7 tips to sell more at markets

how-to-sell-more-at-markets-creative-womens-circle-monica-ng By Monica Ng

It’s a bright sunny day, your stall is all set up and you’re waiting patiently for the doors to open and the flood of customers to enter the market place. You start to feel nervous and nagging doubts begin gnawing at the back of your mind.

Whilst perfectly natural to be a little nervous, it’s important to get into a positive mind set at the beginning of your day. Perhaps set an inspiration quote or mantra as your phone’s background. Look at it, close your eyes and repeat it in your mind. Take some deep breaths and off we go!

1. Greet everyone and be genuine! There’s nothing more annoying than approaching a stall and being completely ignored by the person behind the stall because they’re too busy chatting to their stall neighbour, reading a book or on their phone etc. If you do not look interested and open at all times, this can make customers feel they won’t get assistance with their questions/purchase so they may only browse quickly and then move on.

  • Say “hello”, “good (time of day)”, “welcome to (shop name)”, smile and make eye contact.
  • Gauge the customer’s response to see if they wish to engage in further conversation or they’re happy to browse on their own.
  • If the customer is open for further conversation, you can always encourage them to pick things up to have a closer look, try things on and explain some features and benefits of the product to them.
  • Tell them about your special market promotion and give them a business card as they begin to leave
  • If the customer is happy to browse on their own, tell them if they need any assistance, to let you know and then keep your body language open and approachable.
  • Stand up, tidy your stall and refill sold stock if it’s quiet

2. Have a creative and cohesive looking stall setup Your stall space should be welcoming so people are drawn to having a closer look! Imagine if you looked from afar, what’s the best way to attract a passer-by’s attention? Do some research at other craft markets and shop merchandising displays to get inspired. Do your products look best on shelves? Racks? Tiered? Laid flat on a wall? Standing upright? Can you buy these display items or will you be making them? Make sure there is enough product on display and that the display looks tidy.

Don’t forget to display your shop name. Get something professionally printed or perhaps you can turn it into a DIY project!

Sometimes market days can be overwhelming and customers prefer to buy online or at a later time. So don’t forget about marketing materials! These could be business cards, postcards, mailing list signup and branded packaging (which could be as simple as having a customised rubber stamp made) and stamping your packaging. As your customers walk around the rest of the market, your cool packaging with get people’s eyes looking and their minds wondering what cool items they bought from you!

3. Design a collection that has different tiers Consider creating a collection that contains ‘gateway’, ‘aspirational’ and ‘upsell’ products. Gateway products introduce customers to your products and brand. They’re often simpler in style and less expensive than your aspirational products.

Aspirational products are the higher end products that may be bolder in style and more expensive than your gateway products. Your customer shares and talks about these items with their friends/family and aspires to buy them further down the line when the time is right.

Upsell products are items that you may add onto an initial sale. They’re generally at the lower price end of your collection and have a matching item in the gateway or aspirational categories.

4. Run a special promotion especially for that market Create a special promotion in conjunction with your market appearance! The limited time frame of the promotion creates a sense of urgency and will naturally encourage customers to act then and there. This could be a Instagram (or other social media channel) competition to win item/s from your shop in exchange for reposting a pic and following your account, 2-for-1 deal, gift with purchase to coincide with Mother’s Day, Valentines etc or signing up to your mailing list for a future discount or free shipping coupon.

Although it’s fantastic to build up and have a large and dedicated social media following, in some ways, having your customer’s email address is even more valuable. Having this information allows you a direct line of communication to your customer. If your customer follows many accounts on social media, they may not see your updates or in the worst-case scenario, your social media account could get hacked or suspended and that could mean bye-bye to your large following.

5. Offer multiple payment methods As we move more and more towards a cash-less society, more times than not, if you offer EFTPOS/Credit card payment options, this will be the tipping point for the customer to buy your product. I personally use PayPal Here, which is a great app where you can either just use it via your smartphone or choose to purchase a mini card reader.

Of course, for those who still like to pay with cash, make sure you have appropriate change in your float.

6. Know your product and let your passion shine! Does your product have a concept or story behind its design? Did you use a special technique to make the item? Is the material used unusual? Is this a new product or a best seller? Is the item limited edition? But above all, ask your customer what their purchasing occasion is! Helping the customer picture using your product helps to develop an emotional attachment to your product.

Think of some unique adjectives to describe it and how it can be used or worn. For some of my bolder items of jewellery like the body chains, I often get asked how it could be worn or what it could be paired with. To address this question, I come up with different outfits ideas e.g. pairing a slim fit monochromatic dress with a bolder body chain to let the body chain shine as the statement piece in the outfit. What ideas do you have?

7. Don't forget about after sales care If a customer comes back with a problem with their product (faulty, wrong size, change of mind) listen to their problem and be solutions-oriented so both parties can walk away win-win.

Make sure you have determined your exchange/refunds policy prior to attending the market and let customers know what they are before they make a purchase. E.g. No exchanges or refunds on earrings due to health reasons, but other items such as bracelets, rings are fine. Also, don’t forget to pop in some business cards with your customer’s purchase, so if they need to contact you, they have your details.

Remember, success at markets isn’t all about sales. You’ve made new friends with other designers/makers, established new connections with customers and got your shop’s cool products in front of people’s eyes! You never know what opportunities may come to you later down the track, from a simple interaction you had at the market. Good luck!

{Image via www.pexels.com}

Monica Ng left her accounting career at the end of 2013 to run Geometric Skies, her Etsy jewellery business, alongside her jewellery and object design studies at the Design Centre in Sydney. Find Monica on Instagram @geometric_skies or at her blog.