Unless you’re selling at a very small craft show, you’ll never get 100% of shoppers to stop at your table.
Your products are not for everyone, nor should they be.
However, some craft show vendors do a great job of grabbing the attention of more shoppers and drawing them in (giving them more opportunities to sell).
When a craft show space has one or more of the elements below, shoppers feel compelled to stop.
1 – Something out of the ordinary
The people who shop at craft shows are looking for something unique. Something they can’t find at the mall and something thousands of other people don’t own.
Being handmade doesn’t make your products unique.
Every craft show has vendors selling handmade products.
And almost every shopper has seen handmade jewelry, soap, scarves, etc.
Displaying handmade products isn’t enough. You must make more of a statement to stand out to shoppers.
Get to know your competition by scoping out local craft shows.
- What type of products are your competitors selling?
- What might shoppers be tired of seeing when it comes to your products?
- What type of consumer is being ignored by craft show vendors?
Then analyze your products and consider how you can offer something different.
>> Explore opportunities to go in the opposite direction of your competitors.
>> Make a product that’s refreshing to craft show shoppers.
Determine what the norm is when it comes to your category of products being sold at craft shows. Then consider using different:
For example, if most jewelry vendors are selling dainty, minimalist-style jewelry, there may be a market for bold, colorful jewelry.
Or if most soaps sold at craft shows tend to be bar soaps in natural colors, scents, and ingredients, and the brands target women, there may be an opportunity to sell colorful soaps in unique shapes for kids.
Before jumping into a new direction, do your research to be certain there is a market for your product (this article will help).
Bold colorful jewelry may stand out, but if no one is interested in wearing colorful jewelry, it won’t draw in shoppers.
2 – An interesting story
Another reason people shop at craft shows is for the stories that come with them.
Simply saying you went to a craft show is more interesting than saying you went to the mall.
And shoppers are going to stop at a booth that has a vendor, products, and/or a display that appear to have an interesting story to tell.
Imagine a colorful display full of neon colors and neon jewelry, with a bubbly vendor wearing a bright pink outfit, bright pink lipstick, and bright pink hair.
Even someone who isn’t shopping for jewelry will feel compelled to stop to check out the vendor’s work and hear more about them.
Chances are, they’re going to leave that space with a good story to tell their friends.
Give shoppers an experience they’ll remember.
> If you need help coming up with a story and creating an experience at your craft show table, sign up for the free email challenge: 5 DAYS TO A STANDOUT CRAFT SHOW DISPLAY
3 – Variety (but not too much)
Craft show shoppers like to browse.
Even if you’re only selling one type of product (e.g. knitted blankets), offering it in different colors, materials, or sizes will give shoppers more items to flip through.
If your display looks too empty, shoppers can take everything in as they walk by.
Variety also gives shoppers different price points.
If I walk past a booth selling large pieces of original art, I know there won’t be anything that fits my budget for the day.
But if the vendor is selling a variety of sizes, prints, and other items with their art printed on them (e.g. coasters, tea towels, etc.), I’ll be able to find something that fits my budget and am more likely to stop.
When adding variety to your craft show booth, keep it on-theme; stick to products that are commonly purchased together.
For example, adding knitted hats to a product line of knitted blankets isn’t a great fit. Most consumers don’t buy or use blankets and hats together.
Instead, a vendor selling knitted blankets might also sell knitted pillow covers, or knitted slippers, or even knitted cat/dog beds. These are items that are commonly used together or that would all fit together in a living room.
>> Knitted blankets, pillow covers, and pet beds follow the theme of: home decor.
>> Knitted blankets and slippers follow the theme of: warmth or cozy.
Sticking to a theme and items commonly purchased/used together creates a cohesive product line and craft show booth.
It also offers plenty of options for people to shop and is likely to increase your sales per transaction.
4 – An easy shopping experience
I’ve walked right past many craft show tables that looked:
- too crowded
- too fragile
- too confusing
Craft show shoppers must decide within seconds of seeing your booth whether they’re going to stop, or keep walking.
>> When a table is stuffed with all kinds of products in different styles, it’s hard to tell if anything is right for me. I won’t stop because I don’t want to sort through dozens of items to potentially find one I like.
>> When a display looks like it might topple over if I touch something, I don’t want to shop the space.
>> When a table has one product displayed and pamphlets or signage, I don’t know what I’m supposed to shop.
You don’t want people to approach your table and wonder:
- What am I supposed to do here?
- Can I touch the items?
- Are these samples?
- What are they selling?
Make sure your display looks inviting and easy to shop.
The more a shopper can interact with your products, the better chance you have of making a sale.
Your setup, signs, and conversations can help guide shoppers through the experience; pointing out which items are testers, which items pair well together, where to stand when they’re ready to pay, etc.
A complicated shopping/buying experience will have more people skipping your booth than stopping.
5 – A relaxed vendor
Craft shows can be uncomfortable shopping situations. You’re in a tiny area and there isn’t really a way to give people space while they shop.
So it’s important to do what you can to create a comfortable environment for shoppers.
Don’t ignore them, but don’t stare them down as they’re in the aisle or pounce on them with a sales pitch as soon as they approach your table.
Smile and genuinely try to enjoy yourself.
Focus on making the shopper feel comfortable, rather than trying to make a sale.
Try to make conversation with shoppers while they’re in your space so it feels like a natural interaction, rather than a salesperson watching them shop.
You’ll find several tips to make selling at a craft show less awkward here.
Hey, I’m Erin 🙂 I write about small business and craft show techniques I’ve learned from being a small business owner for almost 2 decades, selling at dozens of craft shows, and earning a diploma in Visual Communication Design. I hope you find my advice helpful!