Flea markets are popping up everywhere. More than 90 percent of flea market managers responded to the Sumner Communications 2012 State of the Flea Market Industry research survey saying that business is either the same as or better than last year, and 39 percent of those only opened within the last decade. With business booming in every state, vendors often have multiple markets to choose from, but how do you know which one is going to bring you the most business? Though convenience is frequently a factor, there are more details to consider than proximity alone. Here are a few questions you should ask every market candidate to help you determine the best place for your booth.
Does the market advertise? It’s important to be sure that the market manager and staff are getting the word out on a regular basis to ensure optimal foot traffic. Try to find the market on Facebook or Twitter, for starters. If their social media pages have a great deal of activity, that’s a sign you’re heading in the right direction.
Is the market in or near anything that attracts potential shoppers? Flea markets near colleges, malls or downtown areas are less out of the way for your shoppers, and the more convenient your booth is to them, the more likely they are to stop and shop. If the market holds events, such as trick-or-treat parties for Halloween, music concerts or themed swap meet days, these traffic boosters mean you’re on the right track.
What’s the demographic of the area? While most vendors would be hard pressed to find a customer who would turn down low prices, the truth is that some flea market items are pricier than others. Antiques vendors, in particular, can carry higher priced items. If you visit the market and see more expensive items moving, that’s a fair indication that you’ve found a demographic interested in spending.
How long has the market been open? Do they have attendance records? If the market has been open for several years and has brought in a reliable level of traffic, vendors can trust that they’re in good hands.
Do they charge admission or parking? If so, how much? You want to find a market where customers arrive at your table with their wallets intact and ready to make a purchase.
What type of merchandise is selling? There are two reasons why this is important. First, it tells you what market attendees are looking for. Second, if you’re looking for a market where your merchandise stands out, you need to know what’s already there. Markets that have a larger number of new merchandise vendors may be more receptive to the next new product, whereas markets that sell more furniture or housewares might not be fitting for vendors selling electronic toys.
Is there food? Are there “creature comforts” like clean restrooms? Keep in mind that the attributes that make vendors happiest with a market will make shoppers happiest, as well.