Setting up a stall can be difficult! What goes where? Do I have enough stock? Have I remembered everything? Is it easy to walk around? Does it look good? These are all questions I constantly ask myself. Here are some easy tips you can use when setting up your own stall, wether you’ve been doing it for years, or you’re just starting out, these hints are sure to give you some ideas to help you along the way!
1: Stock rotation
When supermarkets sell food, the expiry dates that are closest go at the front of the shelves, this makes sure that they sell before they go off. This is pretty much exactly the same for your stall. If a customer is a regular one, they’ll recognise things that have been “hanging around” your table for the last couple of events. Throughout the day, I rotate my stock. Moving a few items from one table to another doesn’t seem like it would make any difference; but doing this helps you figure out the perfect selling place for an item. For example, putting small items on the floor by a table will mean you’ll most likely be taking them home at the end of the day. But, put them in a place thats eye level, their much more likely to sell. I stock mostly clothes, and have found that hanging items up to make an outfit makes it easier for customers to imagine how they could be worn (e.g., a jumper and dungarees) . By using the “stock” rotation method, when you bring new stock to your stall, move it throughout the day; this prevents it from becoming “old”and when the customer walks past your stall or comes in, (more than once while walking around other stalls) your shop appears new each time. Doing this also keeps you busy during quieter periods… which brings me to point 2.
2: Never, ever, ever, sit down!
Don’t sit down during a customer’s browsing time. Sitting down makes you look unapproachable, bored, and makes it very clear to any potential buyers that you’ve been so quiet for so long you’ve kind of given up trying. Even if this isn’t the case, thats really what it looks like. This formula is the same, for a few other things I’ll mention now; no mobile phones, don’t spend too long talking to other stall holders (lovely though they are), spending a long time speaking to one customer ( while another is waiting). These are all things that come with practice. It’s important to connect and “engage” with other stall holders. It creates a friendly, team, happy atmosphere, eases everyones anxieties about the day ahead, and, who doesn’t love a good old chin wag? But if you’re chatting, you’ll miss sales, and you’ll miss the opportunity to get to know your potential customers.
3: Enjoy the trip…
Don’t leave things hanging around that don’t need to be there. This one seems so simple but time after time I’ve found myself moving things out of the way half way through a shop is too embarrassing to admit to! Boxes, bubble wrap, string and other unnecessary items should be kept under the tables away from public eye. Your stall is there for you to show case your best products, why waste space with trip hazards and boring items? Obviously if you’re running a bone china stall, bubble wrap isn’t unnecessary, but ask yourself, does it really need to be on the table? Leaving anything on the floor, wires (should always be taped down), paper (makes your stall look messy), you get the idea.
4: “if you think beautiful thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely” - R.D
Nobody loves anybody more than someone who is happy and interested in what you have to say, this isn’t anything new. Think of the people you enjoy spending time with, and be that person! Customers love having a chit chat and telling you who their buying for etc. Engage, engage, engage!
5: Yes. No. Yes. bye.
When a customer enters your shop space, smile and make eye contact with them! Finding a balance between pestering them and entertaining them is sometimes difficult, but will come with practice! Asking questions like “Are you looking for something particular?” Will mostly generate a quick one word answer, usually “no,” or “just browsing” and then they leave. Instead, try saying “if you need anything, just give me a shout!” Their more likely to ask questions if you leave them with an option of responding to you, or not. I’ve tried this theory and find it works the vast majority of the time. If you’re happy, approachable and chat to them when they want to chat, you;
A- don’t annoy them
B - Are easier for the customer to communicate with
C- They don’t feel pressured to communicate if they don’t want to. Which is fine!
Asking questions like “is this dress for you?” When they pick up an item, allows you to open a line of conversation without it feeling forced, “shop assistant like” or desperate. Next time you go to a stall, shop or supermarket, watch how the staff converse and communicate with customers; and repeat the ones that get a good response/sale.
6: Ch-ch-ch-ch Changes
Another thing I’ve come to learn from setting up so many stall and pop up spaces, is this; you can, quite literally, never have enough change! Anything that makes it harder or takes longer for the buyer to purchase an item from you, gives them another reason not too! e.g., you don’t take card, don’t have enough change from a £20, etc. Things like this, although small details, make huge changes in your customers satisfaction, thus, possibly stopping you from selling to them again (worst case scenario).
Realism time, not everyone can afford to have a card machine (me included) the way I get around this is to make sure
A: I set up shop right near an ATM machine
B: I state days in advance I don’t accept card
These are realistically your only options if you are without a card machine.
If someone is making a large purchase and didn’t get the “cash only” memo, I say something like “theres an ATM (directions) thats very close! I’ll have this wrapped up for you when you get back if you like ?” This makes the customer not feel rushed, and gives them time to go get cash without feeling like its an inconvenience to you, and them. (multi tasking!)
7: Listen and repeat
I mentioned this briefly in point 5, but cannot express enough how important this formula for upping your customers satisfaction after buying from you.
When you’re visiting someones stall, shop, or even cafe, notice the things they do that you like; things that make you want to come again, or not! My biggest hates as a customer;
A: no acknowledgement from staff/ stall holders when approaching the stall. I’m not saying I want them to run and hug me like on one of those old films when the women chase the train waving a white hankie…. I just want a little recognition that they know I’m there. Its polite! A smile, nod, or even a “i wont be a second” or “hello!” Makes all the difference.
B: people not saying goodbye as you leave their store, especially if its a small business/building. (Obviously I’m not stood by the door of Asda waiting for the manager to wave goodbye) but again, its just good manners! Without the customer, you ultimately wouldn’t have that stall, coffee shop, or pop up store, remember that.
The things that make me personally want to come and visit your stall again is basically the opposite of points I’ve just mentioned. Its quite a simple formula when you look at it. So why do so many people get it wrong ? Ever left a shop feeling as if you were spoken to in quite an abrupt way? Or like YOU were the one in the way whilst waiting to get the bar staffs attention? Use those experiences to ensure your customers don’t walk away from your shop feeling those kind of vibes. You want them to return!
8: Business cards
Branding is so so so important. Let your visitors know when you’ll next be selling, and where! Show them your Facebook page, blog, website, or business card. By doing this you’re inviting them to attend your next event, thus, creating your next audience from your current shop event. If you’re happy and ready to chat to them, they’ll be the same to you. It’s imperative you enjoy your stall, it shows. Loyalty cards are also a good idea. I keep all my customers names in a book I carry with me at each event I run, this way I remember everyones names, dress size, their past purchases etc. I even shop for a few customers and frequently purchase the odd item thinking of one or two of them! It’s all about creating a community, where you belong, and so do the customers. Many of the first to attend my pop up’s have become loyal buyers and friends.
Once you’ve made a sale, the last thing you want to be doing is saying “no, I don’t have a bag, sorry!” It looks so unorganised! Make sure you have some bags to hand, obviously these ideally are personalised bags/brown paper for your promotion purposes (but its better to have any bag to hand than no bag!) Interested packaging is a chance for your to put the finishing touches to your product. I love canvas bags, their so reusable and look great too. You can order these in bulk and print them yourself, or order them ( at a higher cost) online pre-printed with your logo. String tied around the parcel is beautiful and eco friendly (hemp string is incredibly cheap to buy!) too.
10: Enjoy your shop!
The last tip is to just enjoy it! You’ve set up your stall, to showcase and sell your amazing products. Share your successes on facebook, your blog, and take lots of photographs, this will be useful for promotion ready for your next event!
Comment below, message me or email photos of your stall for a chance to be featured in my next post <3
Love Alice x