Image credit: Sunday Soul Sante
Flea markets and exhibitions happen all year around, and are a great window of opportunity for sellers to explore new audience mind-sets, apart from sales. For an online seller, it is also a great way to figure out ‘in the moment’ how shoppers react to your products. Need some ideas? Here are the 9 pointers - coming from veteran sellers - to keep in mind before participating in your next.
1. Figure out a platform that’s right for you
Not all fairs and exhibitions may be relevant for you. Those related to the industry you are in, or feature communities or groups from your target audience set, is the best fit. Check out the brochures, talk to past participants and do some digging around on social media to find more about it. “If you are into selling organic products, a farmer’s market may give you better results than an arts and crafts sante” advices Varun Shroff, who sells berries and berry ice creams under the band name of Very Berry.
2. Make sure your application stands out
Present yourself well to the organizing committee, especially if seats are limited and there’s competition to get in. Express your interest in as compelling a way you can and do show them your range of products. "I say no to a vendor who outsources things from abroad but don’t know what it’s made of or who made it. Merchandising is an art but not many people know how to merchandise." says Asha Rao, organiser of Sunday Soul Sante, the biggest arts and crafts fair in Bangalore.
3. Do a rehearsal
It helps if you can do a ‘dry run’ of D-day well in advance. “Install a mock stall and arrange your wares. You might realise that you need more hangers or baskets to display your stuff. Once you are satisfied with the arrangement, click a few pictures on your phone. Once you know how you want your stall to look, you can even delegate it to someone else and focus on more important things” advices Jaya Rawat of Chotee, an accessory brand owner who regularly participates at such events.
4. Personalize the experience
Make visitors feel special – that way, even if they don’t pick something up, they’ll be quick to spread the good word. “Greet your customers with a smile and a ‘Hello!’, talk about how your products are made (an ‘insider peek’ into the process is always a great attraction point). If you are offering a discount, make sure you tell them about it yourself, instead of just having a banner somewhere.” says Simran Oberoi, a baker who runs Ovenderful.
5. Show off your brand’s best face
It’s often the ‘how’, more than the ‘what’, that sells. "Deck up your store, make sure you and your staff look professional, make use of graphics and wall posters to make a statement, and be warm and welcoming to one and all (you never know who’s a potential customer!)" says Ankita Bajaj of The Sewing Machine, who retails in clothing.
6. Stock up on sundries
Inventory aside, you’ll do good to store up on the following items as well –
- Packaging and related materials
- Loose change / cash
- Power & extension chords
- First Aid
- Drinking water and snacks
- Business card
- Credit payment system
- Pen & paper
- Laptop with net connection
- Chair / tool to sit
- Canopy and weights
7. Don't be afraid of recommending
The presence of the owner tells visitors that they are important. Warm up to them and strie a genuine conversation with them. Unita and Amrita, the fashion designer duo who run Ommel advice sellers to bring in their own experience and throw in a little bit of recommendation and advice based on the customer's body shape and style. Most customers would appreciate the personal attention.
8. Build your database
Don’t forget to keep a list of the names and numbers of your visitors. Fairs and shows are great opportunities for building a productive mailing list. "Once someone has seen your products and knows about it, chances of them buying from you increase in future. You should specially let them know when you run a promotion and a good database will help you there" says Simran.
9. Use customer testimonials on social media
Request your buyers to share their pics on your Facebook wall, wearing/using your products. Nothing works better than a happy customer’s testimonial. "I always ask my buyers to share pics on our facebook wall. It genuinely helps me understand my customers and inspires me to create more and better products for them" signs off Jaya.
Like our tips? Share yours with us.