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Craft Show Display Set Up Tips

Setting up a display for a craft show can be a daunting task. We are focused on what and how much to bring, how to price; but we neglect putting considerable thought into how to display our handmade items.

Believe it or not, a display set up can make or break your sales for the day and alter the message you’re trying to send. Your display must be inviting and representative of your style and niche and have obvious branding. If you aren’t sure what your “style” or “niche” is, listen to your customers, how do they refer to you? What items are picked up the most? Is it bought or set back down? It just takes a little fine tuning before each show to successfully brand your display.

Your display table should have 3 sections with each section playing an important role in your sales. Each section has an opportunity for what I call quiet sales and soft sales. If you have a successful display set up, you will have lots of quiet sales. If your table needs some display tweaking, or if you have a customer who isn’t sure, you will have to do a bit of work with some soft sales, but NEVER EVER do a hard sale pitch. Never. It’s a total turnoff.

Section 1 should contain your showstopper! The one item that will create the most buzz at your table. It should be the very first thing people see when they arrive at your table. I want to note that what you think your showstopper is, may in fact not be it. Don’t be afraid to change it if you see that a particular item is being picked up or sold more than your original item, you may have just found your next best seller! Also worth mentioning is that what sells well online may not be the item that sells well at a craft show and vice versa.

Now let’s talk about traffic flow. We all tend to stand in front of our display and view it head on. WRONG. Very rarely will traffic be headed to the center of your table. If the traffic comes from the right, then your showstopper should be at the right of your table and vice versa for traffic coming from the left.

As I mentioned before, if your display is set up in an inviting way, you will get soft sales with traffic that moves down the table to section 2, “Shopping zone” and onto section 3 “Checkout” with items in hand to purchase. If that isn’t happening, then your showstopper is an opportunity to start engaging with people moving then on down the table using a soft sale technique. An example of a soft sales technique is when someone comments on your showstopper “I love this color!” and your response could be something along the lines, “It’s one of my best sellers, I can hardly keep it in stock”. This creates a sense of urgency in their mind, without shoving the item into their hands. They will start to look down the table to section 2, the “Shopping zone”. You now have their invested interest in your products.

Section 2 or the “shopping zone”, should represent your focus products. This should be visually appealing with different heights to draw the eyes up and down and across the table.

Make sure that all items are accessible. Some display items are cute but not practical for shopping. For example, miniature Christmas trees seem like a cute display for ornaments, and makes sense, BUT many customers won’t pick up the ornament for fear of knocking the tree over or something else. If they can’t pick it up and look at it, they won’t buy it.

One of the most common mistakes vendors make is offering too many products. Keep it simple and consider your table size before setting up. Don’t overcrowd your products. If you only have 1 color of a certain item, then only put out 3. If they are contemplating the purchase, and only a few are on the table, it will give them pause and consider the purchase more seriously than if you have all 25 setting there.

Make sure that all products are priced. I know, I know, it’s time consuming to do this, but it is essential. As buyers we are conditioned to look for a price on the product. How frustrating is it when you are shopping, and you can’t find a price tag or pricing sign? A table full of different products, a sign that says “Tumblers $25” is easily overlooked and not to mention is taking up valuable real estate space for another product. Just do it. Make it easy for your customers right from the start.

Regarding pricing, I will talk more about that this week, but one thing you should offer is products with variety of sizes and prices in the shopping zone. Here is why. Say you have all the same size tumblers, and they are all priced at $40, but a customer really wants one, but $40 is more than she is willing to pay. She doesn’t have any other purchase options so she walks away, but if you had a smaller tumbler priced at $25, that may have well been in her budget and you just made a purchase.

Section 3 is your Checkout area! Success! This area is just as important as the rest of your table, if not MORE! In this section, place small items that are under $5. These are great impulse buys. Some people, just because they like YOU, your handmade items or your display WANT to buy something, but they may have already spent their allotted budget for the day but easily will justify it’s only “$5”.

Second, place your marketing material here, but I will say that I have found that a quarter sheet of paper with my social media presence, email and a list of dates, times, and locations of the shows for the year is more effective than business cards. Have a small sign that says accepts “PayPal, Venmo, etc” as people will ask!!! In fact, I also place this near my showstopper so that they will freely shop the rest of the table without worrying about how much cash is in their wallet.

Lastly – make sure there is room for them to set down their purse. You don’t want them setting it down on top of your products, potentially damaging them while they dig through their purse looking for their wallet.

You are going to want to do a mock set up of your display space at home before you go. It will help you determine how much actual space you have. It goes without saying that you will want to read all the rules in your contract to make sure you haven’t overlooked anything.

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