Everything a VAR Should Know About Selling to Mobile Businesses

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Pop-up retail—sometimes called ‘flash retail’— isn’t new, but it is a ‘secret weapon’ that small business owners use to get their product out into the world, and into the hands of their customers. In the pop-world, business owners find a venue like a coffee shop, book store, craft fair, or farmer’s market, then set up a retail shop for a limited time: anything from one day to a few weeks.

This is an opportunity for VARs to serve a growing trend, particularly because mobility and connectivity are key for business owners running pop-up shops. A pop-up shop can also involve anything from food trucks to traveling merchandise tours, as both are becoming increasingly more popular. These business owners are looking for reliable, affordable solutions, but they may not be the most technologically savvy at all times, which is an opportunity for you to step in and foster relationships.


What’s the Point in Pop-Up?

Many business owners are dipping their toe into business, fueled through success or inspiration based on sites like Etsy. Pop-up and mobile locations are more flexible for cautious entrepreneurs looking to grow a brand and gain funding without having to quit their day job and risk everything on their venture. The thing is, they’re popular for a reason, and consumers are willing to drop dollars at these shops for a few different reasons:

  • It’s authentic. Business owners are standing behind what you sell, answering questions, building credibility, and connecting with the customer.
  • It’s special. You weren’t there last week, you won’t be there tomorrow, so it’s a special occasion—the perfect time for an impulse purchase.
  • It’s affordable. Your expenses are low, so you can think about easy price points.
  • It’s mobile. Businesses travel to their customers, which is a great way to test the viability of a new business, or expand an existing business


The Solutions They’ll Need:

POS Systems

Owners running temporary shops, whether they’re satellite holiday shops, food trucks, or simple retail booths, will need a rugged point-of-sale system to process transactions. Keep in mind that these end-users will need mobile, yet rugged solutions, and this gives you the opportunity to truly show off what your tech can do for them.

  • Cash Register

Although working with cash brings a theft risk, your end-user may decide to accept cash payments. In this instance, they’ll need some sort of secure cash drawer. However, an all-in-one solution, though it sacrifices mobility, may be a more secure and desirable option. Be sure you ask them about their plan regarding cash transactions.

  • Android Pay and Apple Pay

The latest trend in payment is smartphone-based: Android Pay and Apple Pay. Accepting this kind of payment requires a reader with NFC, so it’s less likely that smaller business owners will opt for this method of accepting payment. However, owners of food trucks, concession stands, or satellite holiday shops may be interested in these options.


  • Receipt Printers

Determine whether your customer is going to operate with printed receipts or strictly emailed ones, or a combination of the two. Once you’ve determined that, you can consider whether selling them a compact receipt printer, or a mobile model will best suit their needs. Consider their need for battery life, connectivity, and overall speed, given the mobile, stop-and-go nature of their ventures.

  • Card Readers

You’ll have to determine how they plan on accepting payments for their pop-up shop. They’ll likely want to opt for EMV-enabled card readers, but whether they’re looking for something more advanced than even that should be considered. Wireless payment systems should be presented as well, particularly if they’re managing payments on tablets or smart phones.

  • Barcode Scanning

If the end-user is planning to offer coupons or rewards for your shop, you’ll likely need to explain their needs for some kind of barcode scanner. For a mobile pop-up shop, it’s most likely they’d need a 2D scanner, so they can scan images from customers’ phones.

Wireless Solutions

Pop-up shop owners will absolutely need to invest a solid amount into their wireless solution in order to even function, unless they intend to stay cash-only. This may require VARs to offer more support and hand-holding, since network solutions can seem very complicated to a layman. Get to know their needs, their wireless capabilities, and what ISP they plan to use.


Pop-up shops are becoming an accessible business venture for many end-users, and they’ve become a way to expand on current businesses without needing to fully commit to purchasing a location. Popular restaurants can simply park their food truck near a sporting event or music festival and capitalize on an event, even if their brick-and-mortar location is far away. Holiday shops selling Christmas, Halloween, and other seasonal items are more broad scale and less mobile, but still temporary locations that need solutions to get up and running. Holiday markets, farmer’s markets, craft shows, and other festivals also bring in both smaller scale and large-scale entrepreneurs, but come with more challenges surrounding connectivity and payment processing. Get to know the types of mobile pop-up shop your customers may have, and take stock of the solutions necessary to start a new mobile shop, so you can expand your sales and build your relationships.



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