Unlock Success: Top Tips for Makers when trading at a market

As a market organiser, I see oversights by some stall-holders (not all at the same time!) that are easy to avoid.

Let’s delve into these ‘don’ts’ and find out how to steer clear of them!

Some of Windmill Hill Market’s lovely stall-holders – showing how it should be done!

Don’t… have confusing or absent pricing

Transparent pricing is essential. Many people won’t even stop and look if they can’t see prices. Clearly displaying prices for each item enhances the shopping experience and fosters trust.

Don’t… ignore your customers

At markets, customer engagement is crucial, it’s the name of the game! Of course, great engagement strikes the right balance between being friendly and informative without veering into pushiness. Be approachable, ready to answer questions, and provide insights into your unique products. Give them something to talk about – for example samples, something you encourage them to pick up to touch or smell – or ask a question.

Don’t… look bored!

Sometimes, the appearance of being busy (but approachable) is just as vital as actual busyness, as shoppers appreciate a relaxed shopping experience. When they don’t feel too observed, they can explore your products at their own pace, giving them space to consider and make their purchases.

Don’t… stare at your phone

Stay engaged with your customers. Avoid spending too much time on your phone, or coming across as uninterested. Stay approachable even during quieter moments.

Don’t… neglect social media

Your online presence can really impact the success of your stall, especially after the market. Keep your audience informed about your upcoming markets. Sharing your story online can reap huge benefits. Have an easily scannable QR code on your stall, so your customers can follow you and find you again.

Don’t… sublet your table

This is a BIG no-no! Subletting or sharing your table without permission from the market organiser often goes against their terms and conditions. Organisers carefully select each stall to ensure consistent quality and prevent clashes with other traders.

Don’t… arrive late (or too early!)

Stick to the schedule provided by the market organiser, as they often set times to maintain a steady flow of traders. This stops everyone from arriving at once and avoids pressure points.

Don’t… pack up early

Much like arriving late, leaving early is very bad practice. It disrupts the flow of the market and affects fellow traders. It’s a big bugbear of mine, which sometimes affects whether I work with people again. Of course sometimes, it can’t be helped – in that case, talk to the organisers before leaving.

Don’t… have inadequate payment options

Offering payment options is really important. Ensure you accept cash, cards, and contactless payments. Failing to offer convenient options can result in disappointment and lost sales.

By avoiding these common mistakes made by market traders, you’ll be well on your way! You can successfully build your business, support fellow local artisans, promote eco-friendly shopping, and contribute to a vibrant market community.


Bristol Market

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