Etsy shares tips for how online-based small business owners can work with fellow makers or businesses in their local communities to help extend their brand with a pop-up presence and connect with customers in real life, especially on Small Business Saturday.
During the holiday season, shoppers are looking for thoughtful gifts that will make them feel like the best gift-giver on the block. In search of that something unique, they often turn to small and local makers and creative boutiques for a gift that has that "you can only find this here" vibe. Whether you run your business on your own website or sell through a marketplace like Etsy, planning a pop-up shop lets you plug into your local community and connect directly with potential new customers. When you showcase your items in a temporary physical space, you can introduce your brand to a new audience and offer a more tactile and personal experience that can help entice customers to keep shopping with you after the holidays have ended.
Small retailers may want to plan their pop-up presence or event to coincide with Small Business Saturday, an annual shopping holiday tradition celebrated on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. It’s when millions of shoppers across the country wake up from their turkey hangovers and go out to Shop Small® and support small businesses in their communities.
There are lots of ways you can get out of your workspace and into your local community this Small Business Saturday. Here are a few ideas:
1. Host a trunk show at a local business
Trunk shows are intimate events hosted by local boutiques. Reach out to shop owners in your local community to see if you could pop-up in their space for a weekend event. Gift boutiques and clothing stores often host trunk shows, but think creatively—maybe you could sell your handmade mugs at your local coffee shop or products featuring literary quotes at your local library. Bring a selection of your top-selling items and a can-do attitude. Trunk shows are a great way to meet potential customers face-to-face, answer questions about your products and processes, and get feedback on your items. As an online retailer, you’re familiar with the challenges of selling items a shopper can’t touch or smell. A trunk show gives shoppers an opportunity to get hands-on with your items.
2. Partner with a holiday festival
During the holidays, many communities host festive seasonal events. Reach out to the organizers of your local outdoor ice skating rink or Christmas tree lot to see if you might be able to sell your items at their events. Locally made goods can add a unique touch to any event—when you reach out, be sure to mention any region-specific materials you use or special details of your products that make them unique to your city.
3. Takeover a store window
Many makers produce their handmade wares with the help of a local maker space such as a pottery studio or photography dark room. Build on the relationships you already have with these spaces for a holiday window display. Use your creativity to design a holiday window scape that gives the storefront a festive feel and ask if you can incorporate some of the products you make at their space.
4. Organize your own pop-up shop
Pop-up shops are temporary boutiques that appear in under-used spaces. Explore neighborhoods with a lot of pedestrian traffic and look for vacant storefronts—an eager landlord might be willing to let you rent the space for a short-term event. When you work together with your local community, you can expand the reach of your pop-up and give your shop’s inventory more variety. Curate a selection of products that will complement your items and tailor the selection to the area your pop-up will be located in—a street filled with boutique shops will attract a different audience than the coffee shop near your local college campus.
If these ideas have inspired you to plan an in-person event for Small Business Saturday, consider becoming a Neighborhood Champion and get access to more tips and resources to help your event come together, courtesy of American Express. Apply by November 6 at ShopSmall.com/Rally. Terms of participation apply.
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