Do you want to make money at a farmers market? You’ll read a lot of advice on how to do so, but a lot of what’s out there focuses on what kinds of things to sell at the market. Not so much on what it takes to make the sale once you have found a buyer interested in what you are selling.
It’s fairly obvious that in order to make money at a farmer’s market you have to sell unique crops, provide interesting varieties of popular crops, and try to stand out more with the way you approach your business.
But what’s not so obvious? Little things like positioning your stand, your tent or awning, or your sale space so that customers don’t get blinded by the sun while trying to look at your goods.
Think Like a Customer
Is your display customer-friendly? And by that I don’t just mean can one person view and reach all of your wares, but rather, can two or three people at a time look at your presentation without having to step all over each other?
A farmers market draws enthusiastic buyers–how many people can get a good look at your booth without things getting terribly uncomfortable? A crowded booth might draw more customers, but if you aren’t streamlining the use of your space you could lose sales unnecessarily.
Plan ahead for the items you want to display for easy reach and which ones might require you to keep items away from jostling elbows and reaching hands. If you have items that must be requested for viewing, don’t assume the customer will realize those behind-the-counter items are for sale. Some might assume it’s ornamental. Call attention to your items by reminding people to ask if they have questions about those items.
Be Generous, But Fair
A big mistake some sellers make? Offering discounts to some buyers without thinking about what that means if word gets around. If you want to be generous with discounts and perks, decide in advance what you could afford to do for any customer and stay within that boundary.
If word gets out that you are willing to haggle or come down in price, you’ll want to know in advance how much of a discount to offer to avoid taking an unexpected loss because you weren’t ready for your “sale” to catch on. It’s bad form to be generous one moment and a stickler for the listed price the next. People talk. Decide in advance what you are willing to do, for whom, and by how much.
Make Money at a Farmer’s Market: Set a Customer Satisfaction Policy
People tend to trust sellers who offer generous, no-questions-asked return policies. Why? Because they feel like the seller has anticipated their basic worries about quality and trustworthiness by saying “We’ll take care of you”.
It is easy to buy from a seller you’ve never dealt with before when they tell you they have a 100% customer satisfaction policy. Yes, you might lose a bit of money accepting a return, but when word gets out that you were a good seller and worked on behalf of the buyer to make things right, your seller reputation within that market will grow.
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Joe Wallace specializes in personal finance, military affairs, and consumer protection topics. Since 1995, his work has appeared on Air Force Television News, The Pentagon Channel, ABC and a variety of print and online publications. He is a 13-year Air Force veteran and collects unusual vinyl records, which gives him an excuse to write the vinyl blog Turntabling.net.