From county shows to music festivals: how to ensure retail success at events

Written by Eurostop

Reading Time: 3 minutes


Trading at events can be lucrative; overheads are generally lower than a fixed retail unit, plus the sheer variety and number of events ensures there are opportunities for many types of business to sell its products. Events offer huge opportunities for companies to market their wares to a captive audience and can be a great launch pad for smaller traders.

However, whilst retailers can generate a good revenue stream from trading at consumer events, it is certainly not guaranteed and careful consideration needs to be taken before plunging head first into the festival calendar. Here are a few top tips to help maximise trading presence.

Do your research

From festivals, concerts, and county shows, there are many consumer events to choose from during the year. However it’s vital to research which events are right for the company; not just from a product line perspective but also in terms of unforeseen cost and commitment in attending. Additionally, it’s important to understand audience demographics and if this is a good match for their brand.

Lastly, retailers should research the scale and reach of the event, how organisers generate attendance and the footfall from previous years. By doing the research, retailers can select the events best suited to their business.

Calculate the costs

Selling at festivals may not be as cheap as you first think, in addition to the cost of the pitch itself; there are also the associated costs of attending. Staff expenses, cost of setting up and branding the pitch and transporting the stock all need to be accounted for in profit calculations.

An important factor to consider is how you will take payments for goods on the go. Generally consumers don’t like carrying large amounts of cash and are used to the convenience of paying by credit card. Retailers trading higher ticket items would be wise to invest in a mobile till solution with chip and PIN capabilities – or risk losing a sale.

Choose your stock wisely

Focusing on an event that attracts the right potential customer demographics is key to success. Understanding the audience and offering product that matches their wants and needs is imperative. Make sure that your product offering appeals to the audience because context is everything!

Additionally, retailers need to consider the feasibility of transporting, storing and replenishing stock for the duration of the event. It’s at these decision junctions when past stock reports become valuable indicators of future needs, enabling retailers to make informed decisions on the right stock for the right environment.

Fulfilment options

Although consumers like to see goods before they buy, it doesn’t always necessarily follow that they want to make a purchase and then take the goods away with them. Consumers purchasing a new pair of skis at a winter sports show are unlikely to want to carry them around for the rest of the day. In fact, if that were the only option, many would be passing on the purchase!

It is vital that retailers consider the buying habits of their intended audience and offer fulfilment options appropriate for the goods being sold.

Promoting your presence

The right stock has been selected for the right audience at the right event, so far so good. The only thing left for the retailer to do is to announce their presence at the forthcoming event and create as much of a buzz as possible.

There are a few ways to get your message out and retailers should explore the most appropriate way for them. Ideas could include sending newsletters to your existing customer base; marketing through the event organisers to the subscription base; advertising presence at future events via social media and by interacting on Twitter and Facebook.

Post event evaluation

Understanding how product lines performed at the various events is essential in building plans for future years. Retailers need to analyse the success of product lines, price points and promotions. Did this resonate with the audience and are there lessons that can be learnt for future events? This can be an arduous process but it is vital to learn from past experiences.

For companies that have invested in retail management systems that enable payment transactions on the move, this process is far simpler. By having a till system working on a laptop or tablet with mobile chip and PIN services that integrate with the back office retail solution, retailers can accurately track sales and stock. More importantly, a retail management solution with mobile capability provides retailers with the ultimate flexibility to scale their operations and respond to trends in retailing.


Editor at Eurostop Ltd

Eurostop Ltd provides omnichannel retail software and services to international retailers in the fashion, footwear and retail industries.

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