How to Increase Sales and Stand Out from Your Competitors at Pop-Up Markets: A 4-Step Framework for Success 

podcast • June 5, 2024

Pop-up markets (also called vendor events or vendor fairs) are a common place for product-based business owners to sell their products and to get valuable face-to-face feedback from customers.  

Which is why I participated in my first pop-up market in 2017. 

And this pop-up event was a total bust! 

Despite being in sales for years and being quite comfortable selling in person, when it came to a pop-up market, I had no idea what I was doing.  

First, this pop-up market had not been marketed to the public and was also competing against another very well-established market that had been going on for years in the same town and it was a complete disaster.  

I made one sale that day and it was a pity sale from a friend. 

However, in the years since then, I have attended many markets and completely revamped and learned how to increase sales at pop-up markets. 

I’ve taken what I’ve learned over the years at these events and created a 4-step GROW framework to help you prepare for your next pop-up market and generate sales long after your market is over.

Quote graphic which says "the people that I see that are really maximizing their opportunity and their time at markets, they don't just view it as how much revenus and how many sales they made that day. They look at it as an opportunity to gain invaluable feedback directly from their customers."

What are some common myths when it comes to pop-up markets? 

Too often success is judged by how much revenue is brought in the day of the pop-up market.  

And that is not what a pop-up market should be about when you are looking at long term growth as a business owner.  

I can tell which business owners are playing the short game if they only focus on the sales of the day. 

But the people that I see that are really maximizing their opportunity and their time at markets, they don’t just view it as how much revenue and how many sales they made that day.  

They look at it as an opportunity to gain invaluable feedback directly from their customers and use it as an opportunity to get their customer’s contact information and how to increase sales to those customers long after the market is over. 

When you attend a pop-up market, this is a great opportunity to get direct feedback from your ideal customers.  

When you attend these events put your phone away and use that time to interact with your potential customers and share your brand story. 

How do I grow my booth at a pop-up market? 

So, let’s dive on into the 4-steps GROW framework that I teach my coaching clients on how to maximize their pop-up market experience.  

The first step is generating some type of buzz and excitement around your booth and your products.  

Have you ever gone to a market and seen a booth that was so crowded that you really couldn’t get into it and you wondered, what is going on at that table? I want to see what that product is about or what that business is about.  

That is the buzz that you want for your booth or your table, and so that is what I teach my coaching clients to create.  

And there’s lots of different ways that you can do this, but one of my favorite ways, and I’ll give you a specific example of what I did at one of my last pop-up markets.  

This was around the Christmas season, and I had a huge giant bowl of peppermints, and I had a sign-up sheet, and it was a game of guess how many peppermints are in the jar.  

And people came over, they gave me their name and their email address, and then they put their guesses in the jar. And I did a giveaway for one of my candles.  

It was a great opportunity to get 100’s of new emails added to my email list and to generate excitement.  

Because not only were people flocking to my booth and my table at this market, but they were also looking at my products and buying my products while they were there.  

How much inventory for a pop-up market? 

Step 2 of the GROW framework is to ready your inventory.  

This includes planning your inventory based on your past sales data and your markets expectations.  

Here are a couple of great questions that you can ask about a specific market that give you some great data points to help you calculate how much inventory you should bring to any given market.  

  1. How many people are expected to attend this market?  
  1. How much has the event planner promoted and advertised the market?  
  1. What is the booth fee that you have paid to sell at the market?  

These questions are some great data points to give you accurate guidance on how much inventory that you need at any given market. 

It’s important to bring a great mix of your best sellers and whatever is in season for that particular holiday that is coming up to make sure that you have a healthy mix for your customers.  

If you struggle with calculating inventory and tracking your inventory, then I have a great resource that I created. It is the pop-up market calculator, and I am giving it to everyone that signs up for my latest course, Pop-up Market Prep.  

Stellar Customer experience to make your booth stand out 

Step 3 in the GROW framework is to make the buying process easy for your customers. 

How often do you see technology challenges when it comes to your customers being able to purchase products at a market?  

Prior to the event starting make sure you are testing your tools and know what the Wi-Fi situation is like at the market.  

Know what your power situation is like at the market so that you are good to go 

You want to streamline the process and make it as easy as possible for your customers to purchase from you.  

I also recommend offering multiple payment options so that you can accommodate different customer preferences. For example, cash, Venmo, Cash App and credit cards. 

How do I stand out at a pop-up market? 

Step 4 of the GROW framework is to wow customers with your uniqueness.  

I highly recommend to share your brand story and the values that will connect your customers to your business on a deeper level.  

This will make a far more lasting impression that encourages repeat business time after time as well as word-of-mouth referrals, which are invaluable.  

How can you stand out from the other booths? 

Have signage on your table that talks about the unique characteristics of your products and your brand story. 

What is your story and what is it that makes you unique that you want to highlight? 

I highly recommend putting that on your signage and packaging but also telling your customers what make you unique. 

You as a business owner need to know how to confidently and joyfully share your uniqueness with your customers.  

When a customer sees you excited about your business, about your values, about your products, then they are going to be excited as well and far more likely to buy your products because they want to be a part of what you’re doing.  

4-step GROW Framework 

  1. Generating buzz and excitement 
  1. Readying your inventory 
  1. Optimizing purchases and making it easy for your customers to buy from you. 
  1. Wowing with your unique story 

Want to go a bit deeper when it comes to your Pop-up market prep? Learn how I 20x’ed my return investment at my last pop-up market and continued making sales from the same customers for months following the pop-up. You can learn more about Pop-Up Market Prep here 

Pop-up market prep is one of my newest courses, and if you make one additional sale at your next pop-up market, you will have paid for the course. So it is more than worth it, especially with the bonuses that you get with pop up market prep.  

You get the inventory calculator, a checklist of everything that you need to bring to your next market and Canva templates that you can utilize for marketing at your next event. 

Are you ready to learn how to increase sales at your next vendor event? You can listen in now to the full conversation on your favorite podcast player

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