5 Mistakes to Avoid at Market

Markets, Events, Fairs and Show are fantastic opportunities for all types of small business owners to showcase their products, creativity and to connect with potential customers. However, navigating these events successfully requires more than just setting up a stall and hoping for the best. To ensure that your experience at theses shows is fruitful and enjoyable, it’s essential to avoid common pitfalls that can hinder your success. Here are some mistakes to steer clear of when participating in markets and events, brought to you by the IOMST, your trusted resource for market and event trading insights:

Mistake #1: Too much Variety

When participating in markets, events or shows, it’s important to strike a balance between offering a variety of products and overwhelming potential customers. While diversity can attract a wider range of shoppers, having too much variety can actually be a hindrance.

It’s like asking “What do you fancy for dinner?”—suddenly, thoughts of dinner are on your mind (apologies for the appetite prompt!); similarly, offering a choice between chips or rice narrows down options, making decision-making a breeze…. Or, why not both?

At your stall, Too much Variety, can lead to slower decision-making among shoppers, sometimes prompting them to step away to ponder their choices. Remember, you’re not a department store; you’re a unique, small business. Avoid attempting to cater to everyone or targeting too broad of an audience (such as offering jewellery for all ). Instead, identify your specific target market (e.g., mothers and daughters) and focus on what you want your business to be renowned for (e.g., creating meaningful mother-daughter jewellery) etc….

By offering a focused selection of items that showcase your unique style and skills, you can create a more cohesive and memorable brand identity. This will help customers better understand what you specialise in, making it easier for them to connect with your products and make a purchase.

Remember, quality over quantity is key in creating a successful stall display.

Mistake #2: No variety in pricing

As seasoned traders, we understand the thrill and challenges of showcasing at markets & events. One common misstep that can hinder your success is not offering enough variety in pricing. Let’s delve into this crucial aspect and explore how diversifying your price points can elevate your market experience.

The success hinges on offering a diverse range of price points. Don’t fall into the trap of limiting your offerings to a single price range. Here’s why:

  • Appeal to All Budgets: Ensure your products cater to various budgets. From affordable options for first-time buyers to high-end showstoppers, offer something for everyone. Imagine encountering an artist at a craft show. While they may admire your original artworks, they might not be ready to splurge on a high-priced masterpiece. However, offering smaller prints at a more affordable price point opens the door for them to make a purchase. This not only satisfies their immediate desire but also introduces them to your brand, paving the way for future investments.
  • Boost Sales: Diversifying your price points encourages customers to make multiple purchases. Whether it’s different materials or sizes, provide options that entice buyers to add more to their shopping bags. By offering different sizes, styles or materials, you appeal to varied preferences and needs.
  • Attract New Customers: Affordable and mid-priced items serve as entry points for newcomers, expanding your customer base and fostering brand loyalty.
  • Strategic Display: Showcase high-priced items prominently to draw attention and create a focal point that elevates your stalls allure.

By embracing a diverse pricing strategy, you not only maximize sales potential but also create a more inclusive and engaging craft show experience for all attendees.

Mistake #3: Not knowing where to find you after the event

Not all shoppers will buy from you.  ok lets break it down – 

The average conversion rate of a brick-and-mortar shop is 20% to 30%. Which means, if 100 people walk into a shop, on average, only 20 – 30 people will actually buy something. Online rates are typically lower at approx. 2% – 3% . 

Because shoppers don’t know what they’ll find at a market until they walk through the doors and find lots of traders to choose from, the most likely conversion rates at a market fall somewhere between the above statistics. Your conversion rate will vary depending on the type of event you’re selling at, what you’re selling, price points, time of year, etc… Let’s say the average market stall conversion rate is around 10%. That means 90% of shoppers won’t buy from you. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not interested in your products. So it’s important to target those shoppers in hopes they buy from you after the event.

Even though market shoppers may leave without making a purchase, that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in your products.  To increase your chances of post-market sales, it’s essential to leave a lasting impression. Make your stall memorable by showcasing a unique selling point, whether it’s strong brand colour, exciting layout, or themed items. Being known for something specific will help shoppers remember you.

Additionally, provide easy access to your contact information. Place a stack of business cards on the edge of your table for shoppers to take as they leave or a Qr code to scan to your socials. For those who do make a purchase, include a business card or flyer in their bag, making it effortless for them to reconnect with you.

Mistake #4: Ignoring the numbers

Participating in markets or events can be time-consuming and expensive, making it essential to carefully monitor your financial performance. While some traders may view selling at markets and events as merely a hobby, those aiming to grow their business and profits should track key metrics and adjust their strategies accordingly.

When evaluating the success of the market or event, some traders subtract stall fees from your total earning and If they have money left over, they consider the event a success. However, it’s crucial to account for all expenses, including wages and other costs, to accurately assess profitability.

To effectively track your performance, you need to gather data throughout the event. Key metrics to consider include:

  • Number of event attendees (organisers can provide estimates)
  • Number of visitors who stop at your table. These figures will help you calculate your stall’s conversion rate—how many visitors become your customers. A low conversion rate may indicate areas for improvement in your display or product offerings.

Additionally, track:

  • Number of sales made: This helps calculate your sales conversion rate—how many visitors made a purchase.
  • Number of items sold per transaction: Calculating units per transaction can guide product line improvements and increase sales.

To boost sales per customer transactions, consider offering items commonly used together or targeting the same customer demographic.

Finally, keep track of:

  • Hours spent on event preparation, setup, selling and packing up.
  • Money spent on show-related expenses.

By diligently monitoring these metrics, you can gain valuable insights into your market or event performance and make informed decisions to optimise your business’s success.

Mistake #5: Ignoring what surrounds your products

While your products should be the main focus, the environment surrounding them plays a crucial role in shaping shoppers’ perceptions and willingness to purchase. Everything from market fixtures and props to signage and your attire can influence how shoppers perceive the value of your products.

Consider this analogy: Imagine being served a fillet steak on a paper plate in a noisy, unkempt restaurant. Despite the high-quality meat, you may hesitate to pay its true value due to the unappealing surroundings.

Similarly, every aspect of your stall, from the tablecloth to the price tags, should enhance the perceived value of your products. Pay attention to even the smallest details, as they can significantly impact the overall impression.

A well-designed space not only attracts shoppers but also encourages them to interact with your products. Ensure that your setup is inviting and conducive to browsing. If shoppers feel uncomfortable touching items due to unstable fixtures or overly precious displays, they’re less likely to make a purchase.

By creating a visually appealing and shopper-friendly environment, you can enhance the perceived value of your products and increase sales opportunities.

As you prepare for your upcoming markets or events, we wanted to share some final tips to help you make the most of your experience:

  1. Efficiency is Key: Remember, the longer you take to complete a transaction, the less time you have for other customers. Keep everything you need for making a sale in one area and if possible, prep bags beforehand by pre-stuffing them with tissue paper and business cards. Keep change on hand and your card machine near by.

  2. Engage with Customers: Be approachable and friendly to visitors. Strike up conversations, offer product demonstrations and be ready to answer any questions they may have. Building a connection with customers can lead to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth referrals.

  3. Offer Samples or Demonstrations: Let customers experience your products first hand by offering samples or demonstrations. This can help them better understand the quality and value of what you’re selling, leading to increased sales.

  4. Follow Up: After the event, don’t forget to follow up with customers who expressed interest in your products. If you can invite people to follow you on socials you can message them privately send thank-you note, offer exclusive discounts, or invite them to visit your online store. Building relationships with customers beyond the event can lead to long-term loyalty.

We hope you can take something from our tips to enhance your sales opportunities and leave a lasting impression on potential customers.

Wishing you all the best for a successful and enjoyable event!

Warm regards,

Grainne &  Greg