As a customer, what makes a good shopping experience? Of course, the shop has to look lovely, the products need to be to your taste and the prices need to be right. But it’s more than a pretty shop and nice products, don’t you think? You want good customer service too. Understanding the psychology of selling can help turn an average shopping experiences into an amazing one.
I’m guessing that you’ve been into a shopping centre on a Saturday and become frustrated by the shop assistant that isn’t interested in helping you or engaging? You definitely don’t expect this to happen at a market where the sellers all know their products. Where their own livelihood depends on good sales, right? Well, sometimes it does.
We often overhear stallholders during an event. So often conversations centre around how big the crowd is, whether it’s a ‘good’ market this time, how sales are up or down. We often have stallholders themselves come to us worried that they haven’t done as well as they expected. They might not like their spot, they might think the crowds are smaller, they might think they’re too close to competitors or not like their neighbours.
We are always happy to help work with stallholders on how things are going. We look at the product, how much there is, is it displayed a particular way, you can see the prices? All of these things might be in order, but the customers might still be walking straight past and there’s usually a reason for that. So next we look at the seller. And so often we find that it’s not the set up that is impacting sales, but rather the customer service experience.
LOST IN THE CROWD
While you’re at the market have a proper look at the crowds. Lots of shoppers is great, but fewer people means more space and more relaxed shoppers who can spend more time browsing and chatting. We often find that the periods in which there are smaller crowds are the most lucrative for sales. Analyse who is shopping and adapt rather than letting your worries show.
We are very careful at Handmade to curate stalls by category. We try not to put too many jewellery sellers in at a time for example, even though it’s a popular category. This helps everyone, but in the real world, one candle seller is in competition with every other online candle seller in the world. So your own unique product, stall or selling style is something to focus on to help you stand out from the competition, whether online or at a market. Don’t worry about what they’re doing. Make your own offering as good as it can be, engage your customers and know that you are the best at what you do.
We all love our phones – they help us connect – and yes, it’s an addiction. But it’s also a crutch. It’s the thing we look at when we’re waiting for a bus or sitting on our own in a cafe. Hopefully you’re not on your phone when you’re out with friends or family – many groups are now leaving their phones in their bags so they can engage properly. Of course, the same applies to selling at a market. Unfortunately, as creative introverts, the makers of the world don’t necessarily relish putting themselves out there. It makes you vulnerable, but if you’re going to make your living out of what you make, you have to engage with the people buying it.
Life is busy and difficult. Stressful things happen, especially when you’re trying to prepare for a big sales event. Unfortunately though, wearing your heart on your sleeve and failing to put a smile on your face is a definite no-no when you are selling. You might have had car trouble and arrived late to set up. You might have had a family issue or you might just be overtired. It’s easy to blame external factors but your own state of mind, if negative, can lead to a lack of connection with your customers. Especially at Handmade, where connection is everything, it will lead to underwhelming sales. So here is what you need to make your mantra at every sales opportunity. Focus on these, not the difficulties, and you might just find your market turns around.
- If it’s possible, stand up
- Make eye contact
- Say “Hello”
- Tell the customer more about the product they’re looking at
- Find out how their market experience is going
- Ask them what they’ve bought so far
- Smile and the world smiles with you. – Stanley Gordon West
For other great tips on selling at markets and online, head over to our Brandmade blogs.