Welcome to part 2 of our series on the 4 pillars of selling merchandise. Once you’ve started your brand, you need to determine the best way to sell your merchandise to your customers. There are 4 main pillars of selling merchandise: hand-to-hand, vending, direct shipment, and drop shipment. Last week we discussed pillar 1, which was hand-to-hand sales. Let’s keep going.
Pillar 2: Vending
The second pillar is vending, which literally just means “to sell.” Vending is very similar to hand-to-hand, but it involves a wider audience and a more structured sales environment. Like hand-to-hand, vending also involves face-to-face interaction with your customers. The difference is that vending requires some sort of established retail setting, whereas hand-to-hand sales can take place anywhere.
What does vending look like? The vending method of selling is when you set up a table or booth to sell your products at an event of some kind. This could be something like a pop-up shop, a street festival, an expo, a convention, or a concert. Any local event in your area that allows for vending is a great way to sell your merchandise face-to-face without having a brick-and-mortar retail store.
Unlike with hand-to-hand, you don’t have to know anyone in advance to make sales. You simply show up to the event, set up your table or booth, and sell your products to event attendees. This method can be beneficial for brands that don’t have many personal contacts to leverage for sales, or for brands that are simply looking to reach new customers.
Pros of the vending method are that the booth/table setup allows you to bring and sell more merchandise than just what you can carry. Having a stationary booth also allows you to display merchandise in a way you can’t do with hand-to-hand sales. Cash handling and credit card transactions are both easier when you’re stationary. Cons of this method are that your sales are limited to the dates and times of the events. Also, the process of setting up and breaking down a merchandise booth for every event can be physically demanding.
Join us next week for part 3 of our special mini-series on selling merchandise, when we will talk about pillar number 3: direct shipment.