Diving into the various experiences with pop-up shops and flea markets
By: Aditi Iyer
Pop-up stores have become increasingly popular- they help in generating brand recognition, creating a customer base, and growing sales. They are a great way to promote local handicrafts to the public and support artisans’ work. I interviewed The Palkhi’s founder Nakshatra Bhate on her experiences with setting up and running pop-up shops.
1. Where did you set up your first pop-up store? What were some of the bestselling items?
The first store was set up in Life Republic society, Hinjewadi. The Palkhi teamed up with Manasvi- an organisation that helps women entrepreneurs set up stalls in societies in Hinjewadi. People there have sufficient money to spend but lack places to go shopping, so this was a great opportunity to introduce The Palkhi’s products to them.
There wasn’t a particular best-selling item, but the items that fell within the 100-600 Rupee price range were the most purchased. People also have a tendency to be attracted to things they are familiar with. Blue pottery, a familiar art form, paired with unfamiliar designs are bestsellers. The three main factors that influenced people’s buying decisions were widely colourful products, already commercialised artforms and reasonable prices.
2. Has anyone visiting your store known about your brand before? Or have pop-up stores helped in creating a customer base?
The Palkhi has a google presence, so it is relatively easier to find the store than if we did not. This business only started in August, so an established customer base hasn’t been created. However, through pop-up stores, we did gain a sliver of recognition- during one pop up shop in Koregaon Park, someone did recognize the brand from another pop-up store we had done previously.
3. How have pop-up stores helped you in improving your market research?
Pop-up stores help us to connect with people and understand what they want- people come to the counter for a specific product. They are very vocal about their likes and dislikes- I could understand what products are more aesthetically pleasing to people and what products people are more inclined to buy.
4. What has been your most popular product/category?
Some of our most popular categories are blue pottery, Jagannath puri paintings, and water flutes (they are unusual and have never been seen before). An interesting observation from pop-up stores was that most viewed products were not the most sold products; people come to the store because of the alluring value of the unusual products. I had kept the blue kettle from Orissa near the front of my store. It attracted people to the store and many people bought other products.
5. Have you introduced any new items that were exclusively available while running a pop-up store?
No- it’s not really recommended to launch a new product as there is no certainty on what kind of people show up. In one of the stores, a lot of people who showed up were outside the demographic- they didn't see the artistic value of the products. A strategy I thought of was making sure that the pricing is exclusive for the products during the pop-up shop.
6. What are the parameters you keep in mind when planning to set up a store?
Firstly, I try to gauge the footfall of the event, usually by contacting the organiser. This is because not even 5% of footfall are your customers, so understanding the numbers gives you an idea of the quantity you have to carry. Another factor is that the studio bestsellers may not be popular in the market, so I make sure to keep a large variety and be realistic of the quantity.
7. When will the next pop-up store be?
You can follow our social media pages, so you'll know where we're going to show up next!