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Merchandising Tips for Flea Markets | Sell on Swap Meets

  • Always offer volume discounts where you can. If one item costs $5, charge a little less for each item purchased, for example 4 for $15 instead of $20. Make a note of what deals the vendors around you are offering and make sure you are competitive with them but not so competitive as to risk your profits.
  • If you are selling assorted clothing and you did not purchase them in a regular size run of one style, use clothing racks to merchandise your clothing by the size. Everything on the first rack could be size Small. Everything on the second rack size Medium, etc. Merchandising by style can be visually impactful but much more work for you. Let your customers browse through the rack that contains the size they need and let them enjoy fishing for their treasure!
  • Purchase inexpensive manequin torsos to display some of your clothing items. While racks are great for displaying large amounts of merchandise in a minimal amount of space, it is difficult to see the styles of the clothing. Merchandise a few beautiful pieces on some manequin torsos hanging around your flea market stand to catch shoppers as they walk by.
  • If you are selling shoes, do the same thing as clothing – merchandise them by size. Make stacks of all like-sized pairs of shoes and display your entire assortment if possible. You can point customers to the pile that corresponds to their shoe size and let them find the style they like. This avoids answering too many “do you have this style in this size” questions and allows you to display your goods in a way that will make it easy for the shopper to find what he/she is looking for.
  • If you buy large lots of very mixed merchandise or for instance, pallets of electronics in dozens of categories that can be worth quite a bit of money, they may not appear attractive to shoppers when left in big boxes on the floor or on a table. Instead, merchandise the goods attractively by type of item. You will get more value for money out of your electronics and higher value items if they are displayed in a an attractive way.
  • If you purchase hats, consider investing in a few manequin heads to display some of your more popular styles, or to highlight the fact that you sell hats. In the below pictures you see two displays – one with manequin heads and one with hats in dump bins organized by style. Both methods can work – choose what works best for you and perhaps, combine the two methods for the most visual bang.
  • If you are selling tools and you find out that many of your hand tool sets are missing parts or pieces, they’ll still make you money! The beauty of selling at a flea market is that people are after a good deal, and no necessarily so interested in purchasing a complete set. Take the tools out of their sets and sell the individually by the piece. You’ll move every single piece from your inventory and won’t get stuck with incomplete sets that don’t sell.
  • If you are selling kitchen items, lay the items out attractively on a few tables. Having the items at a comfortable height will encourage customers to take their time to browse. When these types of items (some of which can be heavier) are merchandised on the floor, it makes it more difficult for customers to browse as items may be heavy and difficult to pick up and look at for a few seconds. If you have out of box items, merchandise them on a separate table next to the in box ones. Out of box items can sell just as well and without the packaging, the customer can see the item much more clearly!
  • If you are in the business of selling cosmetics, try to steer away from having them individually laid out on tables. This can invite a good amount of theft and isn’t the most effective way to make good use of space in your booth. Consider purchasing a custom cosmetics retail display to merchandise your items more attractively to your customers. Alternatively, consider putting the items in small bins organized by color to make it easier for your customers to find specific items.
  • If you have a variety of very small items that are easy to steal, think about investing in a few locking display cases that you can close to protect the items. These are clear on top so customers can see inside, but they allow you to go about your business with a little peace of mind knowing items are protected.
  • Selling jewelry? Purchase a retail display to display the items attractively. If that is not an option, use simple hooks to hang necklaces and bracelets from the top of your booth. Quick, easy, and much easier for buyers to see the items!
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