13 Essential Tips to Ensure Market Stall Success

There is no singular secret to running a widely-successful market stall. If you frequent Gazebo Australia's Market Stall Guides, then you know that it takes the right combination of factors to achieve a memorable and profitable stall.

In this guide, we have collected the most basic ingredients to help you whip up the perfect market stall, complete with links to our other guides for a more a comprehensive read.

1. The early bird gets the worm

This saying couldn't be truer when it comes to market stall success. So, get to the market early.

Imagine arriving late when your neighbours have already set up their stalls. Do you envision how difficult it will be for you to park, set up, and unload your products between two already set up stalls?

A smart idea is to find out from your stall neighbours what time they arrive so that you can coordinate for a flawless setup process. 

The icing on the cake is that early shoppers will find you ready, buy from you, and literally you'll get the work as the early bird.

 

2. Sell the right product

Sure, you can sell whatever you please but don't expect to make lots of money selling winter mountain gear when you are on the sunny coast. What we are saying here is that you have to know the market.

When thinking of products to sell, ask yourself these questions; they will point you to the goods that will sell well:

  • Who goes to this market event?
  • What do they need/want?
  • How much are they willing to spend?
Borough Market Stalls
Photos by Alvin Leong and Vanessa Lollipop

3. Don't forget the variety

Most market stalls showcase products from only one category. It could be hats, beachwear, antiques, food… This is alright but you have to make sure that there is a variety.

We are talking about items in different colours, different sizes, and different price points.

You are likely to sell more items when you have different price points. According to The Finders Keepers, the 3 main categories are:

Bread and Butter Items 

These are the items that are very attractive to customers because they have the lowest prices; they could buy them without guilt. It has a high turnover but the least profit margin.

Mid-range Items 

They are more special than your bread and butter items but they are still quite affordable. The majority of your profit will usually be generated by the items in this category.

Highlight Pieces

These products are higher priced but for a reason: they are the stunners in your stocks. As expected, the sales from this category are lower, however, the profit is definitely higher.

A variety of Product Market Stall Display
 Photos by La Citta Vit and Shankar S

4. Have a multilevel display

An excellent display is crucial to your market stall's success. A lot can be said on this topic but here's one rule you should not forget when setting up your display table: create layers.

Why? Because layers make your table look full. Layers make your products accessible to both the hands and the eyes.

Do not just lay all your products flat on the table. If you present them this way, it would be impossible to attract people from afar. It will also look cluttered and boring. So, stack ‘em up.

This also makes it easier for shoppers to pick them up for closer inspection.

Read more about the Do's and Don'ts of market stall presentation here.

Layering Products for Better View
 Photos by Marim68821 and Arno

5. Consider other payment options

Paying in cash is the most widespread mode of payment at market events. What few market stallholders realize is that they can make more by offering other payment options.

Invest in a POS terminal if you can. Or inform your potential customers that you accept payments through PayPal.

This is especially useful if you are selling expensive items. You might just be surprised at how much more people are willing to spend if they can use their credit cards.

Cash and Card Payment Method
Photos by ecologycenter.org and Bundnis90

6. Your brand matters

It's always easier for people to trust an establishment with a name. After all, they are shelling out cash and they want some form of guarantee in case the product is unsatisfactory.

Also, having a (memorable and trustworthy) brand name allows people to remember you.

They may not purchase anything from you today, but you never know if next week they're going to need those organic doggie beds that you are selling.

7. Be your own endorser

You are the best model for your products. If you are selling something that can be worn, wear it… flaunt it.

Selling food? Don't just hand out samples - gobble up a bit too.

Skin care products? Slather some of your own skin to entice a potential customer.

This strategy shows people that you have confidence in your own product.

In lieu of this, please know your product very well. Inside and out. So when it's time to deliver the facts or answer questions, you don't fumble and mumble with it.

Be Your Own Product Endorser
Photos by Garry J. Wood and Paul Wilkinson 

8. Extra little something

As we highlighted in our guide - The Market Stall Holder's Guide to Drawing Customers In - freebies can go a long way in making your customers feel that they got their money's worth.

This is also a good alternative to dropping your prices really low (which can make you good seem like a cheap bargain) just to get attention.

9. Be warm and friendly

A good attitude can go a long way in sales. Be courteous to everyone who comes to your stall. Who knows? You might be talking to someone who can feature your products on their blog, or you might even gain a new business partner.

You may not be gifted with words (though it can be learned here: The Art of Sales Talk ) but you sure can smile and be helpful.

Good Relationship with Customers
Photos by Phil Whitehouse and bermondsey Square

10. Don't be too pushy

You'd want your shoppers to feel comfortable exploring your market stall, right?

Therefore, let them take their time browsing through your displayed items without feeling pressurised into buying.

Don't watch your customers like a hawk!

The fact is markets are not just about sales. You can also advertise your business and products to get your name out there.

Also, the feedback you get from the customers will help you learn what works and what doesn't work for your customers. Appreciate positive criticism.

Although some of your stall visitors won't make a purchase, get their email address for retargeting.

The marketplace is the oldest social network in the world. Get creative and make the most use of it.

11. Have more than enough

If your budget allows it, stock up on more items than you know you can sell. Some market days can be surprisingly good and you don't want to end up with an empty stall in the middle of the day.

Having more than enough stock can also help you create a display that exudes a sense of abundance.

The More Display The More You Earn
Photos by Cory Doctorow and anne arnould

12. Keep selling even after the market day is over

Following up is often overlooked by plenty of market stall holders. Don't miss this great opportunity to build a following.

To get you started, ask for your customers' email addresses so you can send them updates about new products, re-stocks, and your next market event appearance.

You can also open social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram where you can post pictures of your new wares, which can help build anticipation for when you start selling again.

Reaching Out To Social Media
 Photos by kaboompics.com

13. Be realistic 

You'll find this tip useful if you plan to hold market stall sales regularly. And holding a regular market stall is no walk in the park. It requires plenty of guts.

Firstly, you will need to source for your items and figure out how to get these items at the best price possible. Next, you'll have to pack them into your vehicle in readiness for transportation.

On the market day, you'll need to wake up early to set up shop (and sometimes it will be raining).

And remember the market is full of competition. Chances are there are others selling the same products as you - yet you need to make a decent profit margin.

If you are realistic and keen enough, within a short period you will start to understand your products, customers, and strengths better. Eventually, you'll be able to operate your stall like clockwork.

Then you'll realize that all the worries you had when starting out have been replaced with newed confidence. 

Over to you

Implement these handy tips if you want to experience tremendous market stall success. And the best-kept secret is that when you use an OZtrail gazebo you will be a step ahead of your competitors.

Choose from the wide variety of gazebo colour, size, and functionality available and enjoy unmatched shade for your market stall.

 

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Originally published: January 2018

Updated October 2018: Added 3 more tips: the early bird gets the worm, be realistic, and don't be too pushy.