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7 Secrets to More Profits at a Farmer’s Market or Event

Abby Slutsky has been vending at farmer's markets and other events for approximately 8 years. These are tips that can increase profits.

Farmer’s markets, church bazaars, and other special events are an ideal way to sell products as a full-time business or side hustle. Nevertheless, your sales, in large part, may be affected by the steps you take to sell your product.

Produce is neatly displayed and easily visible in these baskets.

Produce is neatly displayed and easily visible in these baskets.

1. Increase Sales by Displaying Your Product Attractively

Eye appeal is an important part of selling your product. Make it easy for your potential customers to see your product and know what you are vending. I go to one event where there is a vendor who has his products in deep bins. Additionally, he does not have a tablecloth or any signage indicating what he is selling. His booth was never really busy, and I think it was because it was impossible to tell what he was selling. Thus, there was no reason to go up to his table unless you were looking to kill time and were curious.

If you are not naturally creative, spend a few minutes looking at displays on the Internet. In the alternative, if you have time, walk around an event to look at how merchandise is displayed at tables that seem busy. You do not need to buy anything expensive to make an eye-catching display.

In the case of the vendor I observed, he could have used a rack to display his wares that made them visible to those a reasonable distance from the table. At the very least, the outside of the bins could have been labeled. A tablecloth or runner with his company name and product may have enhanced the visibility of his product too. If he wore a t-shirt with the company name with a picture of what he was selling, that may have also helped boost interest in his product.

Remember, visibility is important to sales. Think boxes with clear windows or pictures of your product on the package exterior.

Expensive Ideas That Increase Visibility

Some vendors bring trucks with their company name and products to events. Others use expensive tents that may have the name of their company and the product they are selling on the tent. If you are not in a position to enhance your visibility, the ideas at the beginning of this section are sufficient to let the customer know what you are selling.

Summary of Cheap Ways to Increase Product Visibility

PackagingVendor UniformTable Decor

Clear bag or box with window

Shirt with company name or picture of product

Tablecloth and/or runner with company name

Picture of product on packaging exterior

Rack or display unit that makes products easy to see

Labeled containers

2. Use Events to Network With Other Vendors

Other vendors may buy your product if you introduce yourself and soft-sell your item. Additionally, most vendors seem to have their favorite events that they do year after year. Ask the vendors you talk with which shows they like. As long as your product does not compete directly with theirs, they will usually be happy to share event titles and contact information. A casual conversation can make it possible for you to make hundreds of dollars by following these leads.

3. Chat With Your Customers

Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn when it comes to your product. Some vendors just sit behind a table and hope for sales. Others actively engage customers. Many people may find it hard to say ‘no’ even if they do not think they are interested. If your product is good enough, you may just get a sale.

Many vendors assume that a customer at an event is typically a one-and-done sale until the following year. More often than not, this is true. Nevertheless, some of your customers have stores or companies where they may be able to use your product beyond their own personal needs, but you may have to suggest it.

Another idea is to consider giving your customers a referral card. If they refer a customer that buys a specified dollar amount, give the referring customer a discount or free item.

Whether you wear street clothes or company clothing, look professional and groomed. A little picture of your wares helps let customers know what you are selling.

Whether you wear street clothes or company clothing, look professional and groomed. A little picture of your wares helps let customers know what you are selling.

4. Dress and Look Professional

Make sure you are well groomed when vending. People want to feel that they are purchasing from a clean establishment. Wear a company shirt or hat. You can also wear regular street clothes, but avoid wearing anything that looks sloppy. Yes, this one may sound obvious, but I have seen people vending that may be losing sales because of their appearance.

5. Collect Email Addresses

Emails can be a terrific, low-cost source of marketing so your customers do not forget you. Just remember not to aggravate your customers by marketing too frequently. Also, make sure your customers have a way to unsubscribe from your marketing efforts. If you email, be careful not to annoy customers by emailing too frequently, so limit your emails. I recommend emailing a few weeks before your busiest times when customers are likely to be the most interested.

6. Use Marketing Materials to Increase Sales

Have business cards and/or brochures available at your table. Although a customer may not buy right away, they may eventually convert into a sale. I admit that the percentage that convert is low, but the ones that do convert frequently become repeat customers for years. If you can offer free shipping or delivery, that can help sales too.

Debit, credit or Venmo can boost sales.

Debit, credit or Venmo can boost sales.

7. Take Venmo and Credit Cards

Many people, especially younger adults, do not carry a lot of cash. You can maximize your sales by offering Venmo and credit card sales. Some vendors actually have signs indicating the payment types they accept. If given a choice for payment, do not be afraid to choose the payment that costs you the least in fees.

Of course, a good product is key to having a lot of sales. Nevertheless, these tips can help boost your profits. Happy selling.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Abby Slutsky