Stand out from the stall next to you with these five simple ways to shine at your next craft market…
Your stall is set, but how can you make the most of your day at market and encourage people to buy from you? Standing out from the crowd can be tricky, but there are easy ways to make people stop by your stall, and encourage customers to make purchases even once the market is over.
We caught up with market owners and makers to bring you five simple ways to boost your trade and make better connections with potential customers.
First impressions count
Making a good first impression is vital to get people to spend time at your stall, but it can be difficult to strike a balance between being friendly and pushy.
Crafty Fox Market’s Sinead Koehler says a simple smile is a great place to start. “Always engage customers with a friendly hello and a smile. It can be a fine balance between appearing over-eager and making yourself available to the customer. Be open and available to answer any queries,” says Sinead.
“Avoid spending time on your phone or talking to the other traders if there are customers at your stand. Have a few questions ready to ask customers to get them talking, for example, ‘Are you shopping for anyone in particular?’.”
Sinead also suggests taking time to think about the look of your stall before the event begins – and don’t forget to stay on brand. “Ensure your stall is neatly laid out, and use height to create interest and so you can display more products,” Sinead explains.
“Aim for a cohesive look and ideally match your stand to your online brand by using similar colours in your display and including a sign with your shop name.”
Make it special
Offering vouchers or special offers is a great way of generating trade and persuading people to purchase. “Markets are incredibly important, not just for one-off sales, but for building loyalty with new and old customers,” explains screen printer Georgia Bosson.
“In a busy market it’s incredibly important that your business card stands out, so that when your future customer gets home it’s yours they remember. This is where a little discount code and a beautifully designed flyer come in!
“I’ve found that by offering an exclusive discount, you can encourage future sales at important times of year like Christmas.”
Creating bundles of cards and selling your seconds are also a good ways to make extra sales, according to Sinead. “A sample and seconds box is also a good way to draw customers in and ceramicists often include these on their stands at our events,” she says.
“We’ve also seen traders have success by running a competition with the prize of a product. This can be a useful way to encourage customers to sign up to your mailing list too, so always have a sheet to do this on your stand.”
Keep it unique
Making a one-off item for a market is a great way to generate interest before the big day and once you are all set up and ready to sell. “Last Christmas we decided that as we would make a Birmingham snow globe necklace for our markets in the city,” explains Adrienne Frances of Frilly Industries.
“These were only sold at markets during the festive period, but we sold out twice and had a wait list for more! With people falling in love with them, and with our ability to make small test runs, we then decided to create globes for different all the cities we were doing markets and we’ll be adding to our Global Wanderer range as we sell in new cities!”
Limehouse Ceramics’ Elizabeth Macneal also uses markets to try out new ideas. “I make most of my sales at markets and one-off items are also a great promotional draw. Customers know that I make new items for each market, and often come along for this reason,” says Elizabeth.
“It also means people are more likely to make an impulse buy so they don’t miss out. For example, I made a small run of six zigzag mugs for a recent market and they sold out in the first hour.
“Even if new items don’t do as well, it’s a great way of getting immediate feedback. Customers can be blunt and I love that!”
Everybody loves a surprise – and a bargain. Goodie bags are a great way of grouping items to encourage sales, as well as a sweet way to grab attention. “I started selling Lucky Dip bags at summer markets this year,” says Claire Wilson of Claireabellemakes.
“As a large number of items that I stock are low priced items such as greetings cards, I wanted to offer something that was a higher price point and gave customers a chance to grab some goodies at a bargain price. I offered a lucky dip bag, which included a print and two cards, then an accessories one, which had a necklace and pin.
“It was great to see customers opening their bags at the stall as soon as they had purchased. We shared in the excitement together because once I had sealed the bags, they were a surprise to me too!”
Link up and share
Promoting on social media before an event is vital to let people know where they can grab your goodies. From sharing the event flyer, to videos of your works in progress, building up to the big day at market should be fun.
A great way to spread the word is to link up with another maker before the event. Not only can you expand your social media reach, but if you make a product together you can shuttle people between your stalls on the big day. “We’d been talking to another local maker friend Kt Robbins Ceramics who was struggling to figure out what would sit well in her tiny ceramic milk bottles,” says Kirsty Hillyer of Frilly Industries.
“As a result, we decided to make some flowers that even we couldn’t kill – we are notoriously bad for keeping plants alive – to sell at a local market in collaboration with her just before Mother’s Day. Her milk bottles flew out the door, and we had a queue of people wanting flowers too!”