Aug 19, 2010

Secrets of getting people into your booth at craft and art shows




Last year at the Las Vegas Creative Painting convention I had time to walk the floor and take a look at all the booths.


Having the experience of setting up a booth many times but not having one this year offered me a chance to take a few notes on the good and the bad booths that were in the show for future reference.
Your booth is one of your most important marketing tools. It will be the first impression the customers have of you and your product.

You have to remember that you are just one booth in the show and you need to grab the attention of your customers when they first see your booth because often you don’t get a second chance.

So how do you set up the booth that stands out from the rest?

Here are some tips that I think will help you be the best you can be and get the people into your booth to see what you have to offer and hopefully make a purchase!

First you need good signs, these are one of the most important ways you can communicate with your customers as they pass. They need to be colorful and informative to catch their attention, but simple and to the point!

A great sign will tell the customer what you sell, what it does and how much it costs. It is just that simple, keep it simple and to the point.

Choose a color that will stand out and make your signs neat and sharp looking, never have signs that are hand-written and slapdash. Use a printer and make them appealing and also make them large enough so they can be seen from a distance away.

One way to make your booth inviting is to have a theme. This can give your customer the feeling of entering into another place.

Displaying your crafts with a theme can be done in a number of different ways. You can set up your display to center around a season. You can also center your theme around the crafts themselves. Maybe you sell things for little girls, then having a very feminine booth done in pink tones will be a very good addition to your booth. Just don’t make the mistake of overdoing your theme, the emphasis should be on your products not the props. Something that will help is to have all your items for sale clearly marked. That way there will be no confusion as to what is for sale and what is not.

Set up your booth so people can move about easily. If they feel crowded they may get frustrated and leave, so keep it easy to come in and go out.

Setting up your display in an "U" shape, or a "L" shape can help to encourage the natural flow of traffic. Having the cash register at the exit of the display will permit customers to browse through your crafts and then purchase on their way out remember: the easier it is for them to purchase, the more likely they will.

Never assume the customer will know how to use your product. I never sold my brush basins or fur brushes when I just let them sit there, however when I stood there demonstrating how to use them the people most of the time purchased one or two. You have to show them and then they want what you are offering.

Next consider your lighting, don’t think your booth will be attractive if it is dark. People need to see what is there, if you have a beautiful booth with no lighting it may not even be noticed. I went to a local art show a few years ago, a woman across from my booth didn’t have any lighting, her art was lovely but without the proper light people just didn’t see it.

Great lighting will bring out the vibrant colors the subtle details and depth in the paintings. Good lighting is used to get people's attention, and draw them towards your products.

Keep your booth neat and well organized. If it looks like it was just thrown together it gives the message that maybe your products will be the same.

Don’t crowd you product. When shelves or tabletops are jam-packed it can be intimating to your customer, they feel like they can’t possibly take it all in. Always have well stocked shelves, bare spots or little inventory will give the impression that you don’t have much left tells the customer they will not have a good choice of product to choose from.


If you store extra products under the tables make sure you can find them easily, if a customer asks for a different color you should be able to go right to it. Never keep your customer waiting while you go searching for something! Your customers will appreciate this prompt service and not end up going away upset and felling like you wasted their time.


Always get there as early as you can to get set up. Have help available, it is hard and time consuming to set up a beautiful booth.

I have found that most tables in shows are a bit too low, customers get sore backs while standing and looking at what you have to sell, to remedy this it is a good idea to get some PCV pipe and a width that will easily slip over the legs of the table. Cut them in 1 foot lengths, this will raise your tables to a comfortable level.

To get more display space think about going vertical. It is easy to make wood shelves using wood from the local hardware store with bricks in-between each shelf. Cover them with fabric and you have more space and it looks good! Include interesting levels and depth in your displays to draw people into your booth. From far away, your booth will look empty and uninviting if your products are all lying horizontally on the table. Set them up to face the customer! If they can see your products from across the room they will want to come closer to see what you have!

If what you sell is displayed in bins, make sure they all match. A mish-mash of different containers does not look appealing and makes you look sloppy.

Always have skirts on the tables so cluttered items can be hidden away. Keep boxes, hand trucks, electric cords, out of sight.

I like to have carpeting in my booth if it is not furnished, I also liked to have a bowl of hard cellophane wrapped candy by the cash register. Plus I always placed a chair by the cash register and left some open space for my customer to sit and write a check or just sit while I rang up her sales.

Dress neatly and be friendly, have you ever been in a show only to see someone sitting in a booth reading a book? I have and I thought that person does not care if I come into her booth or not! Be friendly, make eye contact offer help. Show them what you have, how it works or how it will make their life easier or more fun! Make them feel comfortable unwelcome.

Have a email sign up list for them to put their information on so you can let them know about your sales and shows you will be at in the future.

One last bit of advice, always have your items priced. How irritating it is to have to ask a price and if you are busy it is very likely the person will just walk away rather than wait to ask how much you want for a specific item.

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