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Virtual Markets – 6 guidelines for stallholder success by DBP

Virtual Markets - Watercolour Artist

Are you participating in a Virtual Market?

We are all no doubt aware that many market events have totally gone virtual!

It’s new territory for a lot of us for sure. At DBP, we’re seeing some successful virtual markets whereas some are not-so-successful. What we’ve noticed however is that the overall outcomes of the market are coming down to the individual stallholder participant, maybe even more so than in the real life setting.

In the interests of our goals, the overall success and longevity of this community, we thought we’d share some guidelines based on what we’ve gleaned so far about virtual market participation, and how you can optimise your inclusion for success.

Hint: it’s actually not that different from real life markets, but there are some tweaks to be made.

READ THE STALLHOLDER COMMUNICATIONS

I can’t tell you as someone who has participated in events on both sides of the coin how important it is to actually read through the communications you receive from event organisers.

Yes you are paying a fee, but often in the virtual market realm, there are also obligations for you to fulfil. You may need to use a special coupon code in order to participate for example, and that may be specific to the market you’re involved in.

You may also be required to use your social media channels in order to ensure everyone is doing what they can to promote the event to the broader community. You may have a minimum number of posts you need to produce with specific content, event hashtags and tagging requirements.

We see some stallholders not follow this basic requirement of reading the communications and as a result they miss out on sales based around the event itself.

If you’re paying money to participate, get involved and make it the best possible day for yourself and everyone involved.

STOCKING YOUR SHOP

Have a range of products available on your website. We’ve seen a few markets lately where you might click through to someone’s website from the event base page and there’s literally only 3-4 things for sale.

This is a missed opportunity! Make sure you not only have a decent product offering available to choose from but that you have also got all of your product photography, descriptions, pricing and other details tip top.

Make sure you give consideration, as always, to the 3-tier pricing strategy you hear everyone talking about as well. If you don’t know what I mean, get in touch, we’d love to help you.

OFFERS AND COUPON CODES

Most virtual markets will require you to have a special offer on the day. This provides an incentive for shoppers to spend money on the actual day itself, and promotes a flurry of transactions throughout the community.

Consider what kind of offer will suit your shoppers the best, given that they are unable to be there on the day.

For example, an obvious choice is free shipping, since shipping is not a cost people have to cover when they’re at a market in person. (We always encourage free shipping on web sales but more on that in another blog post to come).

Maybe there’s a special event coming up (Valentines, Mother’s Day, Christmas) that means you can provide gift wrapping and/or direct delivery to the gift recipient.

Think about what will make your customer’s lives easier right now. That should be the driving force behind your decision as to what kind of offer you provide.

Of course discounts are always attractive too. Perhaps you have a mix of offers. Make sure you’re finding that balance between customer needs and business goals.

REMOVE ALL BARRIERS ON YOUR WEBSITE

Since the virtual markets tend to link to your own website, it’s super important to make sure it’s up to scratch.

Is it easy to navigate? Is it simple to click to your shop? Have you done some “virtual merchandising” with your latest products at the forefront?

Is there a link to a page which outlines the special offer you have for this market on your home page? Is it clear that you’re participating in the market event that day?

Without a robust online shop for the event, it will make buying from you that much harder.

Remove all of the potential barriers for customers and make it an enjoyable shopping experience to optimise your sales on the day of the event.

SOCIAL MEDIA

This is probably the most important part that you have to play in the overall success of the virtual event for the community and of course for yourself.

In this instance, it’s actually NOT THAT DIFFERENT to in person market participation.

Post your involvement. Share the posters from the event organisers. Use the hashtags that you’ve been provided with.

Make sure you tag the event organisers so that they can share your posts to their stories.

Give people an insight into the brand that you are. Show the uniqueness of your offering. You’ll be getting repeat (and new) customers from your own online following, but make sure those who find you for the first time on the day have a clear means to discover your brand.

Talk about the products and the special offers you’ll have at the event in the lead up.

Show people some behind the scenes shots of you to reinforce your brand narrative, that you have a small business, that your items are handmade (if they are), and that you run the show from your home studio (if you do). These are important stories to share with your current and new following.

Give some consideration to how you will use your social channels on the day of the event itself. Talking to camera through live studio tours, sharing details of your products and your brand in your feed, always including those important hashtags and tags so that the event can on-share your images and stories is the way to go. It’s a great time to utilise the Instagram Stories Question sticker and consider answering those questions live on camera.

Create some momentum, enjoy the hype, watch the sales happen.

TECHNOLOGY FOR CONTENT AND MEDIA INTERVIEWS

When virtual markets decide to do live interviews with stallholders on the day, if you’re one of the chosen, it’s important to be ready.

What does the background look like when you turn on your camera? Do you have any background noise that might be distracting? Does your sound create feedback?

In any interview scenario, make sure you listen to the question, take a pause and answer as clearly and concisely as possible. Live interviews are not an opportunity to stand on a soap box or to just talk. Conversations are much more engaging to watch than a diatribe. Smile, have fun, think about your own key messaging, your brand story in brief, your unique selling point and most importantly the products to spruik and your special offer on the day. Writing those things down out of screen visibility makes it THAT much easier.

All in all, as we’ve said, there’s a lot about virtual market participation that is no different to in person markets. Basically, you get out of it what you put into it, so give it your all.

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D’Alton Baker Productions support creative Australian businesses with a variety of special services and mentoring.

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