as a market vendor, keeping your booth tidy and organized is a key to getting sales

How to be a Successful Market Vendor in 2024

Being a successful market vendor comes down to a handful of simple tactics that, once worked into your schedule, are easy to turn into habit. Some markets will even do some of these things for you for an additional monthly fee.

Read on to learn some some of our most-suggested strategies for getting more eyes on your booth—and more sales every month.

1. Keep your booth clean.

as a market vendor, keeping your booth tidy and organized is a key to getting sales

I know that this one seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t seem to think of cleanliness as a solid tactic toward being a successful market vendor. It isn’t just store owners that find a dirty booth off-putting—customers do, too. Visitors barely glance over a cluttered display, and they won’t spend much time if everything is covered in dust or they’re worried they might knock something over.

We’ve all seen stores that are bursting at the seams and if you sneeze, everything’s gonna come crashing down, right?

More stock isn’t necessarily better if your customers can’t move around or see everything without moving something else.

Make a point of showing up and cleaning your booth a couple of times a month, making sure that your space is easy to access and not cluttered. If you need help, ask the shop owner for advice or how much extra it would cost for them to look after the cleaning.

Some stores have it in their contract that, for an extra monthly fee, they’ll clean your booth for you; this is especially worthwhile if you live far away or you physically cannot do the cleaning yourself.

2. Make sure your items are priced to sell.

market vendor pricing their brooches

Many a vendor gets into this line of work just to clear stuff out from a relative that has passed on, or to downsize from their own collection. Some sellers are more motivated than others—perhaps too motivated, as they underprice everything in an effort to get it to move faster.

Sometimes this works. Often, a customer sees a really good deal and decides it’s too good. Items worth far more than their ticket price sit on the shelf—until we price them higher. Then they sell.

The best way to determine fair value for your items is to look them up on eBay; search the product, then scroll down to the “Show Only” filter and click “Sold”. When the site reloads, it’ll show you what has sold in the past year, and for how much. The ‘sweet spot’ is generally somewhere in the middle of the listed price points—including the shipping.

It’s worthwhile to look at your item’s prices on other shopping sites, too, like Etsy and Poshmark. You won’t know if they sell at the listed prices, but it can give you a ballpark figure.

Stay tuned for more thorough deep-dive into pricing your stock at a later date.

If, however, you aren’t concerned about approximate market value, try to double what you paid. That’s what many successful vendors do!

3. Avoid being a copycat market vendor.

Just because something is selling well for someone else doesn’t mean it’s going to do the same for you—and saturating the market with all the same stuff is harmful to you and your fellow vendors.

For example, let’s say a vendor sells plastic succulents in cute ceramic containers. They sell quite well in your market, so you decide you’re going to start selling them, too. Then another vendor does it. And another. Pretty soon, they’re so common that they just don’t sell.

Customers notice. The appeal of a vendor market is that they’re a smorgasbord of unique finds and tastes. Everybody copying one another eliminates that uniqueness and makes a market boring.

So, don’t be a copycat: be different.

4. Don’t try to cater to everyone’s tastes.

I used to stock everything under the sun to appeal to every possible type of customer. I wanted everyone to find something in my store, but that’s not realistic.

Now, I shop based upon my niche. This forces me to focus on specific things, helps keep me from overspending, and gives me repeat customers. One thing I can rely on is that there are others out there who love what I love and want to buy it.

That’s why we like repeat customers. Over 80% of your sales will come from 20% of your customers; you get those sales by being a reliable source of specific things.

It’s impossible to appeal to every single person. Decide what your ideal customer looks like and cater to them. Of course, your ideal customer should love your niche and want to tell their friends all about your booth. We figured that goes without saying. 😉

5. Move stock to move stock.

Customers notice when a booth doesn’t ever change.

You’ll see the disappointment in their faces as they sweep by. If they’re looking for something and your booth hasn’t changed in six months, they’ll assume you don’t have it.

Sometimes making a sale is as simple as moving things around.

When we, as market vendors, rearrange our displays, it gives other items a chance to shine. People notice when things have moved! That’s when they’ll find that neat mug you have, or the figurine they were missing for their collection.

Vendors that show up at least once per month to arrange and add fresh stock get more sales than those that don’t. Even if you don’t have anything new to add, moving items and refreshing your displays gives the impression that something is new, and that’s what makes people look.

6. Assign an expiry date to your products.

This one is difficult—I have a hard time with it myself.

Whether we like it or not, the items we sell have an expiry date: items that sit for years take up valuable space that could sell multiple times in the same amount of time.

This isn’t a problem for some sellers—they have ample storage, so they hold on to something until it’s sold.

For the average market vendor, though? We have to care. Most of us have limited storage space for our stock, and items that hang around for too long can make our booths seem stagnant. We don’t want that!

We want visitors to get used to the idea of buying something as soon as they see it, because it likely won’t be there next time they show up.

I recommend giving items 3 to 6 months on the shelf before they get packed up and put away or “expired”.

If you’re selling in a market where the clientele is only around during a certain time of the year, you can cheat a little bit. Items you brought in during the slow period can wait until a month or so into the busy time of year before getting pulled, for example.

What to do with “expired” stock? Pack it into a box, label it with the date, and put that box into storage for another 3-6 months before trying again in-store. You can also relegate that box to the “list online” pile, or take expired stock and sell it at a yard sale or auction. Donating to a local thrift shop is another possibility!

7. Advertise your business in your booth!

Now, this is definitely specific to our store, but if you have branding and you have your own socials, you should be advertising what you do in your booth.

Display business cards, put up a flyer, place a sign with your business name and socials on it—claim that space as YOURS. Let people know about your business! When you’re excited, they’re excited!

Some markets frown on this because they feel it would take too much business away from their brick-and-mortar shop. You’re a business, too! What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, especially when it comes to marketing.

Don’t be afraid to let people know that you’re a market vendor.

8. Support the market & market vendors on socials.

Follow your market on social media and tag them when you post your latest additions to your booth. Share other market vendors’ posts. Comment on your market’s content and share it, too. Be supportive of other vendors.

What benefits them benefits you.

Although promoting the shop is part of the store owner’s job, it’s still important for you to be loud about your booth and products. The best market vendors tell everybody everywhere all about their really kick-ass stuff.

More activity on the market’s social media posts is good for you because it makes the algorithm happy. When the algorithm is happy, it puts all that content in front of more people, driving further traffic your way.

Social media is a bit of a give-and-take game: if all you do is take, you won’t get much in return.

So, did we miss anything? What’s something you do in your booth and vendor spaces that helps you drive sales?

Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and chat with us now and then. We’ll see you next week for some more tips!

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