Article by Jane Tweedy, Business Advisor, Western Sydney Business Centre
Spring is peak market stall season, with a combination of warmer weather, and the lead up to Christmas seeing shoppers actively looking for something unusual, or of course a bargain. How do small businesses make the most of a stall at markets or even school fetes?
Choosing your market
Like all aspects of business marketing, you need to be where your customers hang out. If you’re selling relatively expensive handmade items, then upmarkets or specialist craft markets may be best suited to you, or even a market in a different locale, like Inner West or the Blue Mountains. Markets that screen stallholders may seem annoying, but are your best option, as they tend to restrict stalls to only one or two of each type of business to give the public more variety, and the stallholders more chance of making sales.
Ahead of the market
Know all the requirements, time and access to set-up. Typically you will need public liability insurance (which you should hold with product liability insurance anyway). Advertise your attendance in relevant local Facebook groups (follow their rules), and on your own social media pages. If you’ll use a marquee, test erecting and dismantling it at home, including by yourself if required. Make sure you have stock or samples to take, brochures/cards and signage to grab attention.
At the market
Set up on time, maintain a well laid out stall, that’s appealing, welcoming and easy to enter. Some consider a draw or giveaway, others attract kids using balloons, which of course brings the parents. Maintain a smile and act interested at all times. Bored, uninterested stallholders really put people off! If you are selling on the day, rather than gaining awareness or taking details to book in services or quotes, then you will need ways to accept money and credit cards. Maintain a cash float of coins and small notes, and have a payment system such as Square. Square allows people to tap and go on some devices and accepts credit and debit cards. Don’t let sales get missed for the sake of a $59 device that connects to your phone or iPad!
Do a Facebook Live to share your enthusiasm and show people what they’ll miss out on if they don’t come on down and join the fun. Share this to some local groups if possible.
After the market
Don’t pack down until allowed. Safely store any contact details that need following up, and contact the people after the event. You can also again link with Social Media post event, to thank through tagging people and/or businesses who assisted on the day.
Assess how the stall worked for you – did you make money (and I don’t mean just to cover the cost of stall hire), did you have the right amount of stock, do you need a helper, would you go back to that market? Remember like any marketing strategy they may not work first time. Identify if the issue was tactic or execution and adjust accordingly.
Need help working out who your target clients are and therefore what markets are right for you, please make an appointment to see one of our business advisors for up to four hours at no cost with no catches! Book now!