We’re going to share our tried and true tips for creating beautiful mobile farmers’ market displays. If you make it easy for people to make a decision, they’ll be more likely to buy from you.
It’s market day and you’re ready to go. You did as much as you could to spread the word about your market.
And a lot of people did show up, but many didn’t end up buying anything. What gives?
You know there’s nothing wrong with your products. But still, people looked unsure, and so they walked away empty-handed.
As you walk around to the front of your display to close up shop, you think you see the problem: Your display looks like Walmart toy shelves the day after Black Friday: unorganized and sparse. Yikes.
If you’re getting a lot of traffic at your mobile farmers’ market, but not a lot of sales, your display could be the problem.
Merchandising – the art of making stuff look appealing to potential buyers – can make or break your sales. Good merchandising displays help you create an environment where people feel comfortable in their purchasing decisions.
A good display is also an important factor when it comes to reducing the stigma around food access.1
A welcoming atmosphere with a beautiful selection of products makes for an inclusive environment. And since food access is your goal, these practices will help you reach as many people as possible.
1. Keep Your Display Neat and Tidy
The basics of making a welcoming display are pretty easy, and they shouldn’t be overlooked.
Our first mobile farmers’ market display tip is to keep your items organized. Place your items so that they all face forward. Any packaged goods like popcorn kernels, tomato sauce, pickles, and preserves should always have their labels facing forward.
It may sound obvious, but a clean, neat display where items are clearly identifiable makes shopping feel effortless.
Pro tip: Clean your mobile farmers’ market at the end of every day and use apple cider vinegar.
Because mobile markets are changing people’s habits and access to food, it’s important to keep the process as simple and familiar as possible. Easily identifiable items can help create that environment.
For people living in food deserts, buying fruits and veggies is often not part of their routine. If they have to shuffle products around to figure out what’s available it’s not going to help.
Picture someone passing by your mobile market display. If they can’t quickly identify what’s available, they’ll more than likely keep walking.
2. Keep Those Greens Lookin’ Fresh
Wilted lettuce doesn’t exactly get folks excited about adding lettuce to their menu. Our second tip for mobile farmers’ market display awesomeness is all about leafy greens.
Wilted greens can give the impression that everything else is wilted too. So, it’s important to keep your leafy greens looking fresh, so that they’re visually appealing.
Leafy veggies wilt because they’re thirsty. These types of veggies are made up mostly of water. So give them a drink every once in a while.
Pro tip: Keep your leafy greens looking crisp with a spray bottle of icy water.
Grocery stores mist their vegetable displays every few minutes. You know, at exactly the same time as you’re leaned in to make your pick? Yeah, that. They do that to keep their produce looking crisp (and maybe embarrass you a bit too).
Now, how often veggies get misted depends a lot on the conditions of a market. Veggies in a temperature-controlled bus need less attention than ones in an outdoor display on a hot summer’s day. So, make sure you add “veggie misting” to your staff’s daily checklist.
3. Create a Sense of Abundance
My local farmers’ market has three bakeries. When one develops a line, more people flock to it even though the other two are just as great.
But, the bakery with the line attracts more people because it gives the impression that it’s better. Subconsciously you think that it must bake the best bread because more people are there.
Merchandising has a lot to do with the psychology of abundance. And that’s our third mobile market display tip: creating a sense of abundance.
Customers would rather wait in line to get the “best bread” than leave sooner with the bread that no one wants.
This principle works similarly to creating abundance at your mobile farmers’ market.
A few apples on display left in a big container are less likely to get sold. People tend to think they’re just the leftovers and they’ll be less likely to want to buy them. A bounty of apples, however, is very appealing.
Pro tip: When you start to run low on a particular item, try moving it to a smaller display to keep up that sense of abundance.
Keeping your mobile farmers’ market well stocked is important. Restocking your display throughout the day keeps that sense of abundance going, even as items fly off the shelves. More people will be interested in what your mobile market has to offer.
4. Stock up on Crowd Pleasers
Certain fruits and vegetables draw people in more than others. And that’s our fourth display tip for mobile farmers’ markets.
Make sure you place these items front and center in your mobile market display. It’s a technique that not only draws people in but has them leaving with more produce overall.
That’s because these items target our senses and trigger excitement.
Our sense of smell gets excited by sweet, ripe fruit. Take strawberries for example. Nothing beats the smell of ripe strawberries in the summertime.
Pro tip: If you have strawberries in season, put them at the front of your display where they can help draw people in.
Follow our pro tip above and your customers will believe that everything else is fresh because the strawberries smell fresh.
Vegetables, on the other hand, target our sense of sight. A bunch of bright orange carrots with their green tops attached get a similar response to the smell of fresh strawberries.
So give those colorful carrots a larger display area so they catch the eye of passersby. Before you know it, they’ll be walking away with a bag full of produce from your market.
A little side note for you:
Try to make the shopping experience one that your customers will remember. For example, you can donate the carrot tops you cut off the carrots to the rabbits at your local animal shelter or farm. That makes a great story to share!
Sharing these kinds of stories with your customers will help you to attract loyal, repeat customers for sure.
5. Avoid Choice Overload
Our last, juicy tip for the best mobile farmers’ market display is a good one…
Remember back to when you were a kid at the corner store eyeing up the candy aisle. And after relentless pleading with your parents, they finally agreed to let you pick something out.
Yessss…Best. Day. Ever.
But then you found yourself suddenly overwhelmed by ALL the different sorts of candy. You know you wanted candy, but you didn’t know which one to pick. Meanwhile, your parents are regretting their decision and urging you to, “Come on already, just pick something!”
Ugh. The decision was agonizing. So you just grabbed a random pack of candy and brought it to the counter. Your excitement gone, you ended up not really enjoying the candy after all.
Well, my friends, that is called choice overload.
Choice overload happens when you have a hard time making a decision when faced with too many options.2 Decision-making gets overwhelming because we start to map out all the potential outcomes of our options.
More options lead to a more difficult time making a decision. When a decision is too hard we tend to postpone the decision or avoid it entirely. Often you end up with something you didn’t really want…or simply nothing at all.
So, how does this affect your mobile farmers’ market?
Well, we learned this firsthand at The Farmers’ Truck when selling tomatoes. At one point we had over seven different varieties. Yet, very few people took advantage of this. And we ended up with a ton of food waste. (Salsa anyone?)
But, when we started displaying only two varieties they were flying off the shelves. Isn’t it funny how our brains work?
Pro tip: Don’t display any more than two varieties of the same product.
Choice is a good thing. But when it comes to having too many options of the same product, we end up overwhelmed. Our best advice for mobile farmers’ markets is that less is more when it comes to choice.
The Power of Merchandising
If you find yourself struggling to make sales, our display tips might be just what your mobile farmers’ market needs.
Even though these things might seem trivial at first, we dare you to give them all a try. You’ll be surprised at what a difference this will make in your sales. And we’d love to hear about it too.
Play up the beauty of your products, and keep everything neat and tidy. People will be impressed and gladly buy from you.
Not to mention it helps combat the stigma that too many people have around food assistance. You’ll see people from all walks of life using your mobile market. And that’s exactly what you want. It’ll help your market remain a sustainable part of your operations.
Mobile farmers’ markets are wonderful tools for creating inclusive communities. They encourage everyone to eat healthier and provide that sense of community that people love.
So get out there and make some money. After all, you want your mobile market to thrive and succeed. This will ensure that you’re around for a long time, supporting the community you love.
On the lookout for a mobile farmers’ market that puts your customers first? Check out our mobile market truck design. It makes running a mobile market a breeze, giving you more time to focus on creating food equity.