

 

Whether you promote the pop-up shop before it appears really depends on your size, Williams says.

 

“For major brands and companies associated with the event, it’s probably not necessary,” he says.

 

“In that case, it might be a better idea to do a complete surprise so people come along and all of a sudden there’s Nike or whatever it is.

 

“If you want people to know you’re there, you should do the social media shout-out and maybe get some of the traditional media on board.

 

“You could say, ‘There’s a shop out at the Australian Open but only for a limited time’ or whatever.”

 

Williams says it’s also worth offering a service or product that is exclusive to the pop-up or relates to the event.

 

“They make the event more memorable and more in the moment, if you like. A limited edition product, which is promoted as limited edition, is a great addition to the concept,” he says.