Over the course of 2017, several brick and mortar chain stores shuttered locations, leading media headlines to call the phenomenon a “retail apocalypse.” However, many areas of the retail industry thrived during this tumultuous period. One of the biggest mistakes people made when drawing conclusions about the retail industry was lumping all segments of the industry together. Retail itself will always be alive because people will always have a need or want to buy things. However, this year we saw the way in which people make purchases shift.
While some chain and department stores faltered, retailers with excellent value propositions and discount pricing grew steadily. Dollar General® is a prime example. In the most recent quarter, their sales rose 11 percent, more than expected. The Tennessee-based chain is set to open 900 additional stores over the course of 2018 and remodeling another 1000. As NPR® pointed out in their recent article on the company, Dollar General® will soon have more stores in the US than McDonald’s® has restaurants.
Costco® is another example. The warehouse retailer has seen a steady increase in sales over the course of the year. At the end of 2017, the company’s stock shares were at an all-time high. What do both of these successful retailers have in common? They offer value, a treasure-hunt experience, and a community feel. These are also the main qualities of a great flea market.
Great Value Proposition
Though on the surface our economy has recovered, the average shopper is still very conscious of their spending. Offering an unbeatable value proposition sets you apart from the competition and ensures your store or booth will keep the customers coming in any type of economy. Dollar stores offer obvious value, so do warehouse stores with minimal retail markups on bulk purchases. But flea markets also offer a unique value. Shoppers can find a range of manufactured, homemade, and vintage products all at bargain prices under the same roof.
There’s no question ecommerce is changing the way in which people shop, including how they find products. However, one area of in-person shopping ecommerce can’t quite replicate is the “treasure-hunt” experience. The thrill of finding that perfect, unexpected, one-of-a-kind item at a bargain price. While dollar stores can have great steals and warehouse stores can regularly switch up their inventory, no one does the treasure-hunt better than a flea market.
For small-town or rural communities, the local shopping area can be an important place to connect with neighbors. NPR® reported a local resident told them Dollar General® is “A place where you go and see your friends and people from other towns around.” Flea markets offer communities even more than a gathering place, or even a convenient location for weekly shopping. For many, flea markets are incubators for multi-generational businesses, the start of lifelong friendships, local performance venues, family-friendly events, and more.
2018 has a lot of promise for flea markets and other value-priced sellers. Shoppers are looking for exactly the kinds of experiences flea market vendors have to offer. In order to set yourself up for success, become a regular vendor at your favorite flea market, so shoppers know they can depend on you for consistency. Also, make sure you spread the news around town about your business. Costco® and Dollar General® have the advantage of a national advertising budget, but you have the hometown advantage. Don’t rely on the market to do all of the advertising for you. Start spreading the news on your individual business and products to develop a loyal and local following.