Holiday markets pop up throughout the season. They happen in cities throughout the country. You’ll sometimes hear them referred to as Christmas markets or Kris Kringle markets. And these seasonal shopping events usually include tons of gift items, food, and sometimes even holiday themed entertainment.
Some of these markets focus on handmade items or other specific niches. But many are open to any small retail business that could appeal to holiday shoppers. So participating could help you reach more customers, make more sales, and potentially even make connections that last even after the busy shopping season has passed.
If your small retail business does not participate in a holiday market, you can really be missing out. Here’s why, and how, to join in.
Set Up Your Business at a Holiday Market
Find Holiday Markets in Your Area
There are tons of holiday markets around the country. Some are open throughout the holidays. Others are just set up on weekends or for a few days at a time. Start by searching online or asking around at your local Chamber of Commerce or business organizations to find where the best markets are that fit your needs. Then you should research the requirements, fees, locations, hours, and target shopping market for each to find the options that are most relevant for your business.
Sign Up or Apply
Once you find a market that fits your needs, visit their website or contact their leadership team to sign up as a vendor. You may need to fill out an application and wait for approval. Fees vary by location and market type as well. So you may need to have some backups in place in case a particular market does not accept your business or the fees are out of your budget this year.
Decide What to Sell
If you already run a retail business, you likely have a solid inventory of products to offer. But not every item is necessarily well suited for holiday markets. Instead of bringing a cross section of everything, focus on the items that make popular holiday gifts or impulse purchases, since that’s what people tend to buy at these markets. Think things like scented candles, Christmas ornaments, chocolate gift boxes, knit hats, Christmas wreaths, and cute home accessories. Your inventory should also be eye catching and well suited for the clientele at that specific market. For example, if you’re applying for a holiday market in a trendy part of town, you should bring the items that appeal to a younger crowd, rather than those that are geared toward older buyers.
Decorate Your Booth
A Christmas market also serves as a fun and festive shopping experience for people. So it’s not enough just to have your products available. You should also try to contribute to the vibe of the market by decorating your booth with garland, lights, ornaments, or even a Christmas tree if there’s room. You can integrate some of these items into your product displays. For example, set up a small tree to show off your unique ornaments for sale. You might even have some quiet holiday music playing if the market allows it. This creates a memorable experience for people and can also help you draw more potential shoppers to your booth.
Post About It Online
If your business has an existing following online, use those platforms to bring more people to your Kris Kringle market booth in person. Post updates and photos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or wherever you communicate with your customers online. Be sure to include the market’s location, hours, and any other relevant details they should know before stopping by. This can be especially beneficial for businesses that mainly operate online and are using holiday markets as their main in-person shopping experience. Some customers may prefer to shop with you at a market so they can see products in person before buying. So this could help you finally close some sales with hesitant shoppers. And even if you do have a brick and mortar stores, holiday markets can still help you connect with existing customers in new ways.
Consider Offering Extras
People come to holiday markets for the experience as much as they do for the actual products. So if you can add services that enhance their experience even more, you may end up with tons of happy customers. For example, you could offer gift wrapping for free or a small fee with each purchase. Or you could offer a special price on customization for things like ornaments or monogrammed bags, giving people the opportunity to purchase completely personalized items that will be completed by the time they’re ready to leave the market. If allowed, you might even offer things like hot chocolate and cookies for people to eat and drink as they shop.