Given that many markets are seriously suffering a decline these days it would be great to bring them back. So if you are considering setting up a business as a market stall trader, what sort of tips can we offer you?
1. Business versus hobby
What do you want to run a market stall for? Is it for a business or is it just to get you out of the house once or twice a week and to earn yourself some pin money? This is the first thing you need to consider. It’s cold out there all day and you’re on your feet, so can you handle it? You will need to evenly distribute your product profits because you may have quieter times (after Christmas for example) when you make less money.
2. Consider your outgoings
You need to factor in your outgoing expenses before you can even think about turning up on the day for your first day of business. The expenses associated with running a market stall will affect your prices. People usually expect to pay very low prices on market stalls these days so you can’t push your prices up too high.
Take into consideration the cost of the items you are selling, your petrol and parking, the cost of your pitch, the cost of your gazebo if you have to supply your own, your time, packaging, and any other miscellaneous expenses.3. Do your research
Can you really sell what you hope to sell on a market? Can you sell it at the price that people want to pay? Can you sell it at the quantity that you need to in order to make sufficient profit? Is anybody else in competition with you? Are you actually any good at selling? Can you stand and chat to people and the other market traders or are you anti-social? How will you market your products? Will customers come back to you for repeat purchases? Should you stay local or would you benefit from trying to get a pitch at a larger market further afield or in another town?
Do you own a large enough vehicle to transport items? How much will your market stall cost you?
Remember that you will need documentation, including:
• Product & Liability insurance:
• Combined Market Insurance Traders
• General insurance for lost and stolen goods.
• Depending on your type of business you may need hygiene and food certification
5. Check out the experts
You can get expert advice from www.ncass.org.uk. Visit lots of markets and get a feel for what’s happening. Speak to your local council.
6. Check out the footfall.
Some markets are dying on their feet. What sort of advertising is there? Are there any initiatives to get the market up and running again?
7. The repeat purchase
In an ideal world you want to have a stall that people talk about and that people seek out every week when they come into town. You therefore need to sell a product that people want and need. Keep them coming back. Provide incentives – rewards and loyalty bonuses.8. Have a range of price points
You should have three price points. The first one is your ‘bread and butter’ items. This is a low price that draws people in. You will probably have a high turnover on these products but generate less profit margin.
In your mid-range price point you will have items that are special yet affordable and have an even margin. This will mean more profit for you and hopefully make up the bulk of what you sell.
Finally you will have your top end or products with the ‘wow’ factor. These are things that many people want but not everyone can afford. They will generate fewer sales at a higher profit, but have the advantage of drawing people in.
9. Become part of the community
There is a market culture. This can be difficult to break into at first so you may need to keep plugging away at it. Let’s face it, people come and go and stalls do too. The thing is that when you do manage to ingratiate yourself you will benefit from the community that you are a part of. You’ll be able to get advice and tips from your neighbours. Get to know your fellow stall holders.
10. Utilise social media
It may just be a market stall but you can still get on Facebook and Twitter and build your brand that way. Offer special promotions through social media and see whether that helps people to flock in. Do ‘2 for the price of 1’ promotions or goodie bags. Find ways to seem attractive to your customers, price wise.11. Look after your stand
Your market stall is going to say a lot about you. It should be eye-catching, have a sign with your business name on it, and be neat and tidy. It is your shop front so treat it the same way. Remember people buy with their eyes.
You really want your market stall to look inviting and draw people to it. Balance your display so that some of it is around eye level, some below and some above. If you have a table balance your products with a combination of height displays. You should be able to see things even when you are standing 6 ft. away.
Don’t over accessorise or make it too cluttered. Items should be clearly visible. Keep just enough product out. Store the rest if you can.
Change the display week on week. People ignore things that they see over and over again.
12. Be customer friendly
Offer a number of payment options if you can. If you can’t it doesn’t matter. People expect to pay cash at a market stall but remember increasingly people carry less cash with them and you might benefit from a handheld card machine.
Be approachable and always have the best attitude. Greet your customers with a smile and a breezy hello. Aim to make your customers’ lives easier and happier. They’ll remember you for it. If you don’t – they’ll remember that too. Be respectful, courteous and grateful and remember that customers will spread the word.13. Be beautiful
Many market stalls look the same today as they did 30 or 40 years ago. But once upon a time, market stalls were attractive. Bring back the beauty. Make an effort to make your stall look attractive so that people can’t pass it by. They need to look. Once you have entranced them you may find it easier to sell to them. They certainly won’t forget you.
Use backdrops to build your brand. Use lines to hang things from. Make your stall look NOW not 1980s.
Try and draw people into the stall so that they will look around. You can put popular items at the entrance and leave the scarier more expenses items at the back of the tent/gazebo/stall.14. Don’t be part of the backdrop.
Use unusual props and items to make your goodies stand out. Think
• vintage coat racks
• fruit crates
So what do you think? How can we revitalise our market places? What tips would you give to those just starting up? Is it a business you recommend? Let me know in the comments section below or come and chat to us at Facebook here.