LESSONS FROM OUR FIRST VENDOR SHOW
So this weekend my wife and I had our first vendor show that was a festival at a beach location. It was a huge learning experience and I wish that I had know more going into it, so I wanted to share my experience as I think some of it will be valuable to people on here.
- The biggest lesson from that I learned is to make sure you research the history of the show and don’t trust their website. We were lead to believe it was an annual show with a large following. Upon arrival many of the vendors learned it was the first annual. So this threw everyone for a loop. Maybe 50 people came specifically for the show when we expected 4500 people and they charged a lot for the booth. (over $200)
- Make sure to check the area for competing events. Apparently there were two huge seafood festivals so that didn’t help things much. We already had a poor start and this didn’t help either.
- Find the most successful vendors and try to copy their schedule. Many of the arbonne and other franchise types seem like they will go to anything to try to move product. Many of the successful people that are selling something unique have done most of the shows before. They know what shows move their products and don’t waste their money on low turn outs. I realized they aren’t going to waste their time so this is my plan going forward to help avoiding flop shows.
- If your show is a flop make the best of it. There were probably maybe a hundred or so people walking through, but it turns out they were mostly there for the beach, not the event so most were not expecting to shop. I stood at the edge of our tent next to our most popular items and greeted everyone and still managed to get a few sales. We had a total of 9 sales with an average of $45 per person, which was enough to not have a loss, but I had to work my butt off for each one.
- Make sure people can visualize your product. Most of our customers didn’t know that our beds were beds. After a few hours I was noticing people didn’t want to be embarrassed by asking about our product. So I rearranged and I found it worked best to have a full bed setup in the front of the tent so they could visualize it better. This also made it easier to do demonstrations and to get people excited.
- People don’t always notice your product even if it under there nose. Sometimes a subtle pitch will show them how useful or beneficial something can be. If I didn’t push that item, they didn’t sell.
- Don’t be afraid to charge full price even if there are no people. We initially were going to drop prices to get more sales, but I don’t think we would have gotten anymore. I found that most people saw the value and quality in our beds at $160. I did throw in a small pillow which made the customers extremely happy. Obviously happy customers talk to their friends more.
- Love thy neighbors. Sometimes having a terrible neighbor next to your booth can be great. We had a terrible magician next to us and we were able to provide people an escape route. I have never seen a worse magic show. His favorite trick was asking someone from the audience to give him a $5 for a trick followed by him placing it in his tip box. I have never seen someone turn to dislike someone so quickly. He was addressing all the women as m’lady and he wore a black fedora. I thought it was just a reddit joke, I have never seen anything so cringe-worthy in real life. That on top of his poor tricks gave us a great opportunity for customers.
- No music. Nothing is more uncomfortable than music in a booth. We didn’t play any but the people who did really made their customers uncomfortable.
- Have fun. We had a full day at the beach with perfect weather and a nice breeze. Sometimes you don’t get rich at your shows, but don’t let yourself get demotivated by that. Have a great time and your customers will too.