Being a vendor at a festival or market can be super stressful. You're in the hole with fixed costs / fees, you've spent money on display fixtures or essential items for the event that you may only use once, you have to pay staff to be there, and this all happens before your first sale. Scary, we know. We've put together 10 tips from our own experience to help you come out on top.
1. Is this event right for me?
Think numbers, not fit. Would you rather be at an event of 50,000 people, or a more targeted event of 3000 people? If 50% of the people at a 3000 person event are potential customers, that's 1500 potential customers. Pretty awesome right?
But...If only 10% of the people at a 50,000 person event might enjoy your product, that's potentially 5000 customers, which is 3500 more people. That's not including the advertising you get out of it to everyone else in attendance.
2. Let your following or potential customers know you'll be at the event.Bring a vendor at an event doesn't mean guaranteed customers. Treat it as a pop up shop. Customers love picking stuff up in person, even if you offer free shipping on your online store. There's definitely a handful of customers in your existing following that potentially be going already to the event you're a vendor at. Let them know you're there!
If you have a small budget set aside for online marketing. Target a small 5 or 10 mile radius of where the event is for a few bucks. Not only will you get in the good books of the event organizers, you may strike a few additional sales from it online and at the event!
3. Get Help!
These events and festivals are tiring! Trust us if it's you've never done one before. If you're a one person team day to day, we're sure you're probably already having second thoughts. First thing's first, know how much you can handle by yourself to cut your costs down, you don't have to hire people for the entire day.
First reach out to your friends! Who isn't looking for some extra dough?! They probably already know your product and are just as passionate about it as you are because they want to see you succeed!
It's great to have help when you want to take a break, especially help you can trust. You can bounce ideas off of each other, and keep each other motivated. Staying in a good. positive frame of mind during the event could change the way you're sales are in a significant way.
4. Don't expect to make a killing. Treat it as a long term investment.
"We're going to make a fortune!" - In a perfect world, that would be awesome, but don't go into any event expecting that because when sales aren't going as expected, it's going to be very detrimental for future sales. It's going to affect your mood when you talk to customers, you won't be motivated to stay at your booth, and you'll find ways to occupy yourself that won't be welcoming for potential customers who are walking by wondering what you are.
This overall can affect the overall perception of your company outside of the event. If you have an online store, you'll probably have some sales after the event on customers who were debating, so leave a good impression!
5. Make your booth area attractive and adjust for the conditions.Don't just expect people at the event to come check out what you're selling because you're there. Give them a reason to see why you got to be a vendor at the event! There's a lot you can do to invest in your presence. Get a custom table cloth, back drop, pop up banner all with your branding, facts, or mission statement. Think about what would attract you if you're the customer, and act on it!
6. Make your products easily visible and more importantly accessible.We've personally tried a numerous amount of ways how we display our products in the last couple years. The most negative way we've noticed is displaying it INSIDE your tent or vendor area. In most situations, people are scared to walk in because mentally their scared to get swamped by someone trying to sell them something.
The term window shopping is popular for a reason. Take advantage of it. Make your products visible for everyone walking by, even if someone else is looking at the product already. You've got about 100 square feet to display your products for the average vendor. Take advantage of all the height and width by hanging your product through walls or shelves.
7. Create engagement.
Display your products in a way where customers want to ask you about the product, even if it's just size or other colours. This way you can strike up a conversation about something interesting about your company and yourself even. What you tell them may be the deciding factor on the purchase.
8. Plan ahead.Some events, you don't know where your booth may be located. Will you be in the middle? Will you have a corner booth? Will you have a stand alone booth with no other vendors beside you? Take an hour, and draw up different scenarios on how you'll lay out your displays, tables, racks, etc. During this time you'll spark some ideas on how you can maximize your space and you'll be ready when you load in to the event.
9. Stay for the ENTIRE event.
So you're a vendor at a 3 day event and you haven't even broke even on the first day. Don't get discouraged! What went wrong the first day? What can you change about your display? Were more people looking at certain products then others?
Change up your display and adjust the way products are positioned based on the flow or layout that you've noticed of the event. Vendors love to support other vendors, and more then likely they'll wait till the event is near close to make their purchases. They're just like you, they'll probably want to wait until there's a little cash flow to treat themselves.