Food shows, farmer's markets and trade shows are a great way for small food businesses to increase sales, create brand awareness and meet customers. So how do you ensure a successful show? We talked to three of our booth buddies, all show pros who were kind enough to share what they’ve learned, where they’ll be, and what their best sellers are.
1) When getting ready for shows it is hard to predict what the crowd will be like, so err on the side of caution and make sure you have plenty of stock ready to go. It becomes a wasted opportunity if you sell out and have no product left by the end of a show.
2) Make sure you have good signage and a bright booth, as no one wants to approach a dimly lit booth.
3) Also, having a “show special” or a deal for customers to purchase right then and there helps sales because people are always looking for a deal.
Upcoming shows: Holiday Market at Nathan Philips Square.
Best Seller: This season it’s our MINI Sample Pack featuring five of our gourmet hot sauces.
1) It’s important to have an attractive and inviting stand that welcomes people in. Samples are always popular and often people who don't expect to buy, will buy because they are 'smitten' with something they sampled at your stand.
2) It also important to be persistent, if you feel a show will be successful, give it a chance to build. In other words, if you go to a show more than once, you will start to build your buyers who come to look for you there, as they expect you to be attending that show.
3) Most importantly, be well informed, friendly, interested and available to all customers. If you can give customers good information about your products, they’ll become more engaged and interested.
Best Seller: Our skincare line is our most popular goat milk product and of the skincare products the soap has the largest volume of sales.
1) The most important aspect of a successful show is to be prepared! Make sure to have all your numbers worked out, and keep a master list of everything you need for that particular show. Sometimes when it gets closer to show time, you can really be distracted and forget important things (like your cash box)!
2) Remember too that you can’t always predict what will be your best seller, it all depends on the crowd, so have plenty of everything.
Best Seller: Our toffee cookies, which are both sweet and savoury, with a rich and deep flavour, almost always win people over!
We have done a few shows ourselves and couldn’t agree more with the input from our booth buddies, but have a few tips of our own.
1) Be sure you have a set up where you can take more than just cash. Square is an excellent resource for small business and even though you pay them a small percentage from each transaction it is better than watching the sale walk on by.
2) Don’t wait for sales to approach your booth. There are a million distractions at a show and sometimes you can miss a customer simply because they got distracted. Don’t be a wall flower. Engage with customers as they walk by – draw them into your booth.
3) If it is more than a one day show be sure to wear different shoes each day. Shows are physically demanding and you want to give your body a fighting chance. Changing your shoes, changes your posture even in the smallest way. Trust me, your aches and pains will thank me.
If you’re a new food business, and you want to learn more about shows, kitchens, suppliers, or anything else, get in touch!
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Written by Farhana Choudry, Intern