Excess Inventory Post-Holiday? Open a Pop-Up Shop

Most businesses are familiar with the post-holiday retail slump – holiday returns have flooded in and soon-to-expire inventory that didn’t sell during the holidays is sitting on the shelves. To combat this and sell some leftover inventory or returns, a pop-up shop could be the perfect next step for retail businesses.

Plus, post-holiday shopping is on the rise. Since 2012, the number of shoppers who plan to find post-holiday deals after December 25 has grown by 33%.

For many retailers, a post-holiday pop-up shop can be the key to ramping up the New Year and getting ahead in Q1.

Treat Your Pop-Up Shop as a Returns Center

More than 60% of consumers would hesitate to give you return business if the return process is a hassle. 70 percent of customers who return purchases in-store will purchase a different item during their visit — compared to less than half of customers who process returns online. That’s a huge opportunity to capture more sales with a pop-up shop, especially for online retailers who don’t have a physical space otherwise. Even retailers with one brick and mortar plus online sales channels can benefit from pop-ups in various locations.

Instead of focusing on the selling aspect of opening a pop-up shop, focus on serving the customers. Make the return process hassle-free, with unobstructed paths to the registers and enough staff to handle to volume of returns. It’s a good idea to train sales staff to strategically cross-promote other related products, at any time of year.

Sell Your Remaining Merchandise

Whether it’s returned merchandise or products that didn’t sell during your holiday promotions, it’s not too late to push those products onto your customers.

Even if you can’t sell them for full price, a pop-up shop showcasing returned or unsold merchandise can help you cut your losses.

Plus, it’s another opportunity for online retailers especially to have in-person interactions with your customer base. This is increasingly important — around 30% of consumers want to experience brands with both online and offline presences.

Returned Products

Even if the merchandise isn’t in perfect shape, you can still resell it at a significant discount.

Outdoor gear brand REI has had huge success selling returned merchandise with their Garage Sale events. They abandon their normal no-questions-asked return policy for these significantly discounted items. The members-only events typically happen once or twice a year, and they draw hoards of loyal customers seeking serious deals.

You could turn your pop-up shop into an REI Garage Sale-inspired space and sell only returned merchandise at steep discounts. Advertise the deals to your existing customers, and use the event to drive interest in new ones. You could also add an element of exclusivity and invite your best customers — serious deals, invite-only.

Scarce Products

The psychology of scarcity and consumer behavior has proven to spark a sense of urgency and drive interest in certain products. If you only have a few items left, let your customers know.

Pro tip: If you’re tech-savvy, you could broadcast inventory levels on your website, in your pop-up shop and via social media updates. This can help spread the word and show customers just how quickly your products are selling.

Product Bundles

If you really want to move the product, consider bundling similar items together. Bundle fast-moving products with slow-moving ones, mix older and newer products together, combine multiple units of the same product, or create a selection of similar items. This gives consumers the perception of getting more for their money, and it helps you leverage the popularity of certain items to move others.

Retarget With Cross-Promotions

Retargeting existing customers with personalized offers. Personalization can increase revenue by as much as 15% and efficiency of your marketing investments by 30%.

You already have your customers’ past purchase history, and possibly some other data, so you can make smart recommendations for similar and complementary products. More than half of your shoppers are likely to consider your suggestions.

You can also promote your pop-up shop more generally. Take stock of which product categories you have the most excess, then target customers who purchase merchandise in those categories. You can even tease some of the products that you have available.

Focus on the New Year

Now that we’re into the New Year, consumer mindsets shift from a gift-giving mindset to self-love, where many are starting to shop for themselves.

Since the most common New Year’s resolutions are related to health and wellness, finances, relationships with loved ones and self-improvement, your products can help customers achieve their personal goals. Consider promoting your post-holiday pop-up shop with a self-improvement or self-love spin, demonstrating how they can empower customers in 2018 and beyond.


Set yourself up for retail success with the ultimate guide to opening a pop-up shop >