How to sell from a pop-up stall
A pop-up stall is a great way to scope interest for your product and to get initial sales, as well as a way to take advantage of special occasions or events. Recently we teamed up with Virgin Trains to set up pop-up stalls at train stations across the UK where VSU-funded businesses could trade for a day, getting their wares in front of thousands of commuters.
One of these businesses was Rovernighter, a business creating dog travel bags that fold out into a bed for your pet. We caught up with founder Ruth Lucas to get her top tips on attracting people to your pop-up, and making those all-important sales.
How did you attract people to your stall?
I had a big colourful banner that stood out against the booking hall. I also made sure that the display looked good (a useful trick with displays that someone once taught me is to have things at different heights - it makes peoples' eyes travel up and down and they pay more attention when they have to do that apparently). I put out a range of what we do, so there was a number of things to look at and made sure that there was plenty of information for them.
Also when I saw people looking, asked them if they wanted to know about us. You can’t be too “in your face”, but being shy doesn't work at all - you are there to promote your business after all.
Have you sold from a pop-up before the Trains opportunity?
Not for this product, I have done events and pop up with another business I have (Joy by Design, which is a jewellery business). From that experience I know you have to make the display look inviting and that colour works to draw attention.
Do you find it useful for making sales, or are pop-ups better for raising awareness?
I made some sales on the day, but given the nature of the Rovernighter and its price bracket, sales where concentrated on our accessories range. It was useful for raising awareness and allowing me to speak to people that would had not seen or found out about my product before and to show them how quickly it worked and the quality of it. I had lot of people showing an interest in the information and taking it away for friends and family that they thought it would suit too.
How can you get the most from a pop-up opportunity?
Do a bit of planning in advance, think about how your display will look and think about what you want to get out of the opportunity. If you want loads of sales, you will need to think that people are usually in a bit of a hurry to get somewhere, so they will want to be able to buy and take something quickly (also that may affect what they will pay). I had a card reader, so that got round the cost issue, but cash sales will generally be for smaller amounts.
If you want to raise awareness, think about what you want to get across and what you want them to take away. Make sure you have info they can take, such as a leaflets and information about how to contact you if they want to in the future. Also try and get people to leave their details so they can join your list (not always easy, but worth asking or leaving things out for them to sign up to, such as your newsletter).
What would you do differently next time?
I would make sure I was more warmly dressed (it did get a bit cold on there) and also I would make sure that I pushed joining my mailing list a bit more.
Any top tips?
Think about it in advance and plan what you want to get out of the day, and with that what you will take and how it will look. Don't expect everyone to be interested and want to know, even the ones that come over to look (some of them are just filling time and do not want to talk to you, so don't be offended.
Most of all, keep smiling and talking. The last person of the day needs the same energy and interest from you as the first person. The impression they get will stay with them.