Merchandising (Noun)–the activity of promoting the sale of goods, especially by their presentation in retail outlets.
It is incredibly vital for flea market vendors to utilize effective merchandising techniques, as an attractive, organized display of merchandise will always get attention. Merchandising is important year-round, but it is especially crucial near the holidays, when consumers are usually in a buying mood. Drawing attention to your booth through product placement, displays, sights and smells, and advertising will get your message out there and increase holiday sales.
Here are five tips for effective merchandising to get the most out of this holiday season:
1. Make Your Booth Stand Out
If customers don’t stop at your booth, it’s impossible for them to buy anything. The key is getting their attention and encouraging them to take a look around. Wayne Fetta, CEO of FetPak, a supplier of displays, gift boxes, and bags, would know how to make merchandise move at flea markets—he’s a former vendor. “You want to draw the customer’s eye,” he notes. “Put the best sellers at eye level, in the front, at a good price. You put a good seller and take the price down to almost your cost. Everybody loves that item, and they come and take a look at the rest of your merchandise. The big box stores do that a lot. You see what they put in the front, and they stack it up high.” Trish Martin, Merchandising and Marketing Assistant for Specialty Store Services, a wholesaler of retail fixtures, store showcases, displays, and apparel racks for independent retailers, notes that to think like a customer, you need to be in their position. “Look at your displays from the buyer’s point of view,” she says. “Get on the other side of the table, and see what they see. Straighten out the clutter, organize by category, make sure signage and labels are attached and visible. Ask yourself: would I want to stop and shop here?”
2. Engage the Senses
A booth or tent full of quality merchandise certainly helps draw a crowd, but it also helps to engage the senses, so lights and sounds always help. “Draw attention to your area with rope lights, by stringing them along the top of your booth or along the edge of your table,” Martin remarks. “Rope lights are available in a variety of colors and many can twinkle, flash and chase, in addition to staying on static. Change the color of your lights to reflect the holiday or season: red for Christmas, blue for winter, white year round.” Play music, if your market allows it. In addition, vendors can engage potential consumers with treats. Provide free apple cider, popcorn, or roasted nuts to entice visitors to stop by and take a look around. If there is enough foot traffic at the flea market, the cost of drinks and food will pay for themselves several times over with increased sales.
3. Get The Message Out There
Most flea market visitors walk among the aisles, without looking for a particular vendor, simply browsing to find a good deal. Many may be looking for a particular type of product, but the vast majority do not have a specific booth in mind. This is where merchandising comes in. A well-position helper (one of the vendor’s children, or possibly a teenager from the neighborhood) can hand out flyers in the parking lots or near the entrance, enticing visitors to seek out a particular booth through coupons or other special deals. Vendors can run advertisements in local newspapers, or ask the organizer of the flea market if they can put a banner or other notice on the main market website. It is always easier to get attention if customers go straight to you, rather then you trying to draw their attention.
4. Stock Holiday Items
Even if they are products you don’t normally sell, stock up on gifts that holiday shoppers are looking for. All of your potential customers are aware that it is the holidays, and most of them are feeling generous and are usually more impulsive than they would be in June. If a consumer sees something cute that would go well in their Christmas display, there’s a pretty good chance they will make the purchase. Simple decorations, miniature trees, and ornaments fly off the shelves in November and December. In addition, you can offer gift-wrapping or festive boxes as a way of increasing loyalty for shoppers and give them the satisfaction of a great purchasing decision.
5. Stay Friendly
As always, be engaging, active and personable. Many customers buy local to be connected with their community, and the best way to grow that loyalty is by being friendly and helpful, and giving them the knowledgeable guidance that they won’t get at the chain stores.
Helpful How-To’s From FleaMarketZone.com.