Each year, Christmas markets are a major event for retailers and shoppers alike. The scent of mulled wine and the jingle of bells on a crisp winter’s night are enough to get everyone into the Christmas spirit. Festive markets are the best place to find all the essential Christmas traditions. If you’re a retailer, getting a spot in a Christmas market is an unmissable opportunity. Not only does the festive environment encourage shoppers to spend money, but markets are also great for brand visibility.  So be well prepared this winter and make the most of these festive opportunities!

Here in the UK, Christmas markets are fantastically attended. Edinburgh’s famed market for example, attracted 919,344 visitors over six weeks in 2017 — a number that has been steadily increasing over recent years. In the same year, the market generated £113m for the Scottish economy, an amazing feat for a seasonal event. These big earrings are reflected in markets around the country. According to the Local Government Association, average estimated total visitor spend was around £500 million in 2017. In addition, the amount of out of town visitors rocketed in most major cities, including Newcastle in which there was a 72 per cent increase. 

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With this in mind, make sure you don’t miss out on this lucrative opportunity this year! Here’s how to make the most of the festivities…

Step one: get registered

First things first, get registered. Most Christmas market applications open over the summer, so if there is one that you want to get involved in, check their website to see when applications open. Some will accept latecomers, but if you’re keen to get involved in any of the big ones, then hopefully you’ll already be prepped for the 2019 season! Most established Christmas markets are organised by local councils; therefore, the council website should be your first port of call.

Step two: nail your branding

As well as making sales, a big part of having a stall at a Christmas market is building your brand. You’ll want to make sure your outdoor banners are eye-catching, your business cards are sleek, and your overall stall aesthetic draws crowds in. The downside of selling at a Christmas market is that there is a lot of competition within a small space. Therefore, if customers aren’t instantly wow-ed by your brand they will just walk past.

Step 3: make sure you stock is perfectly suited

There is such a novelty around Christmas markets and people are there primarily to have fun. Make sure the products you decide to sell are playful and attention grabbing, or beautiful and well-crafted. Consumers are most likely on the lookout for quirky and unusual Christmas presents that they can’t find elsewhere. So, make sure you’re offering something slightly unusual or putting your own twist on a classic gift.

Step 4: enjoy the event!

You should be able to enjoy the Christmas market as much as the shoppers, even if it can get a little stressful! If you’re having a good time, your stall will radiate festive cheer and there’s simply nothing better to draw the crowds in. Remember, shoppers are there for a good time, so customer service is even more important than usual. When it comes to Christmas market shopping, it is as much about the experience as the product. If you are a food vendor for example, free samples are a must to draw in the crowds.

Step 5: watch your brand visibility grow

After you’ve served your last mince pie and handed out your final business card, you can let out a sigh of relief. You’ve sold your goods and had a wonderful festive experience, but it’s not over yet. If you’re marketing efforts have paid off, you should see an increase in your retail performance. Growth in brand awareness grow and an influx of returning customers — the perfect Christmas gift to yourself!