How to Get Noticed Selling at Farmers Markets

When the average shopper wanders around the farmers market, it would be harder not to find someone selling tomatoes. The same could be said for carrots, lettuce, and other ubiquitous foods. Some vendors may corner the market on specialty produce like kiwano, but most vendors out there simply don’t have the means to stock them. So if everyone has the same produce, how do you convince shoppers to choose you, over your competition?

The answer? Sparklers!!

Ok. So maybe not sparklers. But the premise is the same. You need something to draw the attention of your potential customers. Whether that is by sight, sound, or smell.

Lauren Arcuri provides a great starting point for some specialty value-added products that you can grow on a small farm. This is a great way to stand out from the rest. Stuff can easily catch a consumers eye when it is different than all the others. If you’ve got 6 others selling potatoes, why not try selling fingerling potatoes instead? They are tiny, adorable, and delicious! People may be unfamiliar with them, drawing them in for a closer look.

Samples are also a smart way to entice people. They find out first hand how juicy those tomatoes are or how sweet that local honey is. Its hard to pass up! What’s more, it’s a lot harder to walk over to your competitor and buy the same product when they just tasted it from your stand!

One reason someone may not pick up some of your fresh fruits and veg is they don’t exactly know what they can do with it. “Why do I need this giant thing of ginger?? What could I even cook with that?” Source some great recipes, or come up with your own that allow people to be inspired!

If they see something that looks great, and you can give them a recipe on how to make it, why wouldn’t they buy from you? Even better, allow them to taste it! You could bake a fantastic sugar-free banana bread with that honey. Or mini cupcakes with strawberry rhubarb icing liberally applied to the top. These can be easily prepped ahead of time, and combined with recipes, are quite hard to pass up.

Alternatively, why prep things ahead of time? You can do live cooking demos at your stand. Either yourself, or have a chef join you for the day. Sauté up some fresh asparagus that will allow people to smell from a block away! That combined with the sizzling of the fry pan, and the visual of tossing them in the air are clear ways to draw in a crowd. Hopefully, when they walk away from your booth, they walk away with a recipe, and a handful of asparagus in tow.

All of these can clearly differentiate you from your fellow vendors. Allowing people to get the full experience of what you’re offering and giving yourself a solid competitive advantage.
If all else fails, pick up some sparklers!

BoothBooks creates best-in-class market management software. Easily handleing payments, vendor registration, layouts, reporting, and more. To find out more visit our website, or check us out on social media.

6 Reasons to Visit Your Local Flea Market

You most likely don’t need another reason to visit your local flea market. There’s a whole host of them. We found 6 great reasons of why you should spend each weekend scouring the local swap meet for unique finds.

Community/local

Supporting your local community is one of those feel-good things anyone can do. Spending some time at markets is a great way to fulfill your sense of community, while still looking for great bargains.

Most vendors are your fellow townsfolk. Buying produce or odds and ends from them is going to help them out, as well as supporting the market as a whole.

Deals Galore

Like haggling? You will surely get your fill at the market! Vendors are almost always ready to barter on their wares. Score discounts for quantity, quality, or competing offers. With so much variability in the market, its easier than ever to score some quality discounts.

The Freshest Produce

As Chloe Biggs from Insider Monkey points out, flea markets are a great place to stock up on produce. If you’re interested in the freshest fruits and veggies, grocery stores or specialty stores can cost a pretty penny. Since a lot of vendors happen to grow their own, they are able to offer it at prices below what you’d find at your traditional retailer. Plus, its going to taste so much better!

Rare Finds

Shows like Pawn Stars and Storage Wars have given people the itch to go out and strike gold at pawn shops, garage sales, and storage lockers. Flea markets are a great place to score for rare finds too! Vanessa over at Mint Life put together a handy guide on how to be the ultimate “garage sale millionaire” so check it out to get started!

Meet New Friends

Some people hang out at bars. Others at the local park. Why not the flea market? Its got everything you need. Regulars, who come back week after week. Great food. And always the chance to find some great deals.

Come back to your local market a few times in a row and you could meet some great new friends that makes going to the flea market a much more social event.

Family Time

Markets are a great place to hang out as a family. Compared to tradition options like a movie or theme park, swap meets are super affordable, and have lots to explore. There will be new inventory available each and every week. Its also full of lessons like how to barter and the value of money.

Whatever your reason is, there is no bad one to pay a visit to your local flea market. Go explore, spend some time with your family, and discover the next lost work of great art.

BoothBooks creates best-in-class market management software. Easily handleing payments, vendor registration, layouts, reporting, and more. To find out more visit our website, or check us out on social media.

Market Tip #214: Vendor Loyalty

No matter what their specialty may be, markets are an amazing place. The open venues, the community feel, and the mystery of what may be on those tables can always be counted on to keep customers coming back. But is that the only thing that matters? In the market business, so often we look only at foot traffic in and out of our booths to measure success, when we should also be focusing on another one of our greatest assets—our vendors.

Vendors are truly what makes a market work, and the variety of products they bring is only a small part of it. The craftsmanship and pride that many take when hawking their wares can draw people in from all over the state, especially if they are known by shoppers for their quality. This kind of rapport and familiarity brings in more shoppers than may be apparent, which brings up the question—how do we keep our vendors coming back?

Vendors come (and keep coming back) to those markets which are memorable for treating them well and give them a chance to succeed. Making the markets successful for them is only half the battle—you’ve got to make it fun. Your vendors can join in on events if you include them, and you could even offer discounts for the off season to encourage year- round profits. A membership card at your market for vendors which included showers, RV hook-ups, and other possible amenities can keep your retailers pampered. Often, the competition of markets forces us to forget that vendors can be family that keeps coming back, and with them, their loyal clientele. Something as simple as a loyalty card for returning vendors can help create that extra push for your last available booth, and make retailers look forward to coming back.

Markets thrive when vendors are happy, and BoothBooks can help. With such a variety of people bringing their products in, it can be difficult to make sure everyone has the same opportunity to thrive. By giving vendors an efficient and user-friendly resource to book their booths and see the amenities, pay their rent, and get a feel for the venue, it helps build trust in your market and lets them participate more in the process.

The next time you’re wondering what you can do to make your vendors more excited to reserve a booth at your market, think about what you love about it. Do you have great events that keep things from getting bland? Is your market community open and friendly? Do you have brag worthy amenities for the vendors that keep coming back? Share these things with your retailers, and they will not only love your market, but will be loyal for years to come.

Be sure to check back regularly for more great market tips!

BoothBooks creates best-in-class market management software. Easily handleing payment history, vendor registration, layouts, reporting, and more. To find out more visit our website, or check us out on social media.

Market Tip #98: Use Special Events to Increase Visitors

Whether its because you’ve hit that off-season slump, or you’ve lost your “new market” appeal, seeing your customer numbers slip is the last thing you want. In a world where people judge businesses off of word of mouth and Yelp reviews, we need to keep our customers coming back.  Whatever the case, you need something to boost those numbers, and spicing up your market with different events can be a great technique.

Events are  a great way to draw people in. They can be anything, and are super easy to promote. These events keep your market from turning into a forgettable venue, and can be as simple as bringing in local food trucks, or as extravagant as a themed market weekend.

While these events can mean large crowds and big bucks for your market and booths, it also helps create a community experience. Bringing in local bands can be a great way to show your support for not only them, but for your city and local arts as well. Something as simple as asking the local high school marching band to come play at your market will foster a sense of community and grow your clientele.

Why not have a local produce weekend dedicated to the family farms that people pass on their way to work everyday? You can help create a sense of unity in your market, and keep people coming back for the quality products they’ve grown to love.

Any event will give you something to differentiate yourself from any other markets near by.  People will take note and stop in to support your market, and that added traffic will mean happy vendors. They will experience larger crowds, and higher sales.   

As your market grows and sees more foot traffic, your vendors will be more willing to pay a more competitive rate, increasing your overall profits. By using  market management software like BoothBooks, it’s simple to adjust booth rates based on your events, and to give vendors a more efficient way to work with you. That means vendors earn more, and you still see increased revenue as your market thrives.

The next time you think that your market is not meeting its full potential, think again. You may just need that little extra boost, and BoothBooks is here to help.

Be sure to check back regularly for more great market tips!

BoothBooks creates best-in-class market management software. Easily handleing payment history, vendor registration, layouts, reporting, and more. To find out more visit our website, or check us out on social media.

Best Products to Sell at Flea Markets & Swap Meets

Flea market and swap meets are really getting rolling as we head into the spring and summer months. In the past, we took a look at some of the best selling produce for farmers markets, but today we will explore the best items to bring in the shoppers for flea markets.

Clothing

Not just any clothing mind you. There are a few different ones that sell better than others. People won’t likely be buying pants, underwear, or socks at a flea market. They will however go for things like specialty sports footwear and t-shirts. Shoes for running, tanning, soccer, or year-round sporty-styles will sell very well. And T-shirts are easy to buy in bulk, and can change with the fashion trends. Price them right, and you will move them fast.

Toys

Parents are always on the lookout for affordable toys. I don’t mean just.. used toys either, but inexpensive or lesser known brands. Even non-parents probably know someone with children and could use a birthday or Christmas present. You can also go with seasonal toys like squirt guns. When its hot, its an easy way for a parent to keep their kids busy!

Baseball Hats

The trick with baseball hats is being able to find the popular styles. You don’t want to be stuck with a bunch of old looking hats. But once you find a good wholesaler, you can easily sell these year round. You can even try getting some local or touristy ones made that may sell well depending on your area!

Records

Have you heard?! Records are hip again! Jump on the bandwagon with a collection of older classic vinyl, as well as some of the new bands that are all releasing physical records as well.

Movies

Ok, so please make sure you find a reputable wholesaler before selling movies because you don’t want to be peddling illegal knockoffs. But once you find where to buy them in bulk, old hit movies sell great for that nostalgia generation. Movies from when they were kids they want their kids to experience, or just movies from a few years ago they missed or just want to see again are very popular.

Posters & Specialty Prints

This is an easy one. Tap into whats going on in pop culture and sell posters, or prints of them. Obviously you want to align the subjects of your prints with the audience at your particular market. If you tend to have a lot of older guys, maybe have posters and photo prints of some classic rock bands.

Produce

Everyone loves fresh produce. Its something easy they can grab to make dinner with or lunches for the week. It could even save them a trip to the grocery store! For the best varieties, check our previous post.

Wrap It Up!

Now that you know what to sell, go acquire some products and get selling! Markets can be a great hobby, or side-business for you or your family. Happy selling!

BoothBooks creates best-in-class market management software. Easily handleing payments, vendor registration, layouts, reporting, and more. To find out more visit our website, or check us out on social media.

Why Your Market Should Use Social Media

Lets chat about social media. There are endless articles focusing on why small-medium businesses should use social media, but does all of that apply to markets? Whether you run a farmers market, craft show, flea market, or swap meet, lets take a look at the top reasons YOU should be using social media to improve your business.

Vendors Support

Vendors are what drive customers to your market. You want outstanding vendors selling original artwork, the freshest produce, or the largest collection of vintage toys your shoppers have seen. We focus a lot of time on getting customers to come, but equal time should be spent on vendors. They are the ones who are paying to be there.
Using social media, you can drum up vendor support. You can get your market out there, for more vendors to see. If they see you are actively engaged in reaching new customers, they will be more likely to want to exhibit at your market.
On top of that, once you have a audience, you can use that audience to feature different vendors. Get vendors to agree to longer rentals in turn for promoting them on your social accounts. It doesn’t really cost you anything, but can be a benefit to them, and in turn, you. A little good will can go a long way.

More Customers

You already have an existing user base of shoppers who regularly visit your market. You don’t need to advertise at all to those people, as they should already be coming back. Using social media you can reach a new audience. If you are a farmers market and someone near you searches for fresh produce, your Facebook should come up. If you are a flea market and someone searches for vintage records, they should see you posting about that related content on Twitter.
Use content marketing across all these platforms to bring those keywords frequently into your feeds. Then when people search for those words and they are near your market, your content will start to rise to the top. Hashtags away!
Bonus tip! You can leverage your existing shopper and vendor customer base to help post on social. Ask them to post their finds which lets them have a sense of accomplishment, and advertises cool or delicious things real people were able to purchase at your market. Instagram is a great place to feature some of this stuff!

Promote Events

Events are a great way to bring an upswell of guests in a business that operates regularly. People may take breaks in coming to visit, but if you have regular events going on like live music, themes, or pet days, it gives them new reasons to get back in there, and hopefully buying from your vendors. If you just post on your website, you’d be taking a passive approach. People wouldn’t know unless they check out your site. If you try to take a more active approach by sending emails, it now requires you to get as many shoppers emails as possible to put onto an email list, then you need a campaign manger to send out all these emails.
Instead, try social media. Facebook has great tools for promoting events. You can even run ads with them! The idea here is that it is way cheaper to post to social media than send out an email campaign. It is also much easier to get people to follow you on social media than it is to get them to hand over a personal email address. This way you are still taking an active approach, but you are doing it for less, and getting a better response.

Affordable

Social media is really cheap and easy to get started with. There will be inevitable down time for employees, so have them update frequently throughout business days. They can even do it from their phone while they are walking the market. While they are out and about, it gives the great opportunities to see what is happening and capture some great pictures for twitter, Facebook, or instragram. The more stuff you share form your market, the more people may respond to it.
You can also sign up for things like Buffer, Hootsuite, and others for free to help manage social media channels. You shouldn’t have to pick and choose just Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. You should be able to hit them all! Plus they have roles which allow you to see which employee is posting what.
Ads are also much more affordable and targetable on social than on larger platforms like google+. Share a post about an upcoming event for just a few dollars a day and you can get many new impressions.

Updates

If you want to update your customers on specific hours, those aforementioned events, or other applications to your business, you need an easy way to do so. If you try to do it through your website, you will a) need a website, and b) have one that is quickly and easily able to update.
Instead of investing all that time, money, and effort into a website, you can start our by using your social channel for these things. They are dead easy to update, even from your phone! Plus, people will check them more regularly than your website. Once your market grows, you can add a website too!

BoothBooks creates best-in-class market management software. Easily handleing payments, vendor registration, layouts, reporting, and more. To find out more visit our website, or check us out on social media.

5 Ways to Make Money at a Farmers Market

Spring is here! That means farmers markets are popping up all across the country, and with them, the chance to make some extra money. There are many different ways to capitalize on farmers and other outdoor markets so we will just take a look at the top 4 ways.

Sell Great Produce

Ok so this is probably an easy one. I mean… that is the main thing people go to a farmers market for. Fruits and veggies! It does pay however, to differentiate yourself and offer up different ones people don’t always see, as well as making sure to pick the ones that can most lucrative. Since everyone sells lettuce, tomatoes, and potatoes, why not sell a specialty variety? Think fingerling potatoes or cherry tomatoes. Here is a list of great alternative crops that might be useful. That aside, we’ve already covered the best produce to sell, so we will leave you to check out that post for more details.

Bees!

Honey is a great produce to sell at farmers markets. Everyone loves fresh honey and there is some serious change to be made here. While it is a LOT of work, beekeepers can make $40-60k a year depending on their location.

Plus, you don’t have to sell just fresh honey. There are so many honey based products out there. You could have fresh baked goods (honey banana bread!), honey cough syrup, lip balm, or herbal honey mix-ins for tea. Now you really set yourself apart!

Jams & Jellies

You can sell fruit, but people will only pay so much for fresh fruit. With a little bit of extra effort, you can take that fruit and turn it into jam, jelly, marmalades, or spreads. These can garner a much higher price tag, plus if you do a “recycling program” where you have customers return your jars for a discount, you can save some additional money!

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Baked Goods

Why stop at jams and jellies? Or maybe to accompany them! If you like to bake or cook, why not actually make things to sell? Some fresh loaves of bread! Scrumptious desserts! Whatever you are great at, make it! Again it is just a little bit of extra effort that can increase your margins quickly!

Crafts or Used Goods

Now this can depend on the market, but why stop at food or food products? You could sell vintage cookware like cookie cutters, aprons, trays, etc that you can source from flea markets or online.

You could also make pot holders, bag holders, or other simple crafts that can be easy add-on items or gifts. You will find much less competition for these items as well. There are 10 people selling carrots but only one selling kiss the cook crocheted pot holders!

Good Luck!

Here is the last tip – get out there and sale! You can count that tip as a freebie, but it could be the most important! If you aren’t out there, you won’t be selling. So take our list of tips, put your best foot forward, and go make an impression at your local market.