Selling Seaweed Foodie Products at Markets
I am by no means an expert when it comes to selling at markets. I have only been to a few so far, but my goodness they are fascinating to do. Maybe that’s because I am still a novice. Perhaps the novelty wears off. But having recently returned from a market, there are a few observations fresh in my head, which I thought I would share.
Of course, the reaction that you get is going to depend on what you’re selling. I am selling food products made with seaweed – and maybe that polarises opinion more than most. Certainly, I find myself spending a lot of time telling people what the products are and about the eating occasions and health benefits in a way that a stall selling – say, honey (my lovely next-door stall today as it happens) – doesn’t need to. It’s nice to get questions though and to be able to introduce people to something new, and I am finding the face-to-face contact that markets provide is invaluable for selling something a bit unfamiliar.
I am finding the face-to-face contact that markets provide invaluable for selling something a bit unfamiliar.
In my experience so far, people tend to fall in to one of a few camps:
1. Those who walk straight past because they just aren’t interested. Fair enough!
2. Those who walk past slowly looking at my products and, upon realising it’s seaweed – look frightened or a bit disturbed and melt away (often with a not-so-quiet comment to their companion… A good one I heard today - “Is it actually meant for eating?!”)
3. Those who nearly walk past, or do walk past, but then come back – intrigued to find out more. These are the best! Most of them are up for giving my products a try, and it’s such a pleasure to see people thoroughly surprised at how good it tastes. (Not all of them, of course, but a heartening proportion!) I get lots of comments along the lines of “oh my goodness it’s actually delicious” and “I never would have thought you can make seaweed taste like that”.
4. Those who see it’s seaweed and make a beeline for it. Existing convertees! These are awesome too! These people are often delighted to find new ways of including seaweed in their diet. I am really encouraged about the level of knowledge amongst this group about the health benefits of seaweed – and especially the iodine content.
Knowing your customer
As food producers we hear a lot about marketing to specific types and knowing your audience. Markets of course provide an excellent testing ground to help identify and verify these ‘types’, and I am definitely starting to hone my seaweed radar (‘seadar?!’) – spotting the likely candidates as they approach! But it’s really difficult to put my finger on what it is about these people that makes them more or less likely to be drawn to my stall. It doesn’t seem to be about age or gender. They must be transmitting ‘adventurous foodie’ vibes in subtle ways!
You can’t please them all. But if you can delight some, then there’s hope!
You can’t please them all!
I think the main take-away for me from the markets I have been to so far is – you can’t possibly please them all. But as long as you can delight some, then there’s hope!
What is your experience of buying or selling at markets?
Are you fascinated by the etiquette?
Have you ever bought seaweed at a market?