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How to source products for your popup shop

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by Startacus Admin

How to source products for your popup shop


Many wholesalers now have an online presence which will allow you to order and pay for items of stock which will then be delivered to your chosen address.popup shop  Most online wholesalers will follow the same precautions as those with a physical store so you will most likely have to fill in an online application and provide proof of your business’ legitimacy i.e. bank statements etc.  It might seem like a daunting prospect to order wholesale goods online however we have compiled a list of things that should hopefully help you to avoid any problems:

  • Never transfer money for goods into an account with a private number, always insist upon a business account (even when you are just ordering samples).

  • Make sure that you contact your bank to check the level of cover that you have in case your money goes missing or you do not receive the goods you have ordered. Similarly if you are using Paypal to transfer money, make sure that you read their terms and conditions to ensure you are covered.

  • It might seem an obvious thing to say, but make sure that you thoroughly research the company you plan to deal with in order to ascertain the level of customer satisfaction, particularly if you have never heard of them or never purchased from them before.  The internet can be a great way of doing this, but make sure that you get reviews from a number of different places and don't just rely on the first few you come across.

  • Don't just restrict your contact with a seller to writing, try and arrange a phone call with them, or better yet a Skype call, as this can give you the opportunity to actually see the goods ‘in the flesh’ before you commit to buy.

  • It can be a good idea to order a sample of the goods to check their quality or authenticity before you decide to order a larger quantity, and arrange a returns agreement in case you are not satisfied.

  • Shop around and do your research. Find out where you will be able to get the best value for money and have a good expectation of how much you will be able to charge for them in your popup shop.

  • Be aware that many online sellers will have a minimum order value before you will be able to purchase the goods at a wholesale price. Don’t be tempted to up your order size unless you are certain that you will need the level of stock it will leave you with.

  • Make sure you keep in mind that shipping (especially from far afield) can take some time.  If you are going to use online wholesalers make sure that you do so well in advance of when you plan to set up your popup shop.

  • We know it’s a cliché, but you should ‘smell what sells’. By identifying what is selling particularly well within your popup shop you can then approach your wholesaler with a larger order and save even more money!

Other Places to get stock

A growing number of people are now setting up a popup shop to compliment their e-commerce site or existing store or check if their success could be expanded.  However if you want to set up an entirely independent popup shop here’s a few other ways that you can increase your chances of being able to secure the stock you want.

  • Visit trade shows - This can be a great opportunity to meet potential suppliers and have a chat about the kind of products you are looking to stock. popup shopThey can also be good sources of inspiration or a way to get a clear understanding of the products available and the prices you can expect to pay.

  • Make sure you do your research before attending a trade fair and plan to make contact with the suppliers you think will be best placed to help you fill your popup shop.

  • Attending fairs can be an overwhelming experience so make sure that you have a clear view of what you want to achieve before you set off, but make sure you don’t pressure yourself into buying.

  • Contact other retailers - There has been a rise in the number of popup shops which choose to feature the products of other retailers in individual displays. This can be a tricky one to gauge, but if there is a particular retailer which you think fits in well with your store and doesn't have a presence in your area, it is worthwhile approaching them to see if they would be interested in a temporary partnership. Of course this may come to nothing, but equally it could increase the range of stock available to you and be an added draw for customers.  One popup shop which has done this particularly well is Number 26 Popup Shop which we featured a few months ago.

This is a post that really could go on and on but we think we have covered most of the main areas. Hopefully it has helped you to start thinking about all the different places where you could get stock for your popup shop and as always, if you have anything interesting to add, why not get in touch and let us know! 

Check out some of our recent popup related posts as well for even more inspiration

Mr Quiffy - The popup ice cream van fashion store

Falcon Enamelware - Cardboard Popup

Pop-up Bikes - Parking, Maintenance and Coffee Pedalling

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Published on: 4th November 2013

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