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August 19, 2015

5 Craft Show Mistakes that Drive Shoppers Away



No one signs up for a craft show with the intention of alienating the shoppers but you may unknowingly be sending them away if they don't feel comfortable. Here are 5 mistakes to watch for next time you're at an event selling your handmade goods.

It's important to have fun, be yourself and show pride in your work; that will always draw people to you.


1) Being too clique-y 

Once you dive into the craft scene, you quickly get to know many of the vendors, organizers and even shoppers so a craft show can easily feel like a reunion. When you spend most of your day chatting with booth neighbours, visiting with friends who have stopped by or gabbing with the organizer, it can make the atmosphere feel like a clique the shoppers aren't a part of. Visiting is part of the fun of craft shows so we’re definitely not suggesting to cut that out; but do be aware of shoppers, even if they’re a table or two over. They’re aware of what’s going on around them and if they don’t feel welcomed or appreciated, they may keep on walking. Even if you’re in the middle of a conversation with another customer, take a second to say hi, welcome the shopper to your table and let them know you’ll be right with them or that they can interrupt you with any questions.

On the otherhand…


2) Looking too Eager 

If you look like you’re ready to pounce the second a shopper steps into your booth or you’re being too aggressive with your sales tactics in trying to pull them in, you may drive some people away. Shoppers don’t want to feel like a sales person is being too pushy or is desperate for a sale and will do anything for it. Consider how you like to be treated when you're shopping. Most of us like to be acknowledged but not hovered over while we browse. A casual suggestion of trying one of your samples or asking if they'd like to see how your product works is perfectly fine. Giving people a stare down as they approach your table or standing in the aisle and blocking them from walking by until you finish your pitch is too much.


3) Being Shy 

Whether you’re shy by nature or are just trying to give shoppers their space; lack of engagement can be taken the wrong way. Shoppers, vendors and event organizers may think you’re disinterested if you keep quiet, hide behind your table or have your nose in a book all day. We know it can be intimidating to sign up for your first craft show and stand there as people peruse your work, deciding if they love it enough to buy (just because they don’t buy, doesn’t mean they don’t love it). But try your best to put on a smile and interact with the shoppers. Practice makes perfect and you’ll find yourself easing into your new position as the day goes on. Check out our articles for some tips on feeling more comfortable at craft shows.






4) Giving away your work 

We’re not talking about a freebie to draw customers in; we’re referencing low prices and “these aren’t selling so just take one”. If you don’t put value on your own work, how can you expect others to? We understand how frustrating a slow craft show can be but don’t use that as an opportunity to mark down prices or give items away. Shoppers will remember that next time they see you at a craft show and wonder why they would pay full price if you’re willing to give handouts when times are slower.


Treat your work in the way you want people to perceive it. Meaning;

  • Price it properly - set your price points to what they’re worth, not what you think people are willing to pay. Slapping low prices on your pieces in an attempt to make more sales will hurt you and other vendors in the long run. Craft Show shoppers generally understand that they’re buying one of a kind, handmade pieces and with that comes a higher price tag than they may find at the mall. If your pieces are half the price of something similar a couple booths down, they may wonder if you’ve cut corners when it came to craftsmanship or materials.
  • Display it with pride – imagine seeing a necklace laying flat on a table with 10 more of the exact item thrown down and tangled together. Now imagine that same necklace, displayed on a crisp white bust form, sparkling under the lights, looking like the only one available. Which necklace would you perceive as having more value?
  • Handle it with care – think includes when people are watching and when they aren’t. Nicks, snags and wear and tear will bring the value of your work down. Store your work properly at home and take the time to wrap each piece so it doesn’t get damaged during shipping or transportation. When you wrap a purchase up for a customer, put that same care in; handle the item gently, snip off price tags and wrap it in a pretty little package for them to take home.


5) Not Displaying Prices

As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, shoppers typically don’t want to ask “how much?” They may not be able to grab your attention if it’s busy or they may not want to draw attention to themselves. If the prices aren’t clearly marked for each item (or group of items) a shopper may just put the item back down and walk away instead of risking a slightly awkward situation of being told the price and not purchasing. It’s not that there’s anything to be ashamed of in this situation but it can be intimidating for shoppers to have the shop owner watching their reactions. When they pick an item up and ask the price, they’re showing an interest in it. Having to set the product back down may make it seem as though they don’t want to pay that price, can’t afford to pay that price or think it’s overpriced…none of which may be true but they certainly don’t want you thinking so!

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Do you have any mistakes you've seen at a craft show that have turned you away? Share them in the comments section.


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Comments
MD Handfield
2015-08-19 12:52
~ Making your booth into a u-shaped one or filling the floor space up so that only 1 or 2 customers can go in and view your product at a time. People often don't like to be in overly crowded spaces.
MD Handfield
2015-08-19 12:52
~ Making your booth into a u-shaped one or filling the floor space up so that only 1 or 2 customers can go in and view your product at a time. People often don't like to be in overly crowded spaces.
MD Handfield
2015-08-19 12:53
~ not having enough merchandise on your table so you look like you are sold out with no selection
Made Urban
2015-08-21 04:19
Great tips MD Handfield! Thanks for sharing :)
Kim
2016-06-08 08:40
When the Customer has no idea who the sales person is. At a busy craft show with lots of people, I think the salesperson needs to have an identifying look like an apron , a t-shirt with a logo, or even a name badge.
Made Urban
2016-06-09 09:29
That's a great point Kim! Dressing the part is an important factor.
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