As discussed in my previous article, relating your craft show booth or table to a store window is a good way to look at your space from a different perspective and ensure you have elements that will catch the eye.
You only have a few seconds to grab shoppers’ attention as they walk by and encourage them to come take a closer look.
Of course your amazing products will help do that but below are 10 other tactics you can use to enhance your booth and make sure you’re noticed from across the room.
Before you start scrolling, see a bunch a pictures of store windows and think this doesn’t apply to craft shows…see ya! put your creative, think-outside-the-box cap on.
These techniques DO apply to any type of display, big or small, selling any type of product, from jewelry to art.
I know you’re a creative person and if you take the time to read through this article you’re going to be way ahead of most craft show vendors.
But if you’d like more guidance, sign up for my FREE 5 DAYS TO A STANDOUT DISPLAY email challenge.
“I am brand new at doing Craft Sales. I started in November 2017. Did my first sale sold nothing. Did my second sale and sold a couple of items. Took the 5 day challenge and made a profit at the last sale.”
~Just for you cards by Kathryn
It has examples (on day 3) of exactly how each technique can be applied to a craft show table or booth and has easy to follow steps you can implement at your next craft show to boost sales.
TOP 10 VISUAL MERCHANDISING TECHNIQUES
These are techniques major retailers put to use because they translate into dollars.
Although the photos are of shop windows, the techniques can be applied to a craft fair table, no matter how small the space.
Sign up for the free 5-day challenge to find out exactly how.
1 – COLOR
Colors are a great way to evoke emotion and make a statement. It’s such a powerful display element, I’d go so far to say:
Every craft show display should (properly) use color.
- Planning products so their colors work together
- Thinking about how your brand colors work with your product colors
- Being strategic with your use of color
- Limit hues (3 or less is ideal. For example, focusing on purple, pink and blue)
- Limit tints, tones and shades (for example, focusing on pastel purple, pink and green)
The right colors will communicate a message (think light blue for calming spa-like atmosphere or yellow for fun, cheerful products) and attract your ideal customer. You can’t know and appeal to everyone’s taste but is the person you’re trying to attract drawn to soft pastels, bright neons or deep, rich hues?
The absence of color is another way to stand out, letting your products do the talking. White walls, floor, table cloth, props and uniform is bound to make shoppers stop and take notice.
An eye-catching hot pink color is pulled from the product label and used in some over sized tassels that mimic the tassels on the bottle in a Jo Malone window. This window also uses REPETITION with the same product being displayed 3 times. (Image Source: VM)
An all white window with bright lighting at JOSEPH really catches the eye (Image Source: VM)
2 – REPETITION
Repetition is another merchandising technique that should be used in EVERY craft show display.
It should start with your products. A craft show table should NOT be full of 101 different products; with no two being the same.
Limit your selection (which is proven to increase sales by making decision-making easier) and be sure there are elements repeated within your products.
For example, every piece of jewelry a maker offers may be made out of copper and use geo shapes. The color of stone may create variety but still use repetition; each copper, geo-shaped necklace, ring and bracelet is offered with a purple quartz, rose quartz and green quartz stone.
Once you’ve sorted your product selection (I’ll help you with that in the free 5-day challenge), you can use repetition in the way you display them.
- Repeat colors found in your products in props, signage, images, tablecloth, etc.
- Repeat a product that is displayed (e.g. set up 3 bust forms and have them all wearing the same necklace; one in each stone.)
- Repeat shapes within your display (e.g. create a pyramid shape by stacking bars of soap on risers. Repeat that pyramid shape using jars of cream and bottles of bubble bath)
More examples shared in the free challenge.
Odd numbers tend to be more pleasing so if you’re going to repeat an element, repeating it 3, 5 or 7 times is the way to go.
The same product is repeated 3 times to highlight these accessories at Tods. (Image source: VM)
Color, pattern, lines and products are all repeated throughout this Louis Vuitton window. (Image source: VM)
A clutch is repeated 3 times in a window at Anya Hindmarch showing off the product and varying color options.(Image source: VM)
3 – LINE & COMPOSITION
This is the 3rd and final visual merchandising technique that should absolutely be present in EVERY craft show display (the rest of the ideas in this article can be used at your discretion).
Compositions lead the eye around your booth or table. This is done by deciding which element is going to grab the shopper’s attention first (usually the bigger, brighter display at eye level or above), then creating a trail for the shopper’s eye to follow, from one display element or product, to the next.
This is why laying product flat on a table does not help attract more shoppers or encourage more sales.
When everything is on the same level, nothing catches the eye or creates a path telling shoppers where to look next; it’s overwhelming to shop and to make a decision (which lowers sales).
Line & composition can be a difficult element to master but is also an incredibly important one.
Once you understand it, you’ll notice it being used in store windows, in-store merchandising, photos, advertisements, etc.
It’s an art and it works.
It’s important to use line & composition throughout your entire booth, AND within each element.
For example, when standing back and looking at your display, one product grouping should grab the eye. Within that product grouping, one product should catch the eye and then lead to other products (ones that are less expensive, less profitable, good add-ons, etc.)
Your eye is naturally drawn to bigger/higher/brighter/etc. objects in a display (e.g. the pink bag below). Then, the overlapping, angle, height, direction products flow, etc. creates lines that direct the eye and make sure shoppers see what you want them to see, when you want them to see it.
Depending on which way someone approaches this Harvey Nichols window, their eye is either drawn to the brightly lit group of 3 mannequins, and then follows the angled line and writing to the 2nd group of mannequins or the opposite; the contrast of the white hashtag on the black background grabs the eye first and leads it down the angled “work hard, play hard” line to the 3 mannequins. (Image source: VM photo credit Melvyn Vincent)
You could literally draw a continuous line from one display element to the next. The overlapping of products, props and mannequins, the way the mannequins are angled (even the line of the leg on the mannequin in the tan coat directs your eye to the next element) and the use of light and dark (notice how they’ve used different color mannequins in the second grouping. A white mannequin makes the black dress stand out and a black mannequin makes the light sweatshirt stand out. The sleeve of the light sweatshirt also pops out when placed in front of the black dress).
The beautiful floral art grabs your eye at LK Bennett as the over sized paint tube & brush lead your eyes down to the product (colorful shoes). On the other side, if your eyes are down as you walk by, the flower paint spilled on the sidewalk will lead your eye into the window in the reverse direction. (Image source: VM)
Consider the flow of your craft show table too. You want shoppers to:
- Be drawn in at the front of your space by a showstopper
- Be led to the middle of your table where they can browse and try items on, pick them up, etc.
- End at the “cash desk” where they can be out of the way of other shoppers while they browse smaller “add-on” items and complete their transaction (think of the checkout line at the grocery store; why not, I’ll grab a pack of gum, it’s only a couple bucks, it’s right here and it’s simple to add to my cart.)
The end of your table should act like a website pop up. “But wait! Before you go…” If they haven’t purchased, you want to make one last attempt to grab their attention.
If shoppers aren’t going to take the action of purchasing, what’s the easiest action they can take so you can stay in touch and have the opportunity to sell to them in the future?
HINT-HINT 😉 It’s signing up for your newsletter.
You 110% NEED a newsletter for your business. It’s THE most effective way to stay in touch with your target market and is 4 times more effective than using social media. Here’s help with that if you need it.
Make sure every shopper is leaving your space with a good feeling and a way to remember you.
The free 5-day challenge has tips to ensure no shopper ever forgets your booth, brand or the experience you create for them.
4 – LIGHTING
A spotlight on a display or product immediately catches the eye and draws it to your product.
Mood lighting can be effective too but you don’t want your space to feel drab. Shoppers need to be able to see what they’re buying so be sure you’re not impeding sales in an attempt to create dramatic lighting.
You can get creative and not only use lighting to highlight your displays but also make lighting part of the display.
The light fixtures and light draw attention to each individual shoe at Charlotte Olympia. (Image Source: VM)
Gucci directs spotlights on each mannequin to make their bold colors stand out even more (Image source: VM)
Macy’s uses light bulbs and their cords to create a tree design and add extra lighting to the window. (Image source: VM)
5 – SCALE
Adding larger than life elements can immediately grab a shopper’s attention. As they walk around the venue seeing everything in proportion, an oversized picture or prop will make them stop and take notice.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money either…you’re crafty! Cardboard, foam, paper mache, etc. can all be used to create lightweight, oversized (or undersized) objects that can hang above your table with the use of fishing wire. It will catch the eye of shoppers as soon as they walk in the venue.
Examples are shared in the free 5-day challenge but imagine a giant ball of yarn made from a styrofoam ball wrapped in rope and spray painted the same color found in a logo or product collection. Add a flat surface to the top and bottom and you have a cool display shelf for knitted goods.
How fun is this over sized pop can mimicking the print on the mannequins dress in a Moschino window? (Image source: VM)
Larger than life beauty tools draw attention to the makeup Kate Spade is selling inside. (Image source: VM)
Big props create color and interest through needles knitting a pattern at H&M and promotint the knits they have in-store. (Image source: VM).
Hairpins are something that might be used with these Hermes scarves. (Image source: VM)
6 – CONTRAST
Which objects, shapes, colors or textures will make a shopper stop and take note of how polar opposite they are to your products?
- Dark can contrast light products
- Rough can contrast smooth finishes
- A simple background can contrast a complex design
You can also create a contrast to the surroundings. If the event is busy, bright and loud, your quiet, serene setting will be quite the contrast to the rest of the atmosphere. If the weather is cold and snowy, a warm beach theme will also stand out in contrast.
The crisp, clean Alexander McQueen dress stands out in contrast to the dark background. (Image source: VM)
7 – HUMOR
Who doesn’t love to laugh? Humor helps us let our guards down and feel more comfortable…and a comfortable shopper is more likely to stick around and buy.
Don’t try too hard; you don’t need each passerby to keel over in laughter; a simple smile or chuckle will immediately make them relax. Be sure your humor isn’t offensive and it doesn’t need explaining…keep it simple!
French Connection uses their FCUK campaign to have some fun with phrases that will make you chuckle and maybe even shock you at first glance. (Image source: VM)
A giant whoopee cushion uses humor, scale and nostalgia to make you take notice of Fred Perry’s back to school children’s clothes. (Image source: VM)
8 – NOSTALGIA
Don’t you love seeing something that reminds you of your childhood? It evokes a strong feeling which is incredibly important when it comes to selling; do you remember products that made you feel nothing? 😉
Items from our past or “before and afters” reminding us how far we’ve come will encourage people to stop and have a closer look.
This Moschino window brings us right back to playing dress up with our Barbies. The oversized toy packaging grabs your attention and makes you envision how the bright and fun outfit will look on the mannequins…or you! (Image source: VM)
Theo Fennel’s window immediately reminds you of the sound and feel of spinning the tin top that’s used as a prop, along with wooden blocks (spelling out Theo), both used to display beautiful jewelry. (Image source: VM)
9 – MOTION
Something moving among static products (aside from other people) can catch a shopper’s eye.
You don’t want it to become a hazard or annoying (strobe lights are not the way to go), but something that makes people want to stop and watch a prop go through the whole motion, can work to your advantage.
The more complex the movement is, the further out of reach it should be (up high or behind your table). You don’t want moving objects to be in the way of products shoppers are trying to browse.
Movement can also be implied through displays to show off components of your products or to create a feeling. Pulling the end of a scarf up using fishing wire can imply the movement of wind and make the shopper think of chilly days.
This Anthropology window is so serene. Fans gently blow scarves to show how delicate they are while sunlight highlights the beautiful colors. (Image source: VM)
Movement is implied in this windy Hackett window, creating an interesting scene to stop and look at. (Image source: VM)
10 – SURPRISE
An element of surprise is involved in many of the ideas above but you can make an even bigger impact by creating a moment shoppers aren’t expecting at a craft show. It should leave them amused and excited to tell others about it.
You can also add intrigue. Make shoppers do a double-take and hang around a little longer to check something out or solve a puzzle.
For example, encouraging shoppers to come closer to peer into a shadow box or behind curtains to see what they’re missing out on. Having something out of place or missing intrigues the mind and forces it to figure out what’s missing, which gets shoppers hanging around a bit longer. Perhaps long enough for you to make a sale?
You may be surprised to see an island backdrop set up in the middle of the city for you to have your own photoshoot. And if you’re not quite camera ready, it’s a great opportunity to head in and try some of Liz Earle’s beauty products. (Image source: VM)
A broken chair may make you take a second look as you walk past The Conran Shop, which is pointing out that their furniture is well constructed and will last a lifetime. (Image source: VM)
Reference: Visual Merchandising & Display (4th Edition) Martin M. Pegler
I know what you’re thinking; Well this is all fine and dandy but how do I apply it to my craft show display?
Let me get you started 🙂
Assess how many of these elements you’re using in your current craft show display.
You don’t want to use too many of these visual merchandising techniques or you run the risk of overwhelming the shopper.
Start with your products and your brand. What’s their message?
Think about your:
- USP – why should shoppers buy from you, rather than the jewelry maker, soap vendor or knitter down the aisle?
- Style – how would you describe the style of your products? That must come across within the first few seconds of shoppers seeing your space. Are your products for someone who likes to stand out with bold accessories? Someone who’s quirky? Someone who’s feminine?
- Story – what’s the story you want to tell through your display? Are you painting the picture of a spa day at home using your bath & body products? An elegant night out while wearing your jewelry? A stylish way to stay warm on the way to the office?
Figure out how you will communicate that information through your display.
Sound like a lot? It’s not hard to do but it also doesn’t come together without some effort.
You can set up your products at a craft show without all this effort and make some sales.
But my guess is…since you’re here…you want more sales.
You want shoppers to remember you. To tell their friends about you. To visit your online shop and buy after the show.
To do so, you must make an impact with your display and tell your product’s and brand’s story.
I’ll walk you through each step of setting up a powerful display that actually impacts sales in the free 5-day challenge.
“I applied some steps from the challenge and it was AMAZING, it really helped and improved my display. More people came to see the booth and many bought from me.”
~Beatriz, Owner of Pretelie from Brazil
Thanks for reading!
You’re so far ahead of the competition if you just took the time to read through those professional merchandising techniques.
I’d love to hear your thoughts now…
Which standout display elements do you currently use at craft shows, and which are you going to try at your next event?