In these days of Covid-19, every retailer is being forced to look at lowering costs and boosting revenue just to survive. Perhaps selling at markets, whether outdoor or indoor, is something you may not have thought about in the past, but now it’s something every business should consider. Here are just a few reasons it may be a great strategy for you, allowing you to innovate and thrive in challenging times.
As shopping habits change, and more people are looking online for their purchases, the high fixed cost of high-street premises becomes harder to justify. In many city and town centers, fewer people are passing by, and fewer still are committed to spending their cash with local retailers.
The cost of renting a space in a market, however, is much lower than that of renting a typical commercial premise. If a market is only held weekly, clearly, you’ll only be renting for one day. This will allow you to rent space at several other venues. If it’s open daily, you have the opportunity to establish a highly visible presence.
There are also other ways in which costs are reduced. For instance, utilities such as water and electricity will be included in the rental cost.
Limited space will force you to carry a limited stock of your products. As you become leaner, you’ll place more focus on the items you know will sell well and generate profit.
With one fixed location, potential customers have to make the effort to locate you. When you’re traveling to different markets, though, your business becomes easier to reach for a greater number of people. You can expand the area you cover without incurring the cost of setting up a second or third branch. And, the risk is much lower–if, after you’ve given it your best shot, a particular market doesn’t seem to attract your target customers, simply move to another one. There’s no long-term lease to break. Unlike open storage franchise locations, for example, where your locations can be easily varied.
Easy To Set Up
As a retailer, you want to spend your time selling, not wrestling to assemble a heavy market stall. It’s understandable if that idea has put you off in the past. So, to save you time, invest in a good-quality, lightweight, pop-up structure that can be put up and taken down by one or two people in a matter of minutes. Fortunately, there are lots of marquees to choose from. Also, they have another great advantage, too. For instance, you can print your branding messages on the roof and walls, making your stall look bright and eye-catching. Be bold and innovative with your design! You may even choose to have different designs for different locations or seasons as they’ll be easily interchangeable.
Each market you attend will attract a slightly different crowd, depending on the location and, to a greater extent, what the other stallholders are selling. Whatever the product or service you’re offering, it will be easy to stock your stall with products that will appeal to each particular demographic. And, because your display space will be limited, you can choose to change your selection each time you set it up. This way, your regulars never get bored and you’ll always have different choices for your customers.
Engage Directly With Your Clients
There’s always something more informal about the atmosphere at a market. Perhaps it’s that there’s no shopfront separating you from passers-by, and there’s no threshold that they need to cross. Contact between stallholders and customers is always more direct–people feel free to stop, browse, and ask questions. If you don’t have what they want to buy, they’ll move on, but you’ll have had the chance to engage and make a great first business impression. Sell yourself first, and your products will sell later. Food and drink retailers often use free samples to make that first connection, and product demonstrations are also a powerful way to draw the crowds.
Markets are located where they’re located for a reason. They’re generally easily accessible and can attract large numbers of shoppers. Indoor markets have the advantage of providing shelter from the weather so people won’t be put off by the rain or extreme heat. Outdoor markets allow customers to enjoy browsing in the open air, especially in these days of social distancing, it’s important to avoid being in crowded indoor spaces.
Connect With Your Community
If you’re going to step into the market arena, look for local community events where you could also set up your branded marquee. Sports days, local fairs, fun runs are all guaranteed to attract spectators and provide you with an opportunity to meet new clients. If you set up your stall at a school sports day, for example, by providing some sponsorship, you strengthen your links within the area and cement a reputation as a business that cares about local people.
Marketing Beyond The Market
Once you’ve selected the locations where you’ll be setting up your stall, make the most of every opportunity to market your business. If you’re present at different ones, it will almost be like having several branches, so your opportunities to promote the business are multiplied.
To create drama, use visually-arresting printed messages on the roof and walls of your stall. These days when the printing technology is so advanced, your stall can display virtually any image–photos, logos, contact details–so make the most of it.
Brochures and flyers can create interest for those passing by at close range and, when taken away, customers may still contact you at a later time.
Freedom To Innovate
From your low-cost base, you can consider expanding your range of revenue-generating services depending on your type of business, such as a delivery service, event planning, free estimates. You’ll have the freedom and flexibility to innovate.
We hope this brief overview of the advantages of selling at markets has sparked some ideas about the exciting opportunities this approach presents.