- Andrew Dark is the director and co-owner at printwear and branding specialist Custom Planet. Here, he discusses how you can differentiate your business to make sure it stands out at a Christmas market
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With the temperatures dropping, the days getting darker and the fluffy jumpers coming out, it can only mean one thing: Christmas is coming! And, when you’re a small business, it’s the perfect opportunity to get on board with the festivities and show people what you have to offer at one of the many UK Christmas markets.
These events have continued to welcome huge volumes of visitors, with statistics from the Local Government Association showing a £250 million rise in the estimated UK visitor spend from 2015–2017. From food and jewellery to Christmas decorations, these are filled with stalls trying to get their brand out there. But, don’t worry: if you’re thinking of heading to sell at a Christmas market this year, I’m going to be sharing my top tips to ensure you stand out from the crowd.
Create an eye-catching product range
Whether you’re a completely new or more established business, every company should be carefully considering what they’ll offer at the Christmas markets this year. Whether you’re a caterer who needs to whittle down their food menu or you’re planning on selling a range of your handmade Christmas decorations, it’s important to know that you probably won’t be able to take everything you sell. Instead, you should think about putting your best-selling products forward, as well as any seasonal or particularly unique ranges that you have, as these can draw more attention to your stall.
Promote your brand’s presence on social media
Once you’ve finalised your product range and know what you’ll be offering potential customers, I recommend using social media to promote your brand well in advance of the market dates. Although some brands work best by promoting themselves across many different platforms, for others there will be a heavier focus on specific ones. This can be impacted by things such as the products you’ll be offering and the demographics of your target audience. While Facebook can be great for grabbing the attention of the older generation, Instagram is better for reaching a younger audience.
One of the best things I think you can do is to keep your social media going before, during and after each market to show where you’ve been, what you’ve done and where you’ll be going next: Snapchat and Instagram/Facebook stories are great for doing this quickly and are sure to send larger crowds your way at your next stop.
Create your marketing materials
With so many things to remember, don’t forget to spend sufficient time perfecting your marketing materials. This doesn’t just mean the signage for your stall but could also include things like creating business cards to hand out, as well as hosting promotional giveaways on the day or in the lead-up to the market for customers that plan on attending. This could be something as simple as doing a raffle for a freebie, or getting your customers excited with a fun game and rewarding the winner.
Thinking of unique ways to do this will ensure you stand out. For food stalls this could mean putting tongue-in-cheek phrases onto napkins and packaging, whereas for drinking huts it could be getting custom glassware that your customers can take away as a souvenir.
Think carefully about presentation
Once you’ve sorted your product range, marketing materials and everything in-between, I recommend spending time thinking about what you want your stall to look like. Whether you go all-out Christmassy with a red and green colour scheme or you convert your stall into a snowy wonderland, just make sure it’s still obvious what your brand name is and what you’re selling.
As well as dressing your stall, you need to also think how you will present yourself and your staff. Uniform can make a big difference to the way your brand is received, and a good one will help you to compete with any similar stalls. In general, I’d recommend sticking with your brand colours and logos, but don’t be afraid to incorporate festive elements to show people your fun and creative side.
With plenty of people flocking to Christmas markets across the globe, there’s so much opportunity to capitalise on the trend and make some extra sales. With my top four tips, some creativity and dedication, you can ensure your stall really stands out this year.
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