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How to set up a Pop-up Store in China

Pop-up store retail format has dominated almost all its grand shopping malls in China. Nowadays, numerous brands, are all seeking new exciting spaces to unleash the creativity of their brand image in pop-up stores.

This article will give you everything you want to know about this new format of retail, as well as a useful guide to setting up pop-up stores, especially in the field of food retailing. Something you should know about the pop-up store

What is the Pop-up Store?

Pop-up stores are temporary retail spaces that sell merchandise or provide services of a large variety. In a striking opening of a shopping plaza or an eye-catching corner of a gallery. Wherever there is a crowd, there is always a Pop-up store.

This format of retail generally features its impressive appearance, limited range of products, and short duration. With the advantage of flexibility in time and space, and customer attraction, pop-up store offers considerable benefits for Brands.

Who might need a pop-up store?

There’s no doubt that pop-up store is created for people who want their brands or merchandise to have a direct interaction with their customers. Some brands launch pop-up stores intending to prove their viability in China’s offline market. Pop-up stores can accomplish a variety of goals, such as testing new ideas, enlarging public exposure, creating a unique brand experience, launching a seasonal product, or simply increasing sales capacity.

6 Steps to set up Pop-up Store in Shanghai – the Guidance

Ladurée is a renowned French pastry brand that gave birth to well-known double-shell macarons. We help them launch several successful pop-up events in Shanghai.

As we all know, Ladurée’s exclusive products offered in its pop-up store are mainly macarons, and imported food, which indicates that more qualifications are required according to Chinese market regulations and law.

In the following instructions, Ladurée’s case will be adopted for specification and illustration:

Have a specific goal

As mentioned above, pop-up stores can accomplish various business goals. However, plans and business tools should be applied accordingly to achieve the expected effect.

What’s the most important in this step is to concretize the operation:

For those who want to go for a direct sale, but don’t have a corporation in China, a corporate partner will be necessary to engage in the sales. In addition, in China’s market, regulations of sales differ in products, especially in Food category. If the category of sales is not listed in the business scope of your corporation, you need also find a corporate partner.

Some qualifications required are listed below for you to understand the regulations under which a pop-up store can be launched, and we take food retailing as an example:


For all brands who want to hold a temporary retail in a public space, the following qualifications are required to ensure the business operation:

Business License

No matter what brand you are holding, the business license of the host company is necessary to show the business entity to the market;

And we should notice that the food and food-relevant terms must be among the scope of business on the business license.

china business license

Food trade license

Whether food retailing is in your temporary commercial activities during the pop-up or in your regular business operations, you are obligated to apply for a food trade license in the local State Administration for Market Regulation Bureau(SAMR).

If you are currently not able to obtain the Business license and Certificate, We can help you find a Chinese company with the entity of whom you can run your pop-up event;

Food trade license
Chinese FOOD Trade Certificate










Put on record

Make sure your business entity (with food in your business scope) is put on record in local State Administration for Market Regulation Bureau(SAMR) before the pop-up retail is triggered;

To maintain the market order and put business under regulations, this step is demanded by the government and worthy of your full attention.

This is the formal certificate of Ladurée Pop-up Store II in JAKC Jingan, Shanghai.

exhibition Put on record


Find a location that attracts lots of foot traffic in your target market, since passersby are keys to the success of a pop-up shop. But before getting to that point, it is important to sort out all you want to achieve through the upcoming event. Specially you should make clear your customer group and set a budget detailed in every expense. For ideal venues for pop-up stores, please refer to our last article: The Top 8 Pop-up Store Venues in Shanghai.

Firstly, anticipate the activity effect of your pop-up store, and accordingly, make a selection of malls suitable for your brand. Choose the one that has your target customer group.

Then we can move on to the most exciting step of this part, venue negotiation. The negotiation with the venue holder is generally around the following topics:

  • Venue price, which can be replaced in some cases by a share taken from the total sales during the pop-up retail;
  • The date of the lease;

Anticipate a period that favors the best your sales;

  • Venue deposit;

After signing the contract, a certain amount of deposit is required by the venue holder towards the brand to ensure the use of the property.

  • Land occupancy fees;
  • Insurance;

In general cases, the host of events is obligated by the venue holder to obtain public liability insurance, to avoid unpredictable risks for both parties.

Build an effective brand communication

Augment popularity and spread out brand image are two principal targets of a pop-up store. So, event promotion channels should be used cost-effectively.

  • Invite KOL(Key Opinion Leader) popular on famous social platforms to use their social influence for an ideal promotion;
  • In the course of venue negotiation, the brand should communicate with the venue holder for a share of its public exposure resources. (For example the advertisement on social media accounts of shopping malls).
  • Use the official account of the brand itself.

Seek suppliers for site construction

If the supplier is not designated by the venue holder, it is more practical and economical to find a local partner. In most cases, you need to look for two suppliers, respectively for layout and construction, and electricity supply.

  • Hours

According to the regulations of malls, construction is not allowed until 10 p.m. Make sure the hours are ok with your supplier.

  • Electricity

Whether electricians are offered or not, you should know the electricity parameters of the venue before starting the construction. When it comes to electricity, every operation should 100% meet the demands of the venue and the national standards to guarantee public safety.

  • Purchase construction materials.


  • Planification of posts;
  • Choose effective recruitment tools;
  • Hold an Interview;
  • Draft contracts;
  • Collect the information of staff for the record;
  • Pre-job training.

Please notice that, if food is a concern in your business activities, make sure that all the staff obtain a health certification.

Our Advantage

Having helped brands successfully announce several pop-up retail events in Shanghai, GWBMA has rich experience in the operation of retail mode.

Have some crazy ideas for your brand? Want more people to know your products? Contact us, GWBMA is here to help you make it come true.

If you are a venue holder who would like to turn your space into a dynamic and creative business land, we can help you to find events that match the best your creative space.


Nathalie Chen

Hi, I am Nathalie, Graduated from China University of International Relations, and have proficiency in communication in French and English, assisted in all work related to the sales and marketing operations of Branding. BIS provides one-stop business service for enterprises like registering companies, finding office service, Accounting and Tax, HR outsourcing, VISA & working permit, Marketing and legal services.

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