Let me just start by saying, I love flea markets. I was a dedicated bargain shopper for many years, and in some ways I guess I still am. Of course, visiting swap meets wasn’t just about spending money. It was an opportunity to get out of the house, make friends and do a little people watching. It quickly became part of my desired weekend routine.
Now, years later, I want to join the ranks of market vendors at an indoor flea market near me. From what I hear, working at an indoor flea market is especially nice since business remains steady even in the colder months and customers rarely feel the urge to hightail it home if the weather suddenly turns nasty. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, it’s not hard to pay attention to the few archetypes of bargain shoppers I expect to see every weekend. For good measure, I’ve also included a few tips for merchants looking to better connect with their customers.
You know what they say, the early bird gets the worm. This bargain shopper arrives early to snatch up the best deals. A natural early riser, he or she usually has a plan before entering the marketplace.
While these shoppers may take a cursory glance at the whole vending table, they likely already have their mind set on what to buy. So when you see them pick up something for an extended period of time, its best to step in and close the deal.
It helps to be very friendly to your early-bird customers because you are likely to see the same faces week after week. Learning their names will also improve the relationship. In fact, a few of my customers visit my table each weekend just to say hi.
These customers live by the credo ‘never pay full price,’ and they mean business. They are fully prepared and always have a wallet full of small bills. Their mission is to find a bargain and make it even better.
While some customers are turned off by bartering, the truth is that most vendors are perfectly comfortable with it because hagglers intend to buy.
If you encounter a haggler that is pushing the price too low, try raising the price and throwing in an extra offer to sweeten the deal. If, for example, a customer wants a ring for half price, offer 25 percent off plus a pair of earrings. This has helped merchants I know countless times in the past, and honestly-it would work on me if I were buying.
The Artsy Type
This shopper can typically be seen making small purchases from several vendors with no rhyme or reason to her buying patterns. She spends plenty of time examining her choices before putting money down and usually dresses with bohemian or artistic flair. Well, this customer is probably a do-it-yourselfer collecting things for her next art project.
If you see this customer, be sure to show her any unique, handmade pieces you are selling. Sometimes you’ll notice that she is more interested in looking around than buying. That’s just fine. Everybody needs a little inspiration now and then. Heck, you may even see her selling her craft projects at the next flea market.
The Window Shopper
Some shoppers wander around, pick up things with a half-interested look on their face and then put it back after examining the price tag. Obviously they are just here for the weekend experience, which is A-OK. Outdoor and indoor flea markets are a great place to kill some time.
Be sure to greet these shoppers when they enter but give them a little space. Putting on too much pressure will send them to another booth. Just be sure to keep an eye on them in case they change their mind.
The Lost Newbie
Unlike the window shopper who wanders around with carefree ease, the lost newbie just looks awkward.
While this customer might seem standoffish, its best to engage in a little small talk to put them at ease. It can be daunting trying something new, and sometimes all the lost newbie needs is a friendly smile. Try to stay genuine and avoid the hard sell which will likely scare off this customer for good.
What Color Is Your Basket?
No matter what kind of shopper you are or what type of customer you encounter, remember that flea markets are all about community, so be kind, be friendly and be on the lookout for the next great bargain!