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How to Attract Customers

Following is a collection of craft booth ideas and tips from readers about how to design a craft booth that attracts customers.

Know Your Audience When You Design Your Booth

My firm and I had a booth at a recent book fair trying to interest people in subscriptions to our publication. The event had a lot of activities and displays aimed at children.

We were mostly interested in reaching a certain demographic - well educated adults. We realized that a great way to get them to visit our booth was to attract their children first.

We asked for a little extra set-up space and created a kids' corner. We had some colorful posters with cartoon characters. We set up a couple of chairs and a folding table and put big pillows on the floor. We put out crayons, pens and pencils and photocopied coloring sheets, puzzles, mazes etc.

Many kids ran over and started working on the puzzles, and their parents naturally followed. We first took some time to engage the children and get them interested in what we were going, which in itself was a fairly educational activity. While the children were engaged, we had a moment to talk to mom and dad about what we were offering - subscriptions.

Our publication does have certain sections aimed at a younger demographic, so we made sure to provide plenty of samples and talk to the parents about that aspect of our product. It was a great way to get people to pay attention to what we were selling.

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Catch Their Attention

by T. DeHav
(Seattle)

I have attended and worked many shows in my life, from boring financial products to art shows, and have noticed over the years that customers seem to only be able to take in so much before their eyes glaze over and they walk faster, barely glimpsing displays as they pass.

What I've learned is that it's critical to "catch" them - "grab" their attention. No matter how interesting your product, if they've been at the show for a while they may not see your display as they pass, unless you reach out and grab their attention.

The basics of grabbing focus and attention are: light, movement and/or sound. If your product does not offer these elements you must incorporate them into your display to maximize customer interest. Movement is the best attention grabber. One of the best booths I've seen was a crafts booth with a tiny train that ran around installed tracks at the top of the booth with the name of the company on it ... tooting occasionally and displaying lights on the cars. The crafts at the booth had nothing to do with trains, but the crowd couldn't help but stop and watch, which gave the sales people at the booth a chance to chat with potential customers. Once you have their attention, they will see your product.

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Create an Effective Booth

I think the most effective way to get a customer's attention is by something that "pops" out to the customer.

I recently attended a bridal fair where all the booths all looked the same. It is very hard to decide what you want to look at, when it seems like everything just blends together.

The best advice that I can give is to use colors that pop - bright pinks, greens, and yellows. Colors like this get a person's attention very easily.

Also, have samples of your work for the consumer to touch and feel. Don't be afraid to let them pick it up. Remember, that when you're selling something, especially to someone who has never heard of you, it is important to make sure they are aware of the quality that you are selling and not just WHAT you are selling.

Another very good idea that I like, and recently saw, is to include a video at your booth. Example: In a section of "wedding singers and djs", one wedding band stood out and still stands out very clearly in my mind. Why? This group had a dvd playing on repeat of what they do. It's hard to ignore that. Though it might be annoying to you to hear all day long, it's another one of those things that gets attention that you can't resist!

Lisa's Response

I love that you looked at other types of booths, not just craft show booths, for craft booth ideas. A wedding show, or a home show is a fabulous place to go to get booth setup ideas for your own craft booth. Keep in mind that some things things you may see at other types of shows (like bright flashing signs) might not translate well at a craft show, but you can find lots of great booth design ideas at other types of shows.

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Craft Display Tips

by Renee
(MI)

I had the opportunity to rent shelves at a craft store for my hand decorated journals and bookmarks.

I considered four factors when displaying my crafts:
space
accessibility
organization
protection

I didn't have a lot of room to work with so I had to maximize space. Consumers had to be able to see and feel my creations. Everything needed to be arranged in an eye-catching yet orderly fashion. Since my crafts were made with paper, thus, fragile, there needed to be some safeguard in place to prevent damage.

I didn't have display in mind when I made the bookmarks, but most of them coordinated with at least one journal. So I paired bookmarks with the matching journals or those that had a similar theme then slipped them inside the pages (with ribbons out). Next, I stacked the journals face up in a somewhat spiral staircase fashion and hoped for the best.

Not a single journal sold the first month. I realized I had to find an inexpensive way to prop them up so that people could see them at a distance. Whatever, I chose had to fit the craft items and not detract. Draping cloth over boxes was one option that would surely allow the colors to pop, but material alone did not provide stability. Lack of stability can lead to bent corners. Let's face it; who wants to buy a journal with creased corners?

As serendipity would have it, I found my solution with picture stands. (I had a few around the house and some in storage.) I placed three on the top shelf and five on the bottom. The journals, cloth and stands made for an effective display in a limited amount of space.

Lisa's Note

I have to agree with you, Renee, on the picture stand idea for craft displays. They are very versatile. I've used them for propping up picture frames for displaying jewelry. If you have a good dollar store in your neighborhood, you can usually find picture stands that are attractive and quite inexpensive.

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