Crafty Fox Market's ultimate guide to making more sales at Christmas markets
At Crafty Fox Market, we know that while Christmas markets can be the most lucrative and exciting events in a designer-maker’s calendar, they can also cause a bit of stress without proper planning and preparation. In this series of articles we’ve assembled tips, tricks, and insider information from some experienced designer-makers featured in our Shopping with Soul directory, to help you prepare for the festive season. So far, we’ve looked at how to plan for Christmas markets and how best to display your products once you get there. In this article, we’re going to look more closely at the practical things you can do to make more sales at Christmas markets.
1) Offer perks through print and online marketing
Marketing is key to increasing sales both in the run-up to and directly after Christmas markets. Before each event, check that your online presence is updated and accessible, with links to these sites clearly indicated on all of your print materials. At the markets themselves, make sure you are armed with plenty of flyers and business cards and work them into your stall display. Even if sales are slow on the day, you would be surprised at how often someone picks up a flyer at an event and then follows up afterwards with a purchase online.
“There is always a spike of online sales post market when people that picked up a flyer or business card check out my online shop after the event.” – Jacqueline Colley
You could also consider including a special code on your flyers to give customers an extra push (and to help you track sales). Offering perks to customers who do follow you online is another great way to encourage in-person and online sales at this time of year, particularly if you can make them seasonal. Festive newsletters, special wrapping materials, and gift guides are all good ideas.
“I have a newsletter that I let my customers know where I will be. I increase the amount of events that I do over the Christmas period and try and do more locations, which allows my customers to see me in lots of different places and gives them reassurance that I'm around and trustworthy to buy from, which adds to the online sales.” – Lizzy Chambers
2) Display your prices and delivery times
Incorporating clear signage into your stall will help customers to make decisions and boost sales in-person and online. When setting up your stall, make sure your prices are clear at a glance; there is nothing more off-putting than having to hunt around on the stall for labels or ask the price of each individual item when browsing for last-minute presents. If you are offering any market-day discounts, personalisation offers, or deals on commissions, advertise this on your stall and on social media. Let customers know if you can take orders at the event and post them once the items are ready, and if you can guarantee delivery before Christmas.
“I think the most effective offer that I have is speedy shipping. People really panic about Christmas gifts not arriving so definitely have one day shipping as an add on, and make sure you're getting everything out on time.” – Alice Tams, Birds in Hats
3) Appeal to last-minute Christmas shoppers as well as regulars
Whilst some of the customers browsing at your stall may know your story and follow you online, many of them will be newcomers who might need some encouragement before making a purchase. Can you group some items and present them as a giftbox? Can you offer discounts on packs of Christmas cards, or market some smaller pieces as stocking fillers?
Seasonal gift-wrapping is another great way to encourage sales, in-person and online. It can also be helpful to demonstrate how an item can be used, both at Christmas markets and all year round. For example, a ceramic pot could be used a pen pot, a flower pot, or to store crockery in the kitchen.
“I do lots of deals of Christmas cards and Christmas decorations, 4 for £10, buy 4 get one free, whatever you prefer. If it's an item people usually buy more than one of anyway, this usually seals the deal.” – Alice Tams, Birds in Hats
“When I send my orders out they are filled with either twinkly or silver star tissue paper. I'm just in the process of adding a gift-wrapping option for my clients on the website so if the presents are going direct they are ready to pop under the tree!” – Lizzy Chambers
4) Make shopping at your stall an easy, festive experience
Though Christmas markets come with a festive atmosphere of their own, you should still make shopping at your stall a fun and festive experience. Planning is key here. Make it easy for customers to shop at your stall and get a mobile payment device. Give yourself time to get it up and running before the event starts, and prepare for contactless payments as increasingly, customers expect to be able to pay by card and don’t want to waste time hunting for a cash machine. Prepare to be busy: you may need to bring more stock than usual or recruit helpers to run the stall with you for part (or all) of the event. Finally, incorporate some festive touches into your stall display, making sure that they show off your products and complement your brand.
“I try to make my stand look fairly festive and cheerful. Battery powered fairy lights are king!” – Alice Tams, Birds in Hats
“Offering gift wrapping at Christmas markets and dressing up my stall with a nod to Christmas helps; fairy lights, candles, nice baubles. I bring more stock and I prepare to be busier and sometimes recruit staff to help. I'll have seasonal products like Christmas cards available too.” – Samantha Warren
5) Bring your best self!
Most importantly, remember that people buy from people! Crafty Fox Market customers come to the events looking for handmade, unique, high-quality pieces made by real people. Be ready to smile, to engage with talkative customers, and to chat about your products and how you made them. Bring snacks, stay hydrated, and avoid spending too much time on your phone (post those social media updates quickly!).
“If you're a chatty person, embrace it, engage people and tell them about your work - if you're more reserved it's totally fine to give people a smile and leave them to it, a lot of people like to shop in peace! However, if you are a quieter person, it's not a bad idea to have an information point somewhere on your stand that explains who you are, how you make your things etc. It can be a great conversation starter!” – Alice Tams, Birds in Hats
“I'm not a 'natural' sales person but I do find that if I chat to people and tell them about my work and influences that is more likely to lead to a sale than hiding behind my stock which can be tempting!” – Jacqueline Colley
With your stock made, display perfected, special offers formulated, and marketing up-to-date, you should be able to arrive at the Christmas markets feeling confident and ready to make lots of sales. Even last-minute, there are plenty of things you can do to increase sales around Christmas, both online and at the events, as the advice from our regular designer-makers has shown. Above all, remember to take a few moments to reward yourself for your hard work and join in with the festivities, if you can. Mulled wine isn’t just for customers…
Good luck! We hope you have a lovely Christmas.
Written by Lily Taylor