Successful Farmers Market Tips Part 2: Designing and Setting Up Your Stand
Hopefully, you’ve put some thought into joining a farmers market, and by now maybe you’ve even looked into joining your local market or have reached out to some market managers. But what comes next? It is now time to design and set up your stand. The stand is perhaps the most important part of the farmers-market experience. It grabs people’s attention, draws them in and hopefully generates sales in and of itself. It is important to not only have a stand that looks nice, but also one that is laid out and functions properly. In this blog we’ll go over how you can create a stand that attracts customers and is actually a tool for gaining sales.
The functionality of your stand plays a role in your ability to turn over steady sales and keep a constant flow of customers. Nobody wants to shop in a stand that is crowded and has no flow of traffic, and if a customer has a chaotic experience shopping with you, they’ll be less likely to come back. Keeping the floor space open within a stand can help customers to move where they want, and many vendors have found that setting up tables in a U shape, especially on a busy day, can promote a uniform flow of customer traffic. If you place a cash register at one end and discreetly encourage the customers to start their shopping at the other end, you can cut down on crowding and keep customers organized within the stand.
Of course not every stand will have the room for a U-shaped set up, but there’s no need to worry. Vendors all over the country have found plenty of success using tables set in a straight line. This layout gives you the option of helping customers from behind the table or using a cash apron and standing in front of the tables. The straight-lined tables also make it easy to restock any products from behind the tables without interfering with the customers’ ability to interact with the stand.
Now it’s time to talk about the products and produce that you’re going to sell. Setting up the products properly promotes both the function of your stand and its aesthetic value. The easiest way to attract people is to display the abundance of your harvest. Think of the still lifes that you’ve come across. Rarely do you see a fruit bowl with just a few pieces of fruit or a cornucopia with a few grapes trickling out. Instead, the bowls are overflowing with fruit; some of it might even have spilled onto the table that the bowl sits upon. This is how you want customers to view your produce, and using baskets are the perfect way to do this. Wicker baskets have visual appeal, and enable you to use straw or packing paper to make them look like they’re overflowing.
Besides baskets, three-dimensional displays may also be beneficial. These displays utilize depth to maximize space and create abundance. They are also the perfect way to show off products that look or are packaged similarly, but may come in different sizes, price points, scents or flavors. When using a three-dimensional display, realize that most customers can only reach about two to three feet before they become uncomfortable. Due to this, the product shouldn’t be located at the back of the table, and you have to always push the remaining product forward after a sale has been made.
If you want a three-dimensional display that also uses baskets, a tiered display is a great way to go. Setting up baskets on an angle in a tiered display allows you to utilize depth and maximize the amount of product that the customer is able to see. This provides customers with a sense of abundance from both the overflowing baskets and the three-dimensional arrangement of tiers. Also, it is important to note that the “sweet spot” for product positioning is between hip and eye level, so make sure your product is displayed with this in mind.
Once your stand is laid out and the product is displayed, label everything, including prices. Customers feel uncomfortable when they need to ask how much something is. By displaying the information up front, customers can buy what is affordable to them without having to feel cheap or embarrassed. Many customers at farmers markets want the freshest, finest and highest-quality product, and knowing plenty of information can make all the difference in converting sales. Knowledge of a particular product can boost its quality in the eyes of the customer, and as the desire for local produce grows in the culinary world, information becomes increasingly important. Chefs and foodies love to explain and discuss their dishes and the ingredients used, so they will love the fact that you’re giving them extra, unsolicited information. Creating informational brochures or flyers, as well as interesting recipes allow you to show off your knowledge, passion and expertise, which can help you to further develop a niche market.
Before we finish up this blog, here are few last minute tips for you to consider:
- Practice setting up your stand prior to your first market. You’ll want to address any troubleshooting beforehand.
- Pay attention to the details. Even the smallest set-up issue can reduce sales.
- Be conscious of the colors of products you are selling. Colorful produce or packaging can be appealing and draw customers in, so arrange colors, shapes and textures to make your stand most appealing.
- Bring a box with scissors, markers and tape incase emergency repairs or signs are needed.
Now that you know how to set up your stand to maximize your success, next week we’ll talk about what you can do on market day to gain sales and long-term customers.