If you run a small business, especially one that makes small consumables (candles, chocolates, soap, etc.), attending local markets can be a smart and effective way to showcase your products. And you can make your market stall a big hit relatively easily. Here are our tips for creating an enticing space customers will want to visit.
Make an impression
You want your stall to be distinctive. It’s part of building your brand identity (what people think about you when they hear your brand’s name). Your market stall should be welcoming and show some of your brand’s personality. You want your stall to have items at different heights so people move around to look at your products. This means it shouldn’t be cluttered or crowded with too many products on display. You need to find the right balance between having enough stock to meet customer needs and your stall not being overwhelming. And if space permits, you should create a focal point near the back so people have to enter your space, giving you a reason to talk to them about your product.
Card or Cash?
The answer is, of course, both. You want to make it as easy as possible for people to pay for your products, which means providing more than one payment option. If you think market stalls are going to be a regular part of your business, it’s worth speaking to your business banker about payment options that will work for you. These days there are simple ways to accommodate EFT (Electronic Fund Transfer) payments, and you may be surprised at how low the entry costs are. Depending on the volume of sales you can look at EFTPOS terminals, portable pay options that link to your mobile phone, or payment apps that allow for quick transfer. If possible, try to accept as many types as possible, including credit and debit cards as well as PayPal.
Share your socials
Social media is a market stall holder’s best friend. It offers you so many opportunities to interact directly with your customers, establish relationships and build your brand identity.
The first step is to identify which social media platform is best for your business. Traditionally, if your business sells beautiful products that allow you to take stunning or interesting photographs, then Instagram is your platform. However, if your business sells products that require some explanation, then Facebook is where you start. Historically, Instagram has been for the 18-24-year-olds and Facebook for the 25-39-year-olds, but these statistics are changing as Instagram’s popularity increases.
When it comes to posting on your social media, to consider a regular schedule. Things you can post about include market dates and times, the products you’ll have on display, a photo of you setting up your display, and other stall holders at the market. Don’t forget to take regular selfies with your customers. At first it may seem uncomfortable posting so often, or asking your customers for a picture, but remember this is marketing for your business. It’s helping you build brand awareness. When you first start out, you need to chase down those ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ to get your brand to stay in people’s minds.
Packaging and labelling
In a market, you’re doing all you can to attract people in a highly distracted state. There’s so much to see and smell at a market that it can be sensory overload. You can help overcome this by having eye-catching merchandising on your stall, or displaying your customised packaging .
The way to do this is to have neatly wrapped products on display, labelled with your colours and logo. These often attract people walking past who need to pick up a quick and easy gift. How about something as simple as stickers for the kids? Another simple idea is to have a loyalty card to say thank you to your customers. However you choose to grab their attention, you want to make sure your labels are professionally printed and designed to make you stand out in a market of maker products.
As you can see, markets are a great way to get your products in front of people. But they also have other advantages:
- they’re a really good way for you to practice your pitch so it sounds natural and effortless
- you can look to partner or collaborate with other stall holders for cross-promotions
- you can receive direct feedback about your product’s packaging and labelling.
If you’d like to read about other market success stories, head to our Meet the Maker series.