By Robert Cyr
Consider the various flea markets available to you. Depending on where you are geographically, you may have access to specialized flea market events as well as more general flea markets. It can oftentimes be much more profitable to sell at specialty markets, rather than general markets where anything goes. The types of specialized flea markets that are available include: arts and crafts, antiques, clothing and accessories and more. So if you’re located in an area where flea markets abound, take the time to do research and see if you can find some that are dedicated to the kind of products you’re trying to sell.
An easy way to find flea markets in your area is to visit greatfleamarket.com
On your mark, get set, go… Having a booth in close proximity to the entrance can help you increase sales since you’ll get more exposure than more remote booths, especially if it is a large market. If buyers need to walk past your booth (well, hopefully they’ll actually stop at it) on both their way in and way out, you will definitely improve your chances for sales relative to other booths that a buyer may only see once and potentially forget about. Furthermore, be ready to sell as soon as the doors open – it is said that the first hour and the last hour of flea markets are when vendors should expect to make the bulk of their earnings.
Keep your table full! If your table starts to look a little sparse, it will turn buyers off as nobody wants to feel like their buying picked over merchandise. Having your merchandise organized beforehand will allow you to easily replenish the products as they begin to sell. You may not need to have all of it out at one time, but it is a good idea to keep your booth stocked throughout the day. An empty booth and sparse tables will turn potential buyers away. A colorful, well-stocked, professional looking table is much more appealing to buyers than one which looks like its on its last legs.
Leave some space! Have you ever been to a flea market where you were bumped and squeezed against the table as foot traffic tried to get by? If people are uncomfortable when they are browsing they will be less likely to stick around and buy, so make sure that your potential customers have room to comfortably view the merchandise without being run over by other customers.
Plan an adequate supply of money as well, so start the day with plenty of change! Don’t rely on change from your early sales to make enough change for later sales, as that usually doesn’t work out. Ensure that you have at least a few hundred in twenties, tens fives and so on, as well as at least ten dollars in the various coins. When you do it this way, you will be confident in your ability to make change for any transaction.
All merchandise needs to display a clear price. While many folks who shop at flea markets will prefer to haggle, they would also like to know the “starting point”. If you fail to tag certain items with a price, you may find that you lose sales as it will scare off some buyers who speculate the price is higher than it actually is. Tags and pricing signs should look new and sharp as reused or less-than-presentable tags will make the products appear of similarly substandard quality.
Offer a deal – “I’ll give that to you at 10 percent off” “Buy two and you can have thirty percent off”. Leave wiggle room so that you can make such statements – this forces the prospective buyer to communicate with you (whether it’s a ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘maybe’ response) and can help turn casual browsers into actual customers.
Check out the competition – If you’re selling t-shirts for ten dollars, but another vendor is selling similar t-shirts for half that, who do you think is going to get the sales? Make sure to take time to scope out the competition (or have a helper do it) to make sure you’re not pricing yourself out of the market.
Lastly, don’t forget the bags. Hopefully you’ll start with lots at the beginning of the day and very few at the end!