How to get the most out of your Market Day Experience

Monday, May 12, 2014

I happened to see a great conversation thread on Facebook last week on a stallholder page. The question asked was, what is the most you have ever paid for a market stall? The answers varied wildly starting at $25 and ending at about $1000. Not all markets/fairs are the same just as the price of cars/houses/clothing etc vary wildly.

There were a few people saying they felt they were being ripped off at places they have paid to have a stall which is an awful feeling no matter how much money you have spent.

I do believe you need to understand your business and what you are trying to achieve. For some it is a part time job on the side for a bit of fun, for others it is how they feed their family and for others it is their passion and are wanting to grow a big business. Depending on where you sit will depend on what market will suit you. Not all markets are the same.

I have been wanting to write this post for a while but more about how to get the most out of your day.

I run 2 markets, one is Geelong Baby and Childrens Market and the other is of course Piccadilly Market, one is $70 a stall the other starts at $165 but the same principle should be followed for both.

  • Once you have been accepted make sure you let your followers know whether it be via social media, newsletter or having flyers at other events that you attend. 
  • One of my regulars, pop a flyer for my market that I always send out to my stallholders into any package they mail out that is in a 100km vicinity. Build up some hype for yourself prior to the big day.
  • READ all the information you are sent regarding set up, it will make it a lot easier on you. I still have people arrive at the wrong door or level, making their bump in harder. Know where you are positioned and if you have a wall behind you etc
  • Do a mock up of your stall to the exact sizing, take a photo of it when you are happy and bring that on the day so you know exactly what to do.

My job as the market organiser is to get people through the door and have an event that is well organised and runs smoothly on the day. I do this through relentless marketing and advertising and always mixing things up and trying new things. I always have flyers in my bag that I can put anywhere I go when I see the possibility. Back of toilet doors are a great one.

Once the doors open and the people flood through, my job is pretty much done. That is when I can enjoy the fruits of my labour and be on hand to help the stallholders with anything they may need on the day, be it toilet breaks, grabbing a coffee or lunch.

With Piccadilly there are 100 stalls so each person has to make sure they are presentable, have a warm and inviting environment and are approachable.

Think about when you go to a shopping centre and what attracts your attention and makes you want to walk into a store. How do you feel if the shop attendant does not look up to acknowledge you? how do you feel if they are on their phone whilst you are in store?

You are ON for the day and it does not matter if you are sick, tired, bored, cranky you need to leave all that at home and greet everyone with a smile.

I see a direct correlation with how well someone does with whether they sit or stand for the day. True!!! Yes I know your feet will hurt but it is worth it. People want to be greeted at least with a smile but I know that I love conversation as many others also do.

Do NOT pick up your phone except to check the time or process a payment. I see stall holders on their phone all the time and have even seen people reading the paper or a book.

Remember that it is not just about the day, plenty of people go away and then will purchase online so make sure you have cards and/or flyers available for them to take. I get a lot of people contacting me up to months after an event asking for details of  businesses. Make it easy for them. I would also suggest having a mailing list (any serious business should have a mailing list - super easy to set up with mailchimp) You could always send everyone who signed up to your mailing list an email a few days after the market thanking them for stopping by and giving them all your contact details, social media handles etc. These little extras build customers for life.

I have seen people give a discount if they like them on Facebook whilst they are at their stall. Great idea for building your community. It can be as small as 5% or a larger incentive.

People often tell me they had a bad position and that is why they did not do so well, in the case of my market there is no bad spot. If you do all of the above and give it 100% it does not matter where you are. Two of my biggest sellers have odd spots that they always ask for every time. They have built a following with great service and great products. I will have someone tell me it was their worst day and then someone 3 stalls down from them tell me it was their best ever.

My advice to newcomers is expect nothing and everything will be a bonus. With the exception of super well known brands like Apple and H&M opening up with queues around the corner we just can't expect to open up a new business whether it be a shop or a market stall and have people handing over their money. They need to see who you are, trust you as a brand and as a person. Build it and they will come only happens in the movies.

A single 1/4 page ad in a crappy local paper sets me back $1050 to advertise the market and I have ZERO knowledge of how it worked. Look at your stall fee as a very cheap add where you get to see what people gravitate to, what colours and products work best, how they react to your pricing. You get to chat to them and understand what may work better next time.

I have had businesses start with me to get their name out there and after a few years they have grown so well they no longer need to do markets. It all takes time and hard work, like any other business out there.

Market day is all about having fun and enjoying the process.  It may take a few markets before people start to purchase from you.

If you have had a bad sales day and the market was well patronised step back and see what it could be. Is it your presentation, your pricing, is your product right for that particular market and/or demographic. Of course sometimes we just have a bad day and there is no rhyme or reason to why but i do often think we need to dig a little deeper.

Good Luck and I welcome any comments for general discussion.

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