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Top tips for running a market stall

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If you’re a small business that sells products at markets, we’ve put together a list of some helpful things we’ve learned along the way our business journey. If you have any more tips to add, comment below!

Things to do in advance of the market

  • Tell everyone where you’re gonna be

In the week leading up to your market, let your followers, community and customers know about your stall, tag the location, include it in newsletters, make a facebook event and invite friends and family. When you’re at the market, post first thing in the morning tagging your location letting your followers know where they can find you.

  • Google other stalls

Check out what other companies are doing sales wise and see if you can do something similar. Visit markets, google stall setups, search hashtags for #stallsetup #stalldesign #marketstall or use Pinterest for inspiration you’ll see how style ideas for your stall. Even google your product type, e.g #candledisplay or #jewellerystall You only have a split second to catch people’s attention, so try to make the best products you offer really stand out.

  • Make a mockup market at home

A few days before, set up your stall at home. This will not only make your setup quicker and easier on the day, it will also allow you to play around with how best to showcase your stock. It should also let you know what problems you might encounter when displaying your products, and give you time to solve the issue. which you can solve you time to work on your display, and allow you to setup with confidence and joy on the big day.

Things to bring with you

  • When we have done a market, we always have a mini emergency kit with us. This is full of: Sellotape, cable ties, scissors, safety pins, paracetemal, hairband, handcream, handgel, string
  • If you are selling anything that a customer can try on, have a mirror available.
  • Wear your product if it’s appropriate
  • Comfortable clothes and shoes, you’ll be on your feet for a long time
  • Snacks as well as lots of water
  • Bags or packaging for customers to take your products home in
  • Business cards or a flyer either on the table, why not include an online offer specific to the market to give away with every purchase so you know where customers find you.
  • Have a newsletter signup sheet so people who are interested with your work can keep up to date with what you’re making
  • A card reader. These are super easy to get these days. We use Sumup (affiliate link) for the markets we have sold at, and love the ease, size of the reader and low fees, but theres lots of other options out there.
  • Cash and spare change. With the above being said, this doesn’t mean that cash is dead. Many people still prefer to pay with cash. Selling products at rounded whole numbers rather than halves can help on the small change front. You’ll less likely have someone to turn away if you are not able to offer change – this can be a super crushing feeling if you have ever had to do this.

Tips when your at your market

  • Business cards and flyers

Have business cards or flyers on your stand for customers to take away with them. Include an online discount code which links back to your shop, with a coupon code, so you can track future sales that came from your market stall.

  • Show your prices

Remove any obstacles for people not to buy your product. Make really clear signage for prices, either next to each item, or one price list. 

  • Offering a range of priced items

Choosing to include a range of priced items can really help. Include cheap, mid-range and high-end products to attract a range of customers.

  • Be kind to yourself

On your first ever stall, you’ll likely feel apprehensive. You won’t know the best way to sell at first, it’ll come with time. Try to relax and let your products do the selling for you. Remember you are the only person who knows the most about your products so try to act confidently showcasing why these products will help make people’s lives better.

  • Have the knowledge

Be ready to answer questions customers might have. Have info like colours, range, ingredients, stock levels etc up your sleeve. Also have your business story ready – why you are doing what you are doing, what are you aiming for, how your stock is made, and anything customers might find interesting. 

  • Create height and layers 

Your stall will likely be a flat surface, you’ll be expected to provide everything to dress your stall. Think of ways to showcase your stock, a little bit more imaginatively than just standing items on your stall. Use boxes, baskets, wooden planks, think outside the box to present your products attractively. Look around your house and see what you can use to create a memorable and fun display. You don’t need to spend too much at the beginning. Why not use wrapping paper around cardboard boxes, or use vases or jugs or painting food containers like tins. Try not to overcrowd your stall. It’s a representation of your store, not a jumble sale.

  • Ditch your phone

Don’t stand around on your phone or look like you haven’t had any customers all day. Try to look approachable, positive and happy to be there and not bored out of your mind (even if there are moments when you are desperate to sit down!)

  • Research opportunity

Network with your stall neighbours, there’s so much you can learn from them. Top tips you can share, best apps/websites to use etc. Networking can also lead to collaborations and new friends.

  • Offer variety, but don’t overcrowd your stall

Have a variety of products which offers your customers choice, but not too much that people can’t get a feel of your brand or the best products you offer. You only have a few seconds to catch the attention of passers by, so make it clean and clear. 

  • Collect email addresses

Keeping GDPR in mind, have a mailing list sign up form or QR link they can do on their phone. Offer something in return for adding your email address which can help “win xxx when you sign up’  Any sign ups are your potential future customers.

  • Take pictures 

It’s a great opportunity for content on social media. Take pics of your stock, your stall, you standing at your stall, and customer interactions happening if there are 2 of you there.

  • Say hello

Try to greet every single person that looks at your stall. I don’t know why, maybe its that awkward British thing (!) but my experience from the stalls we’ve run, there’s a little bit of an awkwardness, some people just want to look at your stall without being bothered or buy anything. So help break the ice, think of a few short questions you can use to start a natural conversation about your product. ‘Would you like to sample this xxx’ ‘Have you ever used xxx before’ You then have the opportunity to build rapport and turn those conversations hopefully into sales!

  • Make them curious

Try to find something that will entice people in. A little sign saying…

‘Feel me, I’m super soft’.  or ‘Try me’ or ‘The silkiest handcream youve ever tried, you decide?’ or ‘Is this the best brownie you’ve ever tasted?’

Think of ways/display ideas to present your stock in a way to get them wondering what it is you’re selling.

  • Best sellers in the middle

Something I’ve found, whatever product is in the middle of our stall, tends to sell the best on the day. Its the first place people usually look. Pop your bestsellers in the middle of your display.

  • Invite friends

When stalls have browsers looking at them it makes onlookers curious and feel a bit of FOMO! Invite your friends and family to visit your stall to help you look a little busy!

A few ideas to help get your brand out there on the day (keep GDPR in mind)

– Flyers given with each purchase

– An ipad/tablet on a stand advertising graphics/videos showcasing your products/messaging about your business

– A small sign on a mini easel, explaining exactly what it is on offer

– Price signs

– QR codes available linking to your website/social media accounts/newsletter signups

– Business cards

– Branded bags for customers purchases

– A ‘sign up, today only’ type offer to be able to take orders in advance (with an option to capture customer’s email address) 

– Could you offer a ‘Want it personalised? Order today and we can deliver to you’ type process allowing to capture customer’s info for potential future orders

– Create a process for customers to be able to order products as gifts for loved ones that can be wrapped and posted at a later date

– A competition for customers to have a chance to win something, where they join your mailing list in exchange for a chance to win

– A catalogue on display showcasing your full range customers can browse either on a tablet or paper version

– Branded receipts which you can write their purchase confirmation on

– Branded clothing that you wear

Who are we?

I’m Becky, a 30 something mama of two, from West London and I run this creative little business together with my mum Wendy.

When covid landed on our doorstep in 2020, one thing we did to help encourage sales of our craft kits, was create the Shop Small Christmas Gift Catalogue. We posted it out to thousands of homes, advertising gift ideas, all sold from small businesses, including my own, encouraging people to shop small at Christmas.

I loved helping other companies, I wondered about converting our catalogue into an in-person event.

So in summer 2022, we hosted out first ever pop-up market in Westfield shopping centre, encouraging the nation to shop from small businesses. I absolutely loved meeting so many inspiring business owners and helping them increase exposure and sales, it’s made me want to organise more events. It’s naturally turned into a business itself, hosting in person shopping events, helping diversify the high street with products from small businesses.

As a product selling business owner myself selling a range of craft kits, I know full well how hard it can be to generate a regular income and to keep the business going especially with big brands dominating the high street

From my own experience I’ve found if you have a good product, selling in person can be such a beneficial way to get your stock off the shelves and into the hands of your ideal customer. I’m passionate about helping small businesses thrive and the I Do Handmade Pop-Ups will hopefully do exactly that.

Want to find out more about our business journey? Click here

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