What you will learn in this post:
- The benefits and challenges faced by seasonal pop-up stores
- Five key ways for pop-up brands to increase local search engine visibility and traffic
- How Rio SEO’s local search marketing solutions can drive search visibility, rankings and in-store traffic for pop-up brands
As consumer habits shift with seasonal changes, pop-up and specialty stores emerge in malls, town centers and other populated areas. In the summer, ice cream and beach accessory shops reign, while the fall summons a number of spooky costume and party retailers. And, of course, with winter comes holiday-themed pop-ups and kiosks featuring ornaments, wreaths and other jolly decorations.
Seasonal businesses such as these, while only active for a brief time period, maintain their prominence by taking advantage of annual events and trends before closing down once more. And it appears they are here to stay. Indeed, PopUp Republic claims that in 2015 the temporary retail industry saw an estimated $45-50 billion annual revenue, and Storefront estimates that these numbers will nearly double in the coming years as more brands adopt this cost-efficient model.
In a culture of immediate gratification, the benefits of pop-up shops are clear; They give consumers an exclusive, specialized experience when the time is right while drastically reducing the brand’s overhead costs. However, these unique circumstances also raise a major problem for temporary retailers, namely, being found. Lacking a permanent home base creates massive location data and local search ranking challenges. How can these multi-location brands ensure their discoverability via Google searches when time is of the essence?
Here are five ways pop-up retailers like yours can achieve a more discoverable and user-friendly local presence.
1. Maintain Accurate, Optimized Listings
The location, hours and offerings of your pop-up stores may change from one season to the next, so your local listings must accurately reflect all of these components if you want local customers to find you in every region. Get ahead of the curve by creating your listings a few months in advance of your opening. This way, eager onlookers can become aware of your upcoming pop-up locations.
The best way to create a listing is via Google My Business (GMB) listings. Your profile should include key information such as your brand name, address and phone number, but GMB listings also allow you to include a host of other useful info, like your hours (including holiday hours), map information, pictures, videos, special offers, reviews and more.
Key Tip: Listings in GMB can be created 90 days in advance of the opening to generate placement and engagement.
Another useful GMB tool is the Q&A feature, which allows you to publicly anticipate and respond to customer questions. The hours and procedures of seasonal stores often cause confusion, so keeping up with your Q&A section is crucial. You should also utilize Google Posts to showcase seasonal specials or events, reinforcing your local presence and engaging with local customers.
2. Utilize Local or Locator Pages
Another way to increase your pop-up brand’s search engine visibility is by utilizing Rio SEO’s Local Pages and Dynamic Locator features. These are responsive, customized, schema-driven pages designed to optimize unbranded local searches and engage online users. Like your GMB listings, you should create these city- and state-focused pages approximately 90 days before opening (if not earlier). You can then integrate your local pages into your website, including dynamic headers and footers that emphasize with messaging that you will be “Opening Soon.”
3. Create Hyper-Local Content
For both year-round and seasonal stores, one of the best ways to raise brand awareness is to create content that closely targets the regions in which you operate. This hyper-local content boosts local engagement by meeting your local customers where they are. You might create blog posts and news pieces with keywords and topics relevant to a specific location. For instance, a Halloween costume pop-up store might pump out several blogs related to picking out the perfect costume or setting up a spooky haunted house party in a given region. Visual content such as photos and videos are also of interest to many consumers. You can then push out this hyper-local content to various platforms and directories, tying them into your accurate local listing data (i.e. this Hudson location is located near the Museum of Natural Art, etc.).
4. Update Frequently
The world of pop-up retail moves much faster than standard retail operations. To drive and maintain local visibility, you must update your listings and other online information frequently during your operational season. Submit your address, phone number and map information to Google on a daily basis to ensure accuracy and maintain search engine trust. Ramp up your other online efforts such as content creation and customer engagement outreach efforts during your active period to capture more customers when it counts. Another key component is staying on top of “user suggested updates/edits” as they can influence other consumers’ view of your locations.
5. “Close Up” Properly with Google
Just because your pop-up must shut down at the end of the season does not mean you must completely abandon your local online presence. On the contrary, you must do your best to maintain an online presence during your off-season to let customers know you will return. Of course, you have to close your locations in Google, but keep your local pages live. Consider displaying a “thank you” message and locator map to encourage online consumers to come back next time or to find another nearby location, if applicable. This will allow you to retain indexing for the next time you open and keep up your keyword ranking and online authority for search engine visibility.
See How Rio SEO Drove Local Visibility and Traffic for Multi-Location Pop-Up Brand
Download this case study, in which Rio SEO and a seasonal retailer share a local search solution that brought 1,400 pop-up stores online and active in just weeks, driving enhanced search visibility, more foot traffic into stores and greater revenue when it mattered most.
Within three months of launch, this national retailer saw 68% of its locations ranking in the highly sought after #1 to #3 positions in Google Search for high value, non-branded keyword terms.