So … here we are in 2021 with another lockdown, more weirdness and lots of small businesses trying to forge their way through everything. Craft markets are one of my absolute favourite things but sadly they just aren’t possible at the moment with people gathered all together. However online markets are here to help!
Now, I completely get that online markets aren’t the same … you can’t have that face to face chat with customers and customers cannot touch and try your products before they buy. However remember there’s also not the lugging all your stock around, getting stressed setting up your stall, standing for hours behind your table and then having to pack everything back up again !
Unfortunately we can’t attend physical markets at the moment so online markets are the one to go for – even when we can return to in person markets I think that there is certainly room for both. But do not fear there is a whole world of amazingness (definitely a word!) to be discovered with online markets, especially with Brown Paper Festival!
💚 I bring the community aspect to my online markets … one of my favourite parts of a physical market is meeting fellow stallholders, exchanging tips and advice, and just chatting! I’ve made so many friends through craft markets and absolutely love the social aspect, it’s so important when you work by yourself.
In Brown Paper Festival’s online markets I organise group chats for stallholders to get to know each other before and during the market. I also host group zoom calls in the run up to the event … there’s no pressure to attend but they are always so lovely! We chat about the market, I answer any questions anyone has, there’s the standard tv chat (Tiger King came up a lot last year!!) and it’s just so lovely to put faces to the businesses! It’s so wonderful and is something I’m so proud to offer as part of the experience
💚 Physical markets are limited in many ways to their location. Generally you’re only going to be attracting local audiences and people who live nearby. However with online markets there’s really no limit on who can visit!
Last year the markets had between 3000 and 5000 views on the website which is amazing and I hope, will only keep increasing each time! The best way for this to keep going up is promotion … Last year I sent out bundles of handmade products to lovely influencers, I hosted a giveaway and I shared constantly on social media. This year I have plans to work with more influencers, contact magazines and press, possibly another giveaway and lots more! It also works so much better if the stallholders share regularly on their social media too …
💚 You don’t have to lug all your stock and display around! Halleluiah !!
However I do recommend potentially setting up a little ‘stall display’ and then do a series of Instagram stories, a video or a live showing customers around the set up.
💚 As I mentioned earlier the fact that you don’t have that face to face contact with customers is a downside but you can do a few things to lessen the gap.
– Host a live that you’ve promoted on your social media. Show your products up close, discuss new pieces, welcome questions from customers, show them round your mini display and you’ll show that there is a face behind the business!
– Pre record a video if lives make you nervous! Line up a range of products show and really talk through the details that they would miss just from images … maybe your jewellery has some iridescent parts that you find tricky to photograph or there are 3d parts to your work that 2d photos don’t show !
– Film individual stories of specific products close up. At physical markets customers love to pick up products and see them up close so offer that through Instagram stories … set up a camera/phone and film 360 degrees of your products!
– Pop some polls, question boxes and other interactive functions on Instagram stories … this will hopefully encourage customers to interact with you in a similar way to the way they would at in person markets!
💚 How often do potential customers take a business card and then loose it as soon as they leave the market ? A lot right ?
Well through an online market they can like your page straight away, they can also save posts and bookmark websites. And, although we know the algorithms won’t mean that they will always see you popping up in their feed, they will be able to find you much easier. Try as much as possible to remind followers that they need to interact with your posts be that liking, commenting, sharing or hitting the ‘super like’ save button!
So … what do you think ? It’s worth a try for your business as I know so many who have done enormously well when they’ve taken part in online markets!
Of course it doesn’t work for everyone – as with physical markets too! But I genuinely believe that even if you don’t make loads of sales, if you throw yourself into the community aspect as well you’ll learn so much and meet lots of new people. I also promote every business in the run up to the market so you’ll hopefully also gain more followers and increase traffic too!
If you are interested click the button below and have read through the details … then fill in the application form and you’re sorted ! But be quick, there’s only a couple of days left to apply as applications close on Friday 8th January …