While working on your craft show setup, you likely stand at the front, placing your items and creating your well-thought-out, tried and true display.
Once you’re done, you stand back as though you’re going to snap a picture, focusing on the most important subject of the show: your booth.
The Wrong Perspective
Viewing your display from a vendor’s perspective is the wrong way to look at your display. Of course, you want to use your creative eye, but there are other perspectives that are more important…
The Right Perspective
You’re setting up at a craft show to sell your products to shoppers, so keeping shoppers in mind is the most important. They’re going to approach your table and look at your products differently than you do.
You also want to keep the event organizer’s perspective in mind so you keep them happy.
And last but not least, you should put a salesperson‘s hat on as you look over your display to be sure matching products and making sales is easy.
Let’s take a closer look at each perspective you should keep in mind as you assess your display.
1) Look at your Craft Show Display as a Shopper
Consider how shoppers will walk the venue. Head towards the entrance, turn around, and imagine you’re a shopper approaching your booth from several feet away.
What do you see?
Unless you’re at the end of an aisle, most shoppers won’t approach your booth or table head-on so be sure there’s something that catches their eye from a few feet away.
Repeat this as a customer approaching your booth from the other direction.
Also, keep in mind if the event gets busy, shoppers may not see much through the crowds. Raising your display can help shoppers see your products from near and far.
You should be placing your show-stopping pieces in the spot shoppers notice first, keeping the main flow of traffic in mind.
Your craft show setup should also be using at least one eye-catching technique, (as explained in my 5 days to a standout display challenge and in this article) so shoppers immediately notice your space and get an overall vibe.
What I mean by vibe is; are your ideal customers immediately attracted to your space based on its style?
Think about when you go shopping in a new area. Let’s say you’re shopping for new clothes and you walk past several clothing stores; what makes you decide to go into some and skip others?
You pick up on the vibe of a store before you even step foot in it.
Craft show shoppers do the same as soon as they notice your booth from across the room. You either have “it” or you don’t. “It” being what they’re attracted to.
Consider this as well: have you ever noticed something you like in a store window but as you look at the rest of the display or get a glimpse inside the store you think; maybe you don’t like it after all?
I definitely have. A top will catch my eye and then I realize the store’s vibe is either too young, too mature, or too something for me.
That’s the reason you have to think beyond your products.
Your display holds so much weight and can alter the message you’re trying to send. Shoppers will notice it from across the room and decide, based on the vibe it gives off, whether or not they want to stop at it.
Join my free 5 day challenge to learn ALL the areas of your display you should be thinking about and how to carry your product’s message throughout.
If you have a full booth (e.g. a 10×10 space), walk into it and see how it feels. Does it feel cramped with just you in there? Consider placing some stock behind your table and perhaps removing a display fixture or two to give more elbow room.
If you don’t have all your stock out, keep an eye on people as they shop so you can pull out options from behind the table if they seem interested in an item. As products sell, you can restock from behind your table.
If you have a craft show table, rather than a booth, again, make sure there isn’t too much stock out. A crowded display makes it hard for people to shop.
>> Make sure you’re not offering too many types of products as well (here’s how to determine that).
Stand right in front of your table. What will the customer see from this angle? Empty boxes, tissue paper, and your lunch for the day?
Be sure everything you don’t want the customer to see is tucked under your table in a safe spot – this includes your cash box. Don’t forget to check the front of your table to be sure your tablecloth goes close to the floor so items under and behind the table can’t be seen.
2) Look at your Craft Show Display as the Event Organizer
Are you within your allotted space? If the organizers allowed every vendor to expand their display by a foot or two, they’d run into a problem with aisle space. Be sure your display is contained within your booth/table/alloted space and there aren’t tripping hazards spilling out into the aisle.
Don’t get too crazy with the types of products you bring/display. Craft show organizers will choose applicants based on the category of product they sell; they don’t want too many vendors selling the same items. If you stated on your application that you sell stuffed crochet animals but have decided last minute to put all your knitted scarves on display instead, organizers may not be pleased.
Your display should also be well-branded. Organizers have likely promoted which vendors are going to be at the event and maybe even given sneak peeks of the products they’ll be bringing. Do you have signage that helps shoppers find you by name?
If there’s an item of yours the organizers have shared on their social media or website, consider putting that front and center in your craft show display. Shoppers may be specifically looking for it.
For more rules you should be following if you want to be invited back to the event, check out: Craft Show Etiquette; What Organizers Expect
3) Look at your Craft Show Display as a Salesperson
Your display should be set up so it helps shoppers see how your products can be paired together. If a vendor is selling jewelry and has a pair of earrings that look great with one of their necklaces, those two items should be displayed next to each other; not be on opposite sides of the display.
You may also think like a salesperson and determine how you can use your surroundings to your advantage. Have a walk around the show to see what vendors in other categories are selling.
You may find items sold by other vendors that would work well with yours. When a shopper has purchased one of those items and they’re at your table, use it as an opportunity to suggest products of yours they may also be interested in (based on their prior purchase).
- Jewelry – “I love T-Shirts R Us! What did you pick up from them? I’ve had my eye on that t-shirt too; I’ve been thinking this necklace of mine would go great with it.”
- Stationery – “Who are the soaps for? A gift for your mom? This is the card I’m giving to my mom this Mother’s day.”
- Children’s products – “Cute sock monkey! Do you have a little one? This toy is my best-seller.”
Now consider how you can set your business apart from vendors who are selling in the same category as you.
For example, if a jewelry vendor notices other jewelry vendors tend to have a lot of delicate gold necklaces displayed, they may decide to highlight their silver pieces. Or, they may want to highlight what makes their gold necklaces different or better during their sales pitch.
You don’t want customers arriving at your booth and making the decision to keep walking because they’ve already seen 3 other vendors with similar items.
Figure out what will make you stand out among the other vendors in the same category as you and move those pieces into your zone 1.
Once you have drawn shoppers in, it’s time to sell to them. If you need tips when it comes to perfecting your sales pitch, download MAKE MORE MONEY AT CRAFT FAIRS. I dedicate an entire chapter to perfecting your sales skills and I promise, I don’t encourage you to use any techniques that will make you or your shoppers uncomfortable. It’s all about uncovering what works for you and implementing elements that make selling feel natural (and maybe even enjoyable).
You may also be interested in 5 ways you may be using craft shows wrong.
Let me know if you’re going to make any changes to your display or if you have any questions!
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!