I was perusing some Facebook groups this morning, and came across a conversational thread where someone was asking “Do you think _____ would be a good vendor event for my product?” There was some discussion on the type of demographic, the amount of expected traffic, and if anyone had done a similar event in the past. It got me thinking about the many different types of events I’ve done. I personally find that vendor events are generally broken into two different categories. Shopping Events, and Non-Shopping Events. Here’s what I mean.
People come to shop! They come with money, groups of girlfriends, and it is a whole planned outing. These types of events include Womens’ Expos, Holiday Bazaars, Craft Fairs, or any other type of event where vendors are the primary reason for the event. Shopping is the central theme, and reason for the whole experience. They are typically marketed toward women, who are the primary buyers for most direct sales brands and holiday craft shopping.
These are events where vendors are secondary to some other activity. Whether it’s a concert venue, a BBQ cookoff, an old car show, a bridal show, or some other activity, vendors are often setup around the perimeter, and draw shoppers from the main traffic source. In these events, shopping is a secondary experience, and attendees may not have even known that vendors would be there. People came to the event for some other reason, and may wander the vendor booths just to see what might be available. Marketing tends to focus on the primary event activity, with vendors as a secondary footnote. There are many, many, many of these types of events as well.
You can likely guess what kind of event tends to be more lucrative for event sales and leads. I’ve done huge summer concert events, county and local fairs, bridal shows, home boutiques, PTO and church events, and vendor-focused shopping events. Those that are marketed with shopping as the primary activity have invariably had better sales and leads than those where people came for some other reason (and that reason may have simply been to drink beer and hear music). So as you’re looking at events, think about whether it’s worth your time and investment, relative to the type of event it is, and whether shopping is a primary activity. If your goal is sales and leads, those are the ones to seek out. This time of year is perfect to seek out shopping events. Checkout this post for some ideas on how to source events. It may take some creative legwork, but they are out there!