Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Provendor First Look

Provendor First Look

First Look – August 2012

Welcome to First Look, a sneak peek at empowering business information and insights, for Provendor members only.


Merchandising Your Booth

Watch this audiovisual PROVENDOR mediacast as Sumner Communications associate editor, Jes Zurell, delivers a photographic audio track full of the latest insider advice, tips and tricks about merchandising your booth to leverage sales.

Meet Flea Market Aficionado and Author Maureen Stanton

Author Maureen Stanton

Author Maureen Stanton

Killer Stuff and Tons of Money: An Insider’s Look at the World of Flea Markets, Antiques and Collecting, now available in paperback, offers a lively, in-depth look at the world of flea markets. Award-winning nonfiction writer, Maureen Stanton, lives in Massachusetts and has been a flea market enthusiast all her life. Stanton teaches literary journalism and creative non-fiction writing at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. She recently spoke with Sumner Communications editor, Gloria Mellinger, on the state of the flea market industry.

Editor: “Are there more or less Markets today than when you began doing your research for this book in 2005?”

Stanton: “There are more and more flea markets. People who are selling things at the lower end are doing really well. At Brimfield, you have a real mixture of low-end liquidation items and gated juried shows for antiques dealers. In 2000, there was one TV show on antiques. Now, there are 45. Some-thing in the past few years following the economic recession brought this subculture to the forefront. It’s about finding good, cheap stuff, the fun of it and making money.”

Editor: “About how many flea markets are there across the U.S.?”

Stanton: “The National Flea Market Association says there are 1,100 flea markets. Other sources say 4,000. I think because it’s an unregulated, shadow economy and these are ad hoc markets, no one can put a number on it. The way that I’m judging is by the number of ads, the trade papers, the shows cropping up, publications coming out and seeing markets taking off that didn’t exist three years ago. Piecing together that evidence and from my experience looking around I can see there is a real interest in flea markets.”

Editor: “What are the trends in products flea market vendors are selling?”

Stanton: “What people are buying changes year to year and vendors have to shift with the market. There is a huge surge in collecting 80s toys and a huge rise in the demand for early comic books. People are importing a lot of merchandise from Mexico, Guatemala and Africa. I saw a whole booth of shea butter from Africa. You still see a lot of clothing and scarves. We’re seeing a lot of reproduction antiques, too. Several U.S. companies buy the antiques people want—like French wrought iron garden type antiques—and they’ll have them reproduced in China. They are bringing in giant barge bins of these on a daily basis and they go for a 10th of the price of the real thing. This has become huge.”

Editor: “Are there any Market trends you’ve observed?”

“One new thing is younger people. The crowd is really different and it’s very exciting. I’ve met many new dealers in their twenties because it’s $10 for a table at Montuori. There are no rules and no corporate cubicles, and people can be creative. It’s also about ‘Going Green.’ The younger generation is about being Earth friendly, environmental conditions and treating labor correctly. People can be successful if they have an interest in buying or trading, and if they have a passion for it.”

6 Merchandising Tips to Maximize Your Sales

6 merchandising tipsAn eye-catching, organized display of quality merchandise at your booth will get attention, and attention is the first step toward sales. Merchandising is important year-round, but it is especially crucial near the holidays, when consumers are ready to buy. Drawing attention to your booth through product placement, displays, sights and smells, and advertising will get your message out there and increase your holiday sales.

Here are six tips for effective merchandising to get the most out of this holiday season:

1. Make Your Booth Stand Out
If customers don’t stop at your booth, it’s impossible for you to sell them anything. The key is getting their attention and encouraging them to take a look around. To draw consumers your way, put your best selling products at eye level, in the front of your booth, and advertise a price point that’s hard to resist. People will love the item as well as the price, and they will want to see the rest of your merchandise.

2. Think Like a Customer
To really understand how your booth looks to consumers, you need to be in their position. Get on the other side of the table and look at your displays from the buyer’s point of view. Straighten out the clutter, organize by category, and make sure signage and labels are attached and visible. Ask yourself if you would want to stop and shop at your booth.

3. Engage the Senses
Another way to grab shoppers’ attention is with unique sights and smells. Draw attention to your area with rope lights, stringing them along the top of your booth or along the edge of a table. Rope lights are available in a variety of colors and can twinkle, flash and chase, in addition to being static. Change the color of your lights to reflect the holiday or season. Red is a nice choice for Christmas, blue is cool in winter and white is attractive year round. Play music, if your market allows it. In addition, vendors can engage potential consumers with tasty treats. Provide free apple cider, popcorn or roasted nuts to entice visitors to stop by. If there is enough foot traffic at the flea market, refreshments pay for themselves several times over with increased sales.

4. Get The Message Out
Most flea market visitors walk among the aisles, without looking for a particular vendor, simply browsing to find a good deal. Many may be looking for a particular type of product, but the vast majority do not have a specific booth in mind. This is where merchandising comes in. A well-positioned helper (a friend or relative) can hand out flyers in the parking lot or near the market entrance, inviting visitors to seek out a particular booth and offering coupons or other deals. Vendors can run advertisements in local newspapers, or ask the organizer of the flea market if they can put a banner or other advertisement on the market website.

5. Stock Holiday Items
Even if they are products you don’t normally sell, stock up on gifts that will attract holiday shoppers. Customers are often more impulsive near the holidays than they are in, say, June. If a consumer sees something cute that would go well in their Christmas display, there’s a pretty good chance he or she will make the purchase. Simple decorations, such as miniature trees and ornaments, fly off the shelves in November and December. In addition, offering gift wrapping or festive boxes can increase loyalty and give shoppers the satisfaction that they made a great purchase decision.

6. Stay Friendly
As always, be engaging, active and personable. Many customers buy local to support and be connected with their community, and the best way to grow that loyalty is by being friendly and helpful, and giving customers the knowledgeable guidance that they don’t get at chain stores.

Merchandising is a crucial function for flea market vendors. Getting the message out, attracting potential customers with appealing displays and refreshments, and offering deals and discounts are just a few of the ways you can improve the customer experience, build loyalty and increase sales.

Provendor - - Sumner Communications, Inc.