Finding Success at Flea Markets

by Danielle Bloom

2 min read

Selling at flea markets can be a fun way to meet people, travel, and make a bit of extra money. In other cases, these sales can provide a full-time living. Whether you want to do a couple shows a year or devote as much time as possible to flea markets, follow these strategies to boost your success.

Research the Venues

If you’ve got time and there’s no exhibition fee, you’ve got nothing to lose when it comes to trying a new flea market. On the other hand, if the market charges a booth rental fee, you need to ensure it’s worth your while. Talk with the market’s rep about attendance numbers and demographics of attendees. If possible, go to the flea market, look around, and talk with other vendors before booking your spot.

Track Your Success

When you sell at a flea market, track your sales, and compare those numbers to attendance numbers. Over time, you can develop a metric to help you judge the potential profitability of new markets. If you know that you sell an average of $50 for every 1,000 attendees, that figure suggests that you should stay away from events with low attendance and focus on the larger shows.

Make a Visually Appealing Display

An attractive display is essential if you want passersby to stop and check out your wares. Keep this in mind as you arrange your booth. You may want to take different merchandising approaches depending on the type of event. For instance, with family events, you may want bins of toys near the front of the display. Also, make sure your price tags are visible. Many customers may not be willing to ask prices; if they can’t see them, they may keep walking.

Accept Credit Cards

A lot of shoppers still bring a wad of cash to a flea market, but many bargain hunters expect to be able to pay with plastic. So you never have to turn away a sale, consider using a product such as Square to accept credit card payments. This card reader attaches to your smartphone or tablet, and it uses data from your smartphone plan to process credit card sales. Best of all when customers pay with Square, it’s easier than tracking sales on paper, and you can sync the information to your QuickBooks accounting software.

Expand Advertising Lists

If you want to maximize your potential sales, don’t just rely on flea markets as one-time events. Instead, try to collect the names and contact information of as many people as possible. Then, when appear at a new flea market, you can invite your fans. If you have a website of your items, you can also email clients and encourage them to check out new inventory. If you like, you can simply lay out a signup sheet, or you can try to collect even more names with a drawing for a free prize. At flea markets, you can sell arts and crafts, marked-up treasures you found at garage sales or auctions, or even commercial goods bought in bulk. These events tend to draw shoppers looking for almost anything, and with the right approach to sales, you can carve out a successful niche for your merchandise.

References & Resources

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