It’s already mid 2016 – the year is just flying by, so it’s time to take a minute to see how your business is doing. Did you set sales or profit goals at the start of the year? If you did – how are you doing? Are you satisfied with how things are going? If you answered ‘Yes,’ – good for you! If you answered ‘No,’ or ‘Well…’ – we’ve got some help for you right here.
Flea market and swap meet vendors face the same pressures as every other retailer in the business, including having to compete with online retailers and ecommerce vendors, as well as a plugged-in base of customers who have a universe of choices before them. How can you do better? Here are five tips to succeed:
Know the Story
You have a number of different items in your booth- you should know where they came from and how customers can use them. Telling a story about an item is a great way to draw in customers. A good example of this is if you carry a line of clothing or accessories that are made in a far away place or sourced from a particular nation like Brazil, Peru or Ecuador. Learn about the people who made the items and use their story to entice shoppers to try the merchandise. Everyone loves to be told a story, and if you can explain that a certain village on a mountaintop is known for creating a certain item, that alone may attract shoppers to check out your booth.
“I always emphasize the importance of strong visual merchandising,” says Rob Sieban, CEO of Mile High Flea Market. “If you are selling clothing, for example, cross-merchandise with a jewelry retailer and put it together for the customer.” By putting together an entire outfit or a collection of items you can attract more visitors to your booth. Instead of simply opening up containers and spreading them out on a table, take a moment to pull together a group of related items and display them together. If you sell apparel, use a mannequin to advantage — drape jewelry or a hat or some other brightly colored item and place it so that it’s openly visible in your booth. You may have a lot of items to sell, but give at least one area some space — it will stand out not only in your booth but also as compared to the others around you.
Market shoppers have more options than ever before to buy products, so you need to stand out. One easy way to do this is to really know your stuff. If you sell apparel, keep up to date on the latest colors, newest styles and hottest trends. If you sell electronics, understand the benefits and options of your products and offer to explain them to your shoppers. Do some research online and be ready with a recommendation. Ask your customers what they are looking for, then do your best to give them what they need. They will remember the extra service and come back to your booth the next time they need something.
Retailers —and this includes you — need to confront the giant that mobile technology has become. Millions of people sleep with their phones next to them each night and the thought of walking around for a day without their phone can actually cause panic attacks in some people. As an active seller, what can you do to attract this hyper-connected crowd to your physical booth? Get in the game via social media.
Firstly, find out what your market is doing — what social channels are they already on? Can you participate? Many markets encourage their vendors to link into their social media accounts and offer things like electronic coupons, booth specials, and fun short-term specials. The possibilities here are almost endless. If you’re stuck for ideas, conduct a survey! Shoppers love to be asked questions, and if you offer a small free gift (like candy or a cookie) people will usually respond with a smile — and the feedback for you can be invaluable.
Let’s not forget about mobile payment technology. If you don’t yet accept mobile payments, you really are behind the times. There are a multitude of easy to use payment systems available, and allowing your customers to pay in whatever manner they want will boost your bottom line immediately. You don’t want to lose a sale because you can’t take a debit card!
Networking for Profit
There is no better way to stay connected and plugged into your market than to chat with your fellow vendors and other professionals in the flea market and swap meet industry. This is a great informal way to talk shop- finding out what others are doing that works or doesn’t work, what’s selling, what’s not selling, and which market venues are the best places to sell. Market vendors are a fun and colorful group of people- walk around and get to know your neighbors, attend a general merchandise trade show, and most of all, listen to what others are saying. You never know when you’ll meet a new potential business partner or find a supplier for a fantastic hot-selling new product.