Coping with Slow Days at the Market

Dear FMNS,

Some days at market are slower than others. How can we help keep spirits high even on slow days?

Coping With Slow Days at the Market


Dear Coping With Slow Days at the Market,

We all know that some days are busier than others. And on some days it’s as much as you can do not to pack up your wares and go home. But you can’t and here are some really good reasons why it’s worth putting a smile on your face because the rewards will come in the long run.

Customers need consistency

If the market is open and you are there every Thursday year round, your customers won’t ever have to wonder if the market is open or not. It’s open every Thursday year round – even on dreary days in January, they know that the market is open. If they ever have to question it, they might not show up.

If you aren’t there, customers have to make alternative plans

Most people are creatures of habit. Once you break them of one habit i.e. buying your beef every Saturday at the farmers’ market, they might form new habits elsewhere. It’s 10 times easier to keep a customer than it is to get a new one, and re-engaging an old one can be very challenging once they’ve started shopping elsewhere.

If you aren’t there, how will they know when you will be there again?

Vendors who pack up and leave early, or skip some weeks, are not able to communicate with their customers. If you aren’t there at 12 noon and a customer arrives at 12:05, they won’t know that you were there for the rest of the day. And besides, the fact that they could have bought cheese at 11:55 does not help them if they are there at 12:05. If the market is open, you should be there too.

Smiles make Sales

We’re not big fans of malls, but they do know how to sell things. If you go to the mall at a quiet time you don’t find the staff of the stores wandering around with cups of coffee chewing the fat with their neighbors. You don’t have to stand around near the cash looking helplessly for someone to serve you. You don’t need to make encouraging noise to persuade someone to put down their book or their knitting and you certainly don’t have to listen to the sales staff grumbling about how quiet it is, how bored they are and how they might not show up next week.

Face it, we all like to spend time with cheerful people and avoid people who are grumpy. Your customers buy from you because they like you and not just because they like your products.

One comment from a customer at a Nova Scotia Farmers’ Market stated “Fantastic products, lousy service”. This doesn’t reflect on all vendors at all farmers’ markets, but if your face and your arms aren’t aching at the end of the day from all the smiling you’ve been doing and all the hugs you’ve been giving, then the chances are you’re missing out on some repeat customers.