My first blog of 2024 is starting off with a behind the scenes look at my in person markets from 2023. I had the opportunity to work with a group of McMaster University students last fall.
Their project was to focus on a small business and find ways to improve some aspect of it. We decided to focus on customer experience when shopping at my market booth.
In person markets are where I generate the majority of my sales. I don't get a lot of clicks to my website. (Even though I receive a lot of spam emails from unknown addresses saying they can get me on page one of Google). I am curious how did they find me?
My social media engagement has declined overtime. So attending markets are very important for me.
The McMaster students did the following:
3 Ways to Increase Customer Experience at In Person Craft Markets
1. Decrease the Number of Signs Through Consolidation
I have watched many videos and read various blogs about the importance of signs for customers. It allows them to know your prices, who you are, payment options and more. But after looking at this photo the students took, I realized I had way too many signs. There is a total of 9 on this 6 foot table.
The students came to 4 of my markets last October and November. They saw 4 different set ups as each market I had a different sized booth. They recommended I reduce the 9 signs down to 3!
They recommended I merge photos and business information into an Ipad slide show.
They also suggested I merge my QR codes, business cards and square payment machine into one prop. This month I reached out to Little House Crafted for possible designs.
To reduce table space I will use a smaller clipboard for my newsletter sign up.
2. Decreasing Check Out Time for Customers
I don't know why I didn't do this recommendation sooner. For the last few years I had separate plastic bins from IKEA for my different types of jewellery. I would put each piece of jewellery in a ziploc bag and then store it in the labeled bin. If I wanted to find a particular necklace I had to pull out all the necklaces to find it. What a time buster!
This organizer above is from Michael's Craft Store. It's for photos or card storage. I have actually had one for years to store my molds and stamps in but never thought of using it for markets. Now I have a necklace version and an earring version. The jewellery is sorted by themes (i.e. leaves, seashells, mushrooms..) and each little container is labelled. Even my husband can find jewellery now if I am not available.
I also now prepare my packaging at home before a market. I place a business card, care card and tissue paper in the kraft bag so all I have to do is box up the jewellery at the market. I also have an assortment of cotton bags that I have prepared with cards beforehand.
3. Increasing Brand Awareness with a New Outdoor Tent
Back at Thanksgiving I was a vendor at Vineland ArtFest and the weather was windy. On that particular weekend, three of the students came to observe. I asked one to walk around the market and see if there was anything in particular that caught his attention. He told me he liked the tents that had their business name on the canopy.
On the Monday, it was super windy and my old tent was a cheap Ozark tent from Walmart. I didn't want to invest too much in a tent when I started. Unfortunately, the wind kept pulling up the rooftop.
My husband secured it with ties through grommet holes but by the afternoon the ties had ripped my canopy. I had two options. Either patch up the one I had or ask for a new one for Christmas! I chose the later.
With input from other makers, I bought one from Surf & Turf in Stoney Creek, Ontario. I decided to label it with my business name and kept it simple and clean. They have fantastic customer service. It was ready promptly and you can even pick it up.
When I was first approached about this project, I was hesitant. I am a small business and wondered would I have enough to offer them. We both came out having learned a great deal. They were able to present a project to their professor that they felt good about. I am coming away with changes that I will to continue to put in place this year.
This year I am planning to focus more on outdoor markets. I am looking for any suggestions from you.
Drop your recommendation below.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read my latest blog. Happy New Year!
As always, enjoy the Beauty of Nature!