The psychology of someone browsing at a craft show

So for the last two days, I’ve been helping Lauren with her Umba Box booth at the Urban Craft Uprising craft show in Seattle.   It’s been great.  Have gotten to tell the Umba Box story to a lot of people and helped garner that much more excitement for what Lauren is doing, which is AWESOME!

I’m completely fascinated by people.  It’s been a lot of fun to watch people walk by the booth, try to figure out what’s going on their head, so I can figure out how to get them over to talk to me about Umba Box. Craft shows are different from just general expos or trade shows too.  The goal at a craft show is you actually wanna move product.

I developed a theory about folks that come to craft shows and how they browse.  There are people who walk at 1 feet, 3 feet, and 6-10 feet from the booth.

The 6-10 feet people aren’t really interested.  They come to the show to feel all handmade but they’re not interested in buying a product.  There are always exceptions to this.  Interestingly lots of men/husbands/boy friends hover at the 6-10 feet mark.  Umba Box is an especially great gift for the lady in your life so I’ve been successful with pulling the guys who are hovering at 6 to 10 feet and getting them to make a purchase or at least take a card.

With the 3 feet people, they’re interested in what your selling and want to buy but they need to be invited over.  It’s funny because most handmade vendors just sit behind their booths and don’t actually talk to their customers.   I would step out from behind the table, invite them over and talk to them.  Was able to reel them in from 3 feet to 1 foot so they would start to play with the products and listen to my schtick about Umba Box.

The people at 1 feet are the best.  They’re the ones that go booth to booth and are really interested in what everyone’s doing.  These are the people you can have a conversation with.  These are also the people who have 3 or 4 bags in their hands because they’ve been buying and buying and buying.

One thought on “The psychology of someone browsing at a craft show”

  1. Hey Justin! Some interesting observations.

    I don’t know much about craft shows in the US but I’ve been to a bunch lately in SE Asia.

    My observation on the buying end there was that at first I felt really uncomfortable speaking with a booth owner if I knew I wasn’t going to buy anything. Any interest shown in their product would result in them dumping loads of their products onto their table and unwrapping or unpacking whatever their product was. I felt really bad because if I didn’t buy anything they would have to refold, repack and reorganize their whole store even if I didn’t buy something. But eventually, after watching the locals, I realized that’s just the way they did it. No hard feelings if I perused their merchandise/asked them about products for 10 minutes and didn’t buy.

    I feel that this is very different than the attitude I had in the US. I felt immense pressure (perhaps just from myself?) to buy if I interacted with a sales person because “oh my gosh I took up their time and tricked them into thinking I was interested”. So I was one of the 6ft people.

    When I come back, I wonder if the same attitude will stick with me or it will be instantly shoved aside by American’s desire to be polite? 🙂

    Also, I’m curious whether you, as a sales person, feels upset when a customer comes by and asks, engages, etc and they don’t make a purchase?

    Anyway, sorry for my rambling comment! These interactions are interesting!

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