8 Expert Tips for Small Business Market Vendors


For today’s post, we are sharing 8 tips for how you can succeed as a small business market vendor. Whether you are a seasoned expert, getting started with markets, or still considering joining one, we are sure you will find some helpful advice in this post.

Keep reading to learn how you can become a market vendor pro that attendees are excited about!  

1. Attend Markets that align with your Business' Values

When seasonal event applications start popping up it’s easy to get excited and start applying to as many as you can. While attending a variety of different markets is a great way to reach new audiences, it’s worthwhile to consider asking questions and researching the event organizers to determine whether or not it is the right fit for your business.

Things to consider when selecting a market to attend: 

  1. Do all applicants get accepted blindly or do the organizers thoughtfully screen of the quality and diversity of the vendor selection?
  2. What is the demographic of the event? Will it be marketed to my ideal customer base?
  3. What is the price to attend the market? Does it align with my budget and the potential profitability of the event?
  4. Do the organizers have a history of successful events? If not, what supportive information can you find about them?
  5. What other aspects of the event will entice my existing customer base to show up, support, or promote my presence at the event? 
Nuez Acres

2. Advertise your Attendance Online

Once your application is approved and you have the market date added to your calendar, it’s time to start asking your loyal customers to add it in to theirs as well!

Here are some content ideas to get your followers excited about your attendance as a small business market vendor

  • Show off products you will bringing to the event
  • Advertise special deals or product bundles that will only be available at the event
  • Share more information about the event including exciting activities or features
  • Create a behind the scenes reel of you preparing your products for the event
  • Reshare event flyers or details shared by the organizers 
  • Share photos or video footage of past market events to show off much fun attendees will have

Be sure to tag the event organizers so they can share in your excitement and reshare your promotional posts to reach a wider audience. 

We have a post with 60 Instagram reel ideas you might find helpful here

3. Plan Your Stock list Ahead of Time

A great way to have a successful market is to ensure you have enough stock to get you through each day. This might seem like common sense, but it is worth taking some extra time to plan out – especially if you are a small business who needs to hand make each product. If you have attended a market before, you can use your past sale results as a reference for planning for your next market. 

Here’s a list of questions you should review while planning your stocklist for your next market event: 

  1. What products sold the best? Did you bring enough? 
  2. Did attendees have any feedback you should consider? (for example, they would love your product in a difference size, colour, etc) 
  3. Do you need to bring any product samples or testers to support your day-of sales strategy? 
  4. In the case you do run out – do you have a plan to assist customers with following through with a purchase?
Yumy Bear Co.

If you are new to markets, try surveying your ideal customers through a bit of market research. 

  1. Ask your regular customers or social media followers which of your products and variations are their favourite.
  2. Research other businesses that sell similar products to assess which products get the most engagement, reviews, or feedback.
  3. Use Google Trends, Pinterest Trends, and/or perform social media research to see if any of your products are currently popular.

4. Have a Marketing Plan for the Day of

While markets provide a great selling opportunity, not all attendees will be ready to commit to purchase on the spot. There are a number of great ways you can stay connected with those who visit your tent long after market day as a small business market vendor . 

For example you could: 

  1. Give away samples with a business card 
  2. Offer coupons to be used at a later date
  3. Set up a game to give customers a chance to win a discount on their purchase
  4. Advertise your social media handles on a big sign or QR code
  5. Run a contest or raffle in exchange for signing up for your mailing list
  6. Put together ‘Market Exclusives’ – whether it be a special product variation or product bundle deal

No matter how you decide to market your product to customers, take the time to be social with attendees that are just browsing – first impressions last. See the next tip for further advice on how to do just that. 

5. Create A Memorable Experience

When planning for the event, it is important to take some time to consider things from the attendees point of view. If you were visiting your local market event – what would make a vendor stand out to you? 
Would you be enticed by a beautiful display of products? How about a smiling vendor who is excited, attentive, and passionate about the products they are sharing with you? 
Don’t forget that just because a product sells well on your website or through social media does not mean it will sell itself the same at markets. 
Beloved By Emily

Attendees are wanting to make a real connection with you face-to-face. Be present. Ensure each potential customer feels seen. Share your story. Show off all your product benefits and features proudly. Have fun and make sure others are too! 

6. Arrive Early

There’s nothing worse than feeling rushed as a small business market vendor. Whether it be finding your spot, having technology issues, or complications with your set up, time can pass quickly. Making sure you arrive with plenty of time will prevent any last minute delays from getting in the way of your day. 

This also ensures you will be ready to maximize your presence and capture attendees attention the second the event begins!

7. Network with the Inner Community

Markets are a great way to network and connect with your local business community on a deeper level! Be friendly and open to build relationships with the event organizers, staff, and other vendors. Everyone is there for the same reasons and with a similar mission. Not only is it nice to build new friendships will fellow business owners, you will never know the value of a connection down the line if you don’t make yourself available for them to happen!

Mi Rincon Bello

Don’t forget to follow one another on social media and exchange numbers to stay connected after the event. Consider taking the initiative to suggest a post-market chat to discuss new ways you can support one another or collaborate on future. 

This is a great way to establish new cheerleaders for your business, build a reputable network, and acquire new referrals over time.

8. Analyze your Perfomance

Like any aspect of business, analytics are an essential part of knowing where you stand, what is working and how you can improve. Each and every market is a new opportunity to learn more about your customers. 

It is worthwhile to track your sales and take some time to write down reflections from each day. Hard numbers are great way to measure performance, but critical thinking will also help you discover ways to improve.

For example: Did any products underperform that you were surprised about? Perhaps you have provided more in-person information on the product’s benefits and features.

Start a Market Journal to log your experience and make note of any customer feedback. Over time you can use this information to develop a sales strategy specifically for future markets. 

Before you know it you will have more and more supporters coming to event specifically to see you! 

Ready to Apply to Your First Market?

Let it be a BC Shop Local market! Our events are a great way to meet new customers and connect with fellow small business owners.


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