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Have you noticed that some market stalls seem to attract crowds of eager customers while others languish with barely a visitor? What is the key difference between them? Let’s take a look.
We know a thing or two about market stalls. That’s thanks to our expertise and experience in arranging stallholder insurance as part of our wider, 25 years of involvement in the specialist insurance market.
Successful market stalls are usually not conjured up by chance. They are the product of careful and meticulous planning and research. If you want to attract the crowds and sell to them, you need to know just what the crowds want, what will convince them to buy, and how much they will be prepared to pay.
Planning will encompass your choice of a market stall – is it part of a permanent market, for example, or a one-off, one-day event? Perhaps it’s a weekly street market or even a farmers’ market – which might influence the kind of products you sell. A car-boot sale might be one of the easiest ways of testing out your initial stallholder skills.
Some fairs will require you to hold Public Liability as standard practice and upon booking your stall, you may well be asked to provide a copy of your certificate.
Public Liability Insurance for stallholders protects you if a third party makes a claim against you for injury or damage for which you are found to be responsible for. Consider also getting insurance cover for your products and equipment in case they get damaged whilst at the Craft Fair.
Just as you would for any other kind of enterprise, you must ensure there is demand for the type of products you are selling.
Ask yourself how that demand is also met by competing outlets – such as shops, supermarkets, online stores, and so on – so that you can develop a unique selling point for your stall.
For example, you might want to emphasise that your products are locally sourced, are fresher than your competitors, or are cheaper than customers will find elsewhere.
Once you’ve completed your planning and research, it’s time to buy the goods you’ll be selling.
Stock control will be an important measure of your success as a stallholder – too much in hand and you will have spent more than necessary. Not enough and you will be unable to meet your customers’ demands. Neither situation will help the bottom line of your business.
That is where a business plan will come into its own – showing you when you’re best placed to buy the products you want to sell and how much stock you might need to keep in hand and store. Those questions will also be influenced, of course, by the availability – or cost – of the necessary storage space.
Also, you may need to think seasonally – if you are planning on selling clothes, for example, then buy in clothes for the current and perhaps the next season.
By its very definition, a market stall is unlikely to require much at all in the way of equipment. Whatever is necessary – food-slicers, scales, or the like – you can probably start off with the very minimum and add further pieces of useful equipment as the business grows.
Once you’ve set up, running your market stall will require ongoing marketing – to attract new customers and reassure existing customers that you’re still in business offering even better deals than ever.
Your operations will also need to comply with whatever regulations, bylaws and legislation apply to your particular line of business.
Trading from market stalls, for instance, is regulated through licensing systems operated by the relevant local council. The size of your stall, its location, and when you can run it are all questions set out in your licence – and the details, of course, vary from one local authority to another. Whether your licence allows you to trade permanently or on a temporary or casual basis is also made clear in your licence.
Consult the official website to find out which local council grants market stall trader licences in the area in which you are interested.
Market stalls offer a unique and relatively easy introduction to trading. Follow some of the steps we’ve described, and you might be on your way to creating a successful grass-roots business.