Are you a vendor looking to sell your products at a festival? Whether you're a seasoned seller or trying to get started, having a successful experience at a market requires careful planning and execution. We’ve participated in hundreds of festivals, here are the top 5 things we’ve seen work to help you make the most of your selling experience as a vendor at an event.
1. Choose the Right Market: Not all events are created equal, so it's important to do your research and choose the right market for your products. Consider the location (median income), target audience, and reputation/attendance of the event. Understanding the demographics and preferences of the market's visitors can help you tailor your products and marketing strategy to better appeal to potential customers. Top events are often in high demand and require early applications and higher booth fees. A farmers market with a few hundred attendees can cost $50, but a festival with a few thousand attendees can cost $500+. If you’re prepared with inventory, a proven product, a proven sales method and are confident in the attendance, this leap can be extremely worth it. Do your due diligence and talk to other vendors who have participated in the event you’re considering.
2. Create an Eye-Catching Display: A visually appealing display can catch the attention of passersby and draw them to your booth. Invest in well-designed and eye-catching signage that showcases your brand and products. Arrange your products in an organized and visually appealing manner, using attractive displays such as shelves, baskets, or stands. Make sure your booth is clean, well-lit, and inviting. A corner booth is always a great upgrade if given the option, it’s usually double the customer facing frontage often for a marginal price and can often result in a 50%+ increase in sales. Consider using props, free samples, and demonstrations to engage potential customers and make your booth stand out to passersby. The other key is to make it easy for customers to understand the concept of your product as they walk by. Remember, not everyone is going to feel comfortable walking right up to your booth or want to ask questions about your product. It’s important that your signage gives a clear idea as to what you are selling in order to intrigue buyers.
3. Engage with Customers: Building a connection with your customers is crucial to successful selling. Greet every customer with a smile, offer a friendly hello, and be approachable. Be knowledgeable about your products and be ready to answer any questions or provide recommendations. Offer samples or demonstrations to allow customers to experience your products. Invite every single customer over for a free sample, even if you don’t think they’ll be interested, you might be surprised at how this friendly invitation leads to a conversation that leads to sale (or attracts other customers to your booth because they see you talking with someone) Listen to customer feedback and respond to their needs. Building a rapport with customers can lead to repeat sales and positive word-of-mouth marketing. Vendors who are sitting in the back of the booth or looking down at their phones will appear unapproachable to customers and make far fewer sales.
4. Be Yourself: Attendees come to meet YOU. Let people into your business and into your life. Tell your story, be transparent, and be honest. Give people an understanding of who you are and why you do what you do. People come to festivals and markets because they want to be in touch with where their products are coming from and who’s making them. Let customers get to know you so not only will they support you and your business…they’ll become a FAN, sharing all about your products with their friends and family.
5. Market Your Presence: Simply setting up a booth at a market may not be enough to reach your full potential. Market your presence before, during, and after the market to generate interest and boost sales. You want people showing up to buy from YOU. Sure, they’ll likely buy from many other vendors, but the best customer is one that attends to seek out your booth first and THEN continues on to the rest of the event. Use social media, email marketing, and word-of-mouth to create buzz about your participation in the event. Share sneak peeks of your products, offer exclusive promotions, and invite customers to visit your booth. Consider offering an incentive, such as a free gift or a discount, to customers who mention your social media post or bring a friend to your booth. After the market, follow up with customers (hopefully you implemented a way to collect their contact information) and keep them updated about your future events or promotions.
Selling at festivals is a ton of fun and is a great way to make high volume sales, but requires careful planning (have lots of inventory ready!), engaging with customers (challenging in the tired last couple hours of the day, but worth it!), and effective marketing (tag the event you’re participating in and they’ll likely share it!). Do you have additional methods that have helped you succeed in selling at events? Post them in the comments below!
Have something delicious to share with the world? We hope you consider applying to the DMV Chocolate and Coffee Festival! Vendor success is of utmost importance to us because we used to be vendors ourselves and understand that your success is what makes the event a success. We understand the value in deploying significant financial resources to advertise our events across a multitude of platforms to PACK THE HOUSE with amazing attendees! Interested in joining us? Check out our Spring Pop Up and our Fall Festival exhibitor details or just shoot us a text at 571.307.5232!