How can we help our vendors increase their visibility?

Dear FMNS,

We have a really busy market, which we are very proud of, but some of our vendors tell us that we are too busy and their stands are being overlooked so they are missing out on sales. How can we help them to make themselves and their products more visible?


Manager of a thriving market


Dear Manager,

We offer a great presentation called ‘Keeping your Customer Satisfied’ which helps vendors to think more like customers so that they can create a display that has more impact and which allows their customers to buy more of what they need. We have archived it on our YouTube channel and you are welcome to share this with your vendors.

A common problem faced by vendors is that they don’t have enough selection to fill a table, so they don’t have strong visual impact. These vendors either need to use props that are eye-catching or work with other vendors with complimentary products to collaboratively market them. A booth selling hats, bags and shoes will attract a certain kind of shopper who may buy a hat as a gift and a bag for themselves!

The benefits of collaborating to share space are multiple

  • Reduced table rent through sharing space.
  • Greater visual impact
  • Spin-off sales
  • Someone to share the management of the table with so you can take a week off, or grab some lunch (or a bathroom break).

Some vendors sell products that aren’t a strong fit, despite coming from the same farm. When was the last time you saw honey, polish and candles in the same spot in a supermarket? Customers shop based on what they plan to do with a product (eat it, wear it, wash with it, etc) and not based on the raw ingredient. So if you sell beef AND leather jackets you might want to consider asking a fellow clothes vendor to sell your jackets for you.

Some products have poor visual impact based on how they have to be stored – frozen meat for example. Some clever farmers have built freezers with clear tops, but the meat is still often wrapped or not clearly visible. This is where great labeling comes in – a cartoon of a cow on each of your beef steaks, or a sheep on your lamb chops. You can make your booth look more interesting by having photos of your livestock on pasture with chalk boards clearly listing your products and prices.

Vendors can help each other out by taking note of their customers shopping and recommending other products in the market. ‘This chutney goes really well with this havarti’ or ‘if you are looking for something else for Valentine’s Day, this vendor sells really exquisite soaps’.

Some vendors are already actively collaboratively marketing. Great packages for Valentine’s Day this year included Surf and Turf with wine and flowers. For the tighter budget there were honey crisp apples tied up with red ribbons and a white chocolate heart.

Markets could create fliers with lists of themed products which customers looking for gluten-free products or vegetarian foods or organic products could use as a pre-made shopping list.

Finally, markets could offer themed gift baskets as a way of showcasing the best of what the market has to offer. Themes could include new baby, retirement, bath time, wine and cheese, sweet-tooth, fall bounty etc., etc. Customers could order them a week in advance at the info booth, someone could collect the contents from the vendors the following week and assemble them into a basket ready for collection by the customer. Markets need to factor in the cost of the packaging and the time taken to do the assembling into the price of the basket and can even charge a little extra to raise money for the market.

Congratulations on your thriving market and keep up the great work!