Historically, public markets have been a way for small businesses to thrive, especially in gateway cities. What’s the secret to running a successful business at a lively market, and how does this apply to small business owners in other industries? Small business owners can learn four essential business strategies from market vendors’ unique roles:
1. Differentiate your Product with Good Branding
Advice from Small Business Trends reports that market vendors should differentiate their business to stand out within their markets. One way vendors highlight their offerings it to offer unique branding. Whether they’re selling fresh, organic tomatoes or a contemporary taste of a classic, foreign recipe, market vendors are emphasizing the experiential factor behind their products. For example, the soon-to-be-opened Hudson Yards Market in New York City will feature a Spanish culinary and cultural experience from high-end, local chefs, Chefs Andrés and Adriàs. The indoor and outdoor market will take a look at the best culinary traditions of Spain, and this unique concept will draw people from all over the world to experience in a setting that is intimate but also bridges the gap between New American and European traditions.
2. Invest in Local Community Relationships
Becoming involved with the local community doesn’t just help build relationships with consumers, it helps vendors become an invested part of the local community. In fact, a research study from the Journal of Small Business & Entrepreneurship found a positive, significant relationship between social capital and firm performance. Small market vendors often source, hire, and support local organizations and businesses by creating competition and commerce in the market. Small businesses are similar in the same way. To direct more customers and traffic to their products, small businesses in other industries can think about supporting the local community by partnering with organizations for fundraisers or hosting events like a community block party. In addition, small businesses may want to integrate their local investment by offering services to charities or foundations.
3. Create a Flow of Operations
Naturally in markets, space is limited. Many small businesses face the same problem; limited warehouse and production space due to pricing or limited resources. Likewise, space may be limited in smaller stores. For market vendors, they need to strategically set up booths to allow some people to shop while others can purchase products at the same time. Strategies like clear signage, pricing, and strategic display set up can help operational and customer flow to easily restock items and maximize your ROI during the day. John Sauscovich of Farm Marketing Solutions advises that vendors should create an operations manual which covers each step of the process including packaging and transporting purchased items so that it creates a consistent customer experience and helps employees communicate better.
In addition, market vendors know how to display products in seasonal and unique formations so that it draws customers to creative, on-of-a-kind experiences. To add a human face to the business, vendors often display pictures of their farm, trade, or background which easily helps customers learn more about the business and how it operates in a local community. Small businesses can use the techniques to create a flow in everyday planning and strategy.
Read the 4th lesson on what small business owners can learn here.