A market stall is a great way to of exploring if you have a sellable product or if you want to grow your maker business with minimal overheads and maximum customer interaction.
If you’re not already using your markets all for research then you’re really missing a trick as the beauty of this way of selling is your opportunity for both immediate customer interaction and customer observation. These encounters are giving you heaps of intel that online businesses spend a lot of money and time trying to gather.
1. Market Research
Without asking a single question you can collect valuable market research, just by observing the people at your stall.
- What kind of customer is buying from you?
- Age window?
- What other brands are they wearing?
- How much does your average customer spend?
- How long does your average customer spend at your stall?
- Do they tend to go away and come back?
- Do they tend to have bought from any other stalls as well?
- What is your most popular product?
This is a lot of valuable information to collect and use to identify trends that you can then shape your business around.
Start keeping notes while you’re at your stall. You should be able to deduce from that information the profile of your shoppers, a guess at the age window, gender, spend average and most popular items and price points.
Then you can start thinking about other similar products in that price point, colour or product line that might appeal to that audience.
2. Ask Questions
Customers hold all the answers, not just in their actions, but even more so if you engage with them.
- Finding out why a customer likes your product can help you refocus your whole business
- Knowing how they use your product can help you target your audience
- Understanding where else they buy from can help you shape how you sell
- Knowing their buying and spending habits can help you market
3. Affiliate Marketing
It’s always easier and often far more believable if other people are talking about how amazing your product is. Affiliate marketing basically boils down to finding other people who speak to the same audience as you do, but don’t compete with you, who can market on your behalf. Partnering with them to promote to your shared audience is an easy and mutually beneficial approach.
4. Where to Sell
Where you sell, determines who you sell to. To sell well it’s essential to understand your brand, your price point and your audience. There is no sense investing in a stall at a low level, family community event when you sell expensive jewellery for high network women.
If you’re considering a market, do your research. As the organiser about footfall, audience profile and the other sellers at the market to gauge if it sounds like a good fit for what you’re trying to do.
Then visit the market at a few different times on the days you want to sell. See what it’s like for yourself. Speak to those selling there and see what they say about the organisers, the crowd, the promotion, etc.
Only make the call once you’ve done the research and have the evidence that it’s the right place for you.
5. Understand the Competition
Markets don’t only provide information about customers, they also provide information about the competition. Start looking at those who could be considered competition from a customer perspective and look at what they do well. Ask yourself what they’re doing that appeals to customers and how you could, with your own spin replicate it.
- Do they offer a value add service? (like packaging/wrapping)
- Are they running any clever offers to encourage sales?
- Is there presentation outstanding or unique?
- Have they partnered with another market stall in a smart way
This is not a one time process. This is an ongoing formula. Things are always changing. As a business owner, your best move is to keep adapting with the changes and to keep paying attention to your audience.