Market shopping can be amazing; there is nothing better than the hustle and bustle, and finding unique, tucked-away treasures.
They are a great way to check out new vendors and products, but the experience can be tainted if you’re not fully prepared.
To ensure this doesn’t happen to you, I’ve compiled a list of tips to help you stay prepared and get the best out of your market shopping trip.
Go in with a Game Plan (and an Open Mind)
Markets can be pretty exciting and you could get swept away by all the unique and interesting items vendors have to offer.
If you would prefer your trip to be shorter, do not get carried away perusing the fineries, and go straight to the vendor you are interested in.
Make a note of what you want to get at the event.
- Are there certain items you want to get?
- Are there specific vendors you’d like to meet and speak with?
- How much do you want to budget for?
These are all points you might want to consider to ensure you get the most out of your visit.
It’s worth setting a budget so you don’t spend more than what you initially planned.
If you don’t set a budget, then you could leave with a pretty sizable chunk missing from your bank account. Or, if you set too low of a budget, you might miss out on a potential steal, like I did when hunting for a medicine cabinet.
Personally, I like to spend a little less than the allowance I’ve given myself.
That way I’ll actually save a little bit of cash and won’t be as tempted to overbuy.
Even though paying by card at a market is convenient, it is best to bring a bit of cash.
Some vendors, especially those new to the market scene, might not have a debit/credit card machine.
Taking some cash with you gives you a bit of a safety net just in case a vendor whose wares you love does not take card payments.
Cards Charge Sellers
The average credit card processing cost for most retail businesses is 1.95% to 2% for Visa, Mastercard, and Discover transactions.
As you can see, credit card processing fees are quite pricey, which is why most sellers prefer being paid by cash.
Additionally, some markets may not have an ATM machine, so make sure you drop by one to withdraw some cash before you make your way to the event.
Markets can get a little crowded and busy, so you’ll want to make sure you dress appropriately.
As there will usually be a lot of people at a market, things can get a bit stuffy and hot.
If you arrive clad in a thick winter coat, gloves, and a scarf, then you could be a sweaty mess by the time the event ends.
Wear something light to help you stay cool.
As you’ll be doing a lot of walking, it might not be the best idea to arrive in those new trainers that are sure to give you blisters.
Wear comfortable shoes and clothes you can move around freely in.
If the weather is a little cool or rainy, then bring a cardigan or coat so you don’t get too cold after you have finished shopping.
You can always take a layer off if you get a bit too hot.
Don’t Wear Flashy Clothes
As I mentioned earlier, it is best to select an outfit that is comfortable as you will be spending a large portion of time walking.
Avoid wearing anything flashy or something that’s going to end up chafing and restricting your movement.
It’ll be hard to focus on browsing products and talking to vendors if you are constantly tripping over a long dress or sweating up a storm in a suit!
Wear Comfortable Shoes
As you will no doubt want to take the time to get through everything at a market, it is a good idea to wear comfortable shoes.
You will be moving quite a lot, and there is nothing worse than getting a huge blister on your feet from ill-fitting shoes.
If you are prone to blisters, pack some blister patches or plasters.
Whatever works best for you. It doesn’t hurt to plan ahead. .
Select shoes that offer breathability and comfort.
While those brand new sneakers in your closet you have been dying to test out might look stylish, it is probably best to save them for another day.
You do not want to risk potentially getting hurt.
Eat Well Before You Go Shopping
An empty stomach and shopping definitely is not a great match.
As you will be doing a lot of walking and talking, the worst thing you want is a noisy, rumbling belly.
Eat a good meal before you go shopping so you have the energy to move around the event and chat up all the vendors you would like to see.
While there may be food and drink stalls at the market, the queues could be quite long, which means you will have to wait around for some time – this means less time to shop!
Bring a Friend
Shopping is a lot more fun when with a friend or family member.
It never hurts to get a second opinion about a purchase.
It may even give you the chance to drop a few subtle suggestions on what you might like for Christmas, or your next birthday.
Still a Fun Experience
No matter whether the trip is a success or a complete flop, you’ll still be able to have a fun experience and share a giggle or two – this might be a little hard if without another person, unless you enjoy laughing at your own jokes!
Besides, you can carpool together, which is handy if you can’t drive or vice versa. Alternatively, you could split a cab fare, saving you both a bit of money that you could otherwise use to shop with!
Bring Something to Carry Your Purchases In
Shopping is a lot of fun, but we can all go a little overboard with purchase, especially when there are so many great items you just have to have.
It is pretty exciting when you have bought so many cool products, but forgetting to bring a bag to carry them all in certainly is not.
Secure Your Purchases
I have been guilty of this myself, and ended up juggling (albeit, not well!) all my new goodies for the remainder of the event – ultimately dropping everything when I entered a big crowd.
This is definitely something you do not want to happen, so make sure you bring a bag that you can store your items as you peruse the rest of the market.
Check Out the Vendor List
Before you arrive at a market, to view the vendor list so you can see which sellers will be at the event.
This will help you decide what sort of wares will be at the event, as well as the vendors you would like to check out.
You can usually find the vendor list on the market’s website or their social media pages.
Research Those Artisans
If there are any artists you are interested in who will be at the event, browsing their social media pages before you go can be worthwhile to see what products they will be selling.
That way you can make a note of any wares you would like to pick up at the event, as well as how much they will be.
Better yet, you will be able to get a small glimpse of the artist’s personality and their brand.
Get a Map If One Is Available
Markets can be pretty confusing to navigate around.
There will be a lot of stalls, vendors, and customers that can make it hard to get your bearings.
This can be frustrating if there’s a particular stall you want to drop by or if you are trying to find the restroom.
Save Time and Energy
Some markets have physical maps to help you locate where everything is, which can save you a lot of time and annoyance.
If there is not a physical map available, then there may be a digital version on the market’s website that you can download to your phone – or print out.
Know the Specialty Products of That Area
If the market you’re visiting is in an area that’s known for a particular speciality product, then it’s worth checking out to see what all the hype is about!
On one of my market trips, I was told that I needed to try out the local bakery as they were well-known for their delicious baked goods.
After waiting in a pretty long queue, I treated myself to a couple of pastries, which were absolutely delicious and definitely worth the wait!
Safe to say, I dropped by again later on and then again just before I headed home.
Grab That Business Card
Things can get pretty hectic at markets, so you might not have time to browse through all the vendors and have a thorough look round.
Alternatively, there might be so many products you love that you could run out of money before the event is over!
Buy it Later
If you really want an item but cannot get it at that moment, then make sure you grab the seller’s business card!
You will then be able to look up the vendor and purchase that product you have got your heart set on at a more appropriate time in the future.
What to Avoid Buying
If you cannot find what you are looking for at a market or no items are grabbing your attention, do not feel obligated to buy something.
It is better to buy an item that you love, then pick up something you don’t like and be left with buyer’s remorse.
I’ve encountered this issue a few times during market visits in the past, especially if the journey there was a particularly long one.
I felt like I needed to buy something I thought was pretty mediocre just so the trip wasn’t completely wasted.
This left me with a lot of products, such as artwork and homemade trinkets, that I ended up hating.
Now, they’re all just sitting in a box in my spare room completely untouched. They’re in the best ornament storage I could find but still gathering dust nonetheless.
On more recent visits, I’ve pulled in the reins a little and only bought items I really click with.
Even if I can’t find anything I like, I save the money to go towards my next market shopping trip rather than spend it all on an “obligatory” purchase.
By doing this, I ended up with enough cash to purchase a lovely necklace and matching set of earrings from a vendor I really liked.
If your shopping trip leaves you empty handed, don’t despair, that special product could be waiting for you on your next bazaar adventure!
Deals That Are Too Good to Be True
If a deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is.
Carefully examine items before purchasing and be cautious about prices that appear too low.
Products with a suspiciously low price tag could be fake or made from inferior materials.
For example, homemade furniture that looks appealing at first glance could be made with particleboard or low-quality wood that splinters and breaks easily. It can sometimes be a pain to buy something and not realize you’ll have to break out the sander when you get home.
Close To Original
Designer wares might look like the real deal, but they could turn out to be fake.
Some non-designer goods can look incredibly authentic, so try and look out for subtle differences.
The color might be slightly off, the logo might be a bit askew, or the item might be missing a label or detail.
Take the time to study the item you want to buy to make sure you’re not about to get ripped off.
Be careful and make sure you know exactly what you are buying! If something does not feel right, then trust your gut instinct.
If you suspect an item is poorly-made or unauthentic, then you could always double-check with the vendor.
Don’t Hesitate To Get Information
On the flip side, if you’re unsure of why a product has a low price tag, don’t be afraid to ask the vendor.
There could be a perfectly plausible reason for the discounted or low cost, in which case you might have found yourself a treasure.
On the flip side, if the vendor comes across as a bit dishonest or gives you a questionable response, then don’t be afraid to move on and try somewhere else.
Haggling can help you get a little discount on a product, but make sure you know when it is appropriate.
If you show an interest in an item and politely say it is a little out of your price range, then the vendor may give you a small discount.
Additionally, some vendors may reduce the final price if you buy multiple items.
If they do not , you could always gently ask whether they do discounts for bulk purchases.
However, if the price is fixed or the seller is not biting, then there is not much you can do.
Do not push it and move on.
Most importantly, have fun!
Take things at your own pace, start up a conversation with the vendors, ask questions (if you have any), and just enjoy yourself.
Most sellers will be happy to speak to you regarding their business and products. You might even make a new friend or two!