5 Reasons Craft Show Shoppers Skip your Booth

You’ll never attract every shopper at a craft show. And attempting to can do more harm than good.

As Marie Forleo says:

If you’re talking to everybody, you’re talking to nobody.

You need to define your target market and focus on building a business and products for them. 

However, a few mistakes can repel even your most perfect customer.

5 Reasons Craft Show Shoppers Skip your Booth


1 – You look too eager

At the beginning of a craft show (or at any time during a slow craft show), I would feel desperate for a sale. So I would watch shoppers as they walked the aisle, hoping they’d stop at my table. 

But being on the other side of that situation, as a shopper, I know how intimidating that feels. 

I tend to avoid those tables unless they’re selling a product I’m almost certain I’ll buy. This is for a couple of reasons:

>> I don’t want to be on the receiving end of a hard sales pitch (which I assume is coming when a vendor looks too eager).

>> I don’t want to let the vendor down if I don’t buy (which it feels like I’m doing when the vendor looks eager for a sale).

As a shopper in a mall, you don’t expect sales associates inside a store to wave or say “Hi” as you’re walking by. They really don’t pay much attention to you until you enter their store.

This is normal.

So don’t feel you have to pay attention to every shopper as they walk the aisles of a craft show. 

Working on your craft, adjusting your display, or organizing stock behind the table while exuding positive energy will tell shoppers they’re welcome in your space (without you having to make eye contact, smile directly at them, or say “Hi”).

This will create a space that feels comfortable and welcoming to shoppers.


2 – Your booth blends in

Many shoppers will skip a craft show booth if a neighbour’s display is more appealing. 

I’ve been there. 

I wish I could blame those situations on “they just weren’t interested in buying a bag”. But unfortunately, I’ve watched several shoppers walk right by my table to visit another bag vendor’s table. 

Unless you have a unique product, there will likely be other vendors selling something similar to you. 

So you need your display and product line to stand out and tell shoppers why your products are different/better than the others they’ll find at the event. 

I had a mishmash of products (mostly bags but also mittens, pajamas, aprons, etc.) and a wide variety of bag designs. My competitor (who was at every event I was…and almost always just a few tables away) only sold bags and offered just one design (with different color/fabric/print options).

Her display made an impact. 

Mine, did not. 

Develop a cohesive product line and incorporate key merchandising elements to ensure your display is seen from several feet away and attracts your target market. 

(My free email challenge will help with that: 5 DAYS TO A STANDOUT CRAFT SHOW DISPLAY)


3 – Your products look a little too “crafty”

I remember my first few encounters with craft fairs. They were in my neighbourhood’s mall and vendor tables lined the middle of the halls.

Tables were typically filled with items my grandma might make; homemade jams, knitted doll clothes and tissue box covers, hooked rugs, etc.

I love the items my grandma has made. But craft shows and handmade products have come a long way and consumers expect more from them than they did 10 – 20 years ago.

Today’s craft show shopper is expecting to buy from legitimate businesses.

If your table looks more like a display of the hobbies you like to dabble in (e.g. a little painting, a little jewelry making, a little soap making), rather than a business selling a quality product, shoppers may skip your booth.

Try focusing on a niche, so you can present yourself as an expert in your field. Build a cohesive product line and develop product collections so products not only look good together but can also be purchased together.

These small changes can make your business and products look more professional.


4 – Nothing looks within budget

As a shopper, when I decide to stop by a craft show, I typically don’t have a specific item I’m looking for. I want to browse and discover new businesses and products. 

Therefore, I’m not prepared to spend much more than $50 on a purchase. 

So if I come across a table that looks like it only sells big-ticket items, I’ll skip it.

For example, if I see a booth that’s full of original artwork, I know those pieces are going to be over $100. Even if I LOVE their work, I probably won’t stop. I might make a note of the business’s name, but keep moving. 

However, if I see the vendor also has smaller items such as journals, notepads, calendars, and greeting cards printed with their artwork, I’ll stop.

At a glance, I can see they offer items within my budget. 

This can work the other way too. 

Some people have bigger budgets and want to spend a certain amount (e.g. when buying a gift). If they see a table that’s only selling smaller, low-priced items, they may decide not to stop. 

You don’t need to appeal to every shopper; you should define your target market and stick to products that are ideal for them. 

However, explore the budgets people within your target market might have and how you can offer items that fit within low, mid, and high-end price ranges. 


5 – Your table is giving “rummage sale”

A display with too much variety and stock WILL attract shoppers, but they may not be the type of shoppers you want if you’re trying to maximize sales. 

When there’s too much stock on your table, people must rummage. 

And having to rummage creates a perception that the items should be low-priced.

Yes, some craft show shoppers LOVE to rummage. So an over-stuffed display may appear to be busy throughout the day.

However, several studies have proven that lots of variety may attract more shoppers but it doesn’t attract more buyers.

Variety can draw people in, but then make it harder for them to make a purchasing decision, so the majority leave without buying.

If you don’t want buyers to skip your craft show table, limit how much stock and variety you display. 



If you often frequent craft shows as a shopper, feel free to share why you skip some booths 🙂


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  1. Tracy Adams says:

    This information was very helpful. Thank you for sharing your insight and advice.
    Much Appreciated.
    Baltimore, MD

  2. I think light can be an issue. If you’re in a bright spot, your product stands out better. I made glass jewelry and noticed a difference in getting attention. Not sure how much it generated sales but got more people in the booth. I also noticed a herd mentality. I would try to get people into the booth, which would draw more people. Oooh what’s going on over there. And usually some sales would happen.

  3. DecarloMatano says:

    The seller is disengaged, distracted or bored. I skip that table.

  4. Elizabeth says:

    We exhibited at two trade fairs last year. These are a few things that worked:
    * festoon lighting which was visible outside my booth so visitors would see it poking out when walking down the aisle and grabbed their attention.
    * vinyl wall panels printed of limewashed wooden panels to help decorate the booth
    * green astroturf to help theme the booth (this year we will add foam sheets to make it soft to stand on)
    * a corner booth on the first trade fair so visitors could see us from several approaches
    * standing virtually the whole time to engage with visitors, not sitting on the bar stools and definitely not scrolling on my phone
    * on the second trade fair, engaging with those who actively came up to the booth to look at our tea towels, not “chasing” those who glanced and kept moving

    What didn’t work
    * at the first trade fair it was dominated by jewellery companies which meant 60% of visitors were jewellery buyers only
    * at the second trade fair we were in the Home section and should have been in Gifts which we will be in this year.

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