Planning to Exhibit in Holiday Retail Shows?

Since the largest percentage of product sales are made during the last quarter of the year, it make good business sense to exhibit in holiday retail shows.

We, as Tastes of Idaho, have done numerous holiday retail shows over the years.  Actually, Tastes of Idaho started as a spin-off of holiday mall kiosks we ran over 15 years ago.Planning to Exhibit in Holiday Retail Shows?

I can still remember all the work we did, running down Idaho producers, placing orders, and, in most cases, traveling around the state to pick up our holiday products.  When we opened our kiosk store, we were several thousand dollars in debt and wondered if we had gone too far.  As it turned out, we grossed over three times our investment and had an interesting holiday season with our fellow exhibitors in the mall.

So, what are the some good steps in putting together holiday retail shows?

  1. I recommend ‘walking’ any show you plan to exhibit in — which means doing this a year in advance.  If that is not possible, at least try to check out some of their non-holiday season shows to see how they are run and attended.
  2. Contact the show managers (if you are doing a mall show, there is typically a marketing or mall manager you can speak with) as soon as possible to find out fees, regulations, and get your idea spot nailed down.
  3. Depending how far in advance you have made your show reservations, you need to accumulate inventory.  Make a plan early on how much product you think you will need (and then, probably double it!) and get it made or ordered in.
  4. Most malls supply tables and table cloths or the actual kiosk carts.  One way or another find out what you will or will not need and plan accordingly.  And don’t forget to include/design/order some nice signage for your booth.
  5. Along with your inventory, plan to have the following supplies on hand:
      • Comfortable shoes as you could be on your feet for long hours.
      • Bags of various sizes depending on your product
      • If you have a cash register, great!  Bring extra rolls of receipt tape.  If you don’t have a cash register, a cash box and hand written recipe book will work.  Make sure to have cash on hand to change larger bills
      • Tape — seems like a display or sign falls apart during shows.
      • A partner or helper to fill in while you eat, rest, or use the bathroom!
      • Water or some other beverage to keep you hydrated.

     

If you decide to exhibit in a mall kiosk, be prepared to work 12 hour days, 7 days a week for several weeks. You will need to keep your energy up, so rest and eat well during this time.

There are also region shows that last 3-5 days if we want to start out smaller.  Most of the same tips apply for these shows as well.

 

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Tips for Selling via Pop-Up and Kiosks

Kiosk stores, (free standing booths often seen in Malls) have become a popular way to sell products over the years.  We originally launched our Tastes of Idaho store via a holiday kiosk back in 2002.  Recently, I discovered a new twist to the kiosk style store called a Pop-Up store. Tips for Pop-Up and Kiosk Stores

With some help and links provided by one of my Facebook group member, here is a short description of Pop-Ups:

Are Pop-up Stores the Future of Physical Retail?

The pop-up store has become a go-to marketing strategy for retailers looking to extend the brand and introduce new products. Pop-up shops are being developed in a variety of shapes and sizes, as well as locations. They can be found in a traditional brick-and-mortar store, as a store-within-a-store, as a standalone kiosk or even via a motorized vehicle.

Pop-up shops are growing in popularity as a hybrid model to build more intimate relationships while creating unique, memorable 3D experiences that are aligned with the brand’s values. Consumers expect that the pop-up shopping experience will be different from the average brick-and-mortar visit. They also look to pop-ups for more specialized shopping. For example, 61% of shoppers list seasonal products as the main reason to shop at a pop-up store, according to a survey.

More articles on Pop-Ups:

Pop-Up Stores Become More Than Just A Trend

Why Pop-up Shops Are the Future of Physical Retail

Having operated several kiosks over the years, I know what makes for a successful experience.  I would assume these tips would also work for Pop-Up stores.
  1. Location can be critical. Make sure to set up where you know there is lots of walking traffic (if possible).  A spot near a high traffic area, such as the hallway to an entrance in a mall, would be a good example of a high traffic location.
  2. Advertise in the local paper — even if the store/mall hosting you (if there is one) is also advertising your kiosk or pop up.  The double exposure will not only help your customers find you, but will add value to your relationship to the mall or location where you set up.
  3. Have a way to collect email address and leave your contract information available everywhere! We put our business card in every bag of products purchased. Folks will want to know how to contact you to buy more once you are gone.
  4. Holiday kiosks tend to be the most successful.  The mall where we featured our kiosk offered us space during several other events, but we were most successful during the Christmas holiday season.

Do you have any tips for successful Pop-Ups or Kiosk stores?  Please share them in the comments below!

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Tips for Running Your Craft Booth

Are you planning a craft show booth or mall kiosk for this holiday season?  Typically, product-based business generate the largest amount of sales in the last quarter of the year.

When we set up our mall kiosk for our Tastes of Idaho store in November, we generated 75% of our retail sales for the year — in just a few short weeks!

Because of growth of our internet sales, we no longer run a kiosk, but I have very fond memories of the time spent in the mall, talking with customers and helping them find the best products for their gift giving.

Running our kiosk was Tips for Running Your Craft Boothlots of work and long hours, but the sales we got made up for all the time.

I am sharing my story because if you have a chance to display in a craft show or, if you can take the big jump to running a kiosk, now is the best time to prepare.

Recently, I came across an excellent list of tips from Gary Capps from CraftMakerPro for running a craft booth:

1. Make sure you are available but not intimidating. Make eye contact
and acknowledge but do not push.
2. Make sure you are clearly the stall owner. Have a name badge. Do not sit there eating a sandwich, looking at your phone!
3. Have a second badge that clearly states “Ask me anything you need to know”
4. Have a sign at your booth with your picture clearly stating that you are
the owner/creator of these crafts. People are fascinated as much by the
people who can make crafts as they are the crafts themselves. When they make that connection they will want to ask you how you did it.
5. Look for an invite. When a person seems interested in a piece ask if
they would like assistance, offer a little insight as to the work in the piece.
6. Do not just tell people the price. People want to know what the piece will
do for them, how it will make them feel and how it was made. Pushing the price
first will only make them hesitant.
7. Clearly label your crafts with information and an invitation to ask
more about how this item was made.
8. Have a bargain basket. It’s always a great way to get people to stop

In our kiosk, we sold mostly gourmet foods rather than crafts, but we loved to tell the story about the products, the producer and even the history behind the company.

Being friendly and open seemed to be the key to selling for us.

Good luck with your booth!