It’s the eternal question that rattles through your mind when you’re standing behind your stall and customers just seem to be walking past: How do I make them buy?
A lot of the time, it’s the coming together of several strands that results in a sale: A product people want, a great display, an effective sales technique and of course a bit of luck.
There’s no failsafe solution but there are certainly some common denominating factors that successful traders all seem to share, so we thought we would let you know what they are.
- Make it easy for the customers to know what you’re selling
When customers are browsing at a market, spending money might not be the first thing on their mind. They’re most likely thinking about food/what happened last night/what they might buy for future birthday gifts. Shopping at a Sunday market is quite a laid-back experience for customers who are usually there as much to soak up the atmosphere as they are to make a purchase. The trick is to pull them into the present and persuade them to buy that gift or treat now – and to help them feel good about it.
One way to draw them over visually is to ensure that it’s clear from a distance what you are selling. Focusing on a product that has a coherent theme but that is available in different shapes, sizes and colours really helps to create an impact and re-enforces to the eye what’s for sale. Take Canvas Butterfly (pictured below). It’s pretty clear that the artist Colette sells illustrations of butterflies and insects which have a wide appeal, so all you have to do is to walk on over and choose your favourite colour, size and format. No thinking required.
Try this: Imagine you were a customer and you had never seen your stall before. Would you know what you were selling? What could you do to make it clearer?
2. Use clear signage
Another reason to make it clear to customers what you are selling is that with so much competition for their attention, they might not feel they have the time or inclination to go up to your stall and find out what it’s all about. Also, some customers will fear that awkward moment when they’re browsing and you’re looking at them, so they just avoid going over, but if you have a banner, sign or labels explaining what you sell, it makes it that much the easier for them to know why they should stop and browse. The same goes for pricing – you should advertise at least one attractive but realistic price point for customers to be able to judge if they want to spend with you or not.
Posh Bird Designs made a sign to tell customers a little bit about the provenance of her work (below)
Try This: Take a picture of your stall and show it to someone who has never seen it before and knows little about it. Can they tell you what you make/sell and what your price range is? Did they learn anything interesting?
3. Display products in clever ways
Let your creativity run wild and design a stall where you can show off your products at different heights and use interesting objects to draw the eye and therefore the customer. If you’re selling pictures for example, bring an easel or a metal hanging rack to clip cards onto as well as having a box for them to leaf through. It’s good practise to protect foodstuffs from dust and dirt in the air but you can still display products in baskets at different heights behind a perspex shield or in interesting jars like Eat Roar has in the picture below.
Try this: Start noticing interesting window displays in shops and at markets and work out what you think works. Try applying some of those thoughts to your own stall display.
4. Talk to your customer
This has got to be one of the most essential messages. Stand up, be engaged and look happy and approachable and ready to chat with customers about your product and how its made. Customers who buy local and handmade want to know the provenance of items so they can tell their friends and it adds to the experience of buying. Putting on a friendly exterior also lifts your day says Francesca Kay, who sells letterpress cards and knitted finger puppets, “I say ‘hallo’ and smile at everyone who passes my stall, and even if they walk past, I get a smile in return!”
Try this: Become a smile addict. Say hello to five strangers in the street one day to realise that it’s not the end of the world if you smile at someone and they don’t respond. For everyone that ignores you there will be someone who smiles back which always makes you feel good. You’ll soon be hooked!
5. Learn from others and share what you know too
One of the most valuable sources of information is other traders! Be friendly and ask pick their brains (in a quiet moment!). Or read one of the many great blogs out there and share what you learn in return. Here are just a few that might help.
Try this: Read some of the following blogs about designing and selling at markets/craft shows.
Finally, follow our Pinterest boards for tips and tricks for Stall Inspiration
If you have any other tips please leave a comment whether you are a customer or trader.