If you are anything like me, you love visiting the local flea markets. There is just something about shopping for items new and old that gets me excited! From the handcrafted kitchen wares to vintage furniture; from pre-worn jewelry to pre-loved children’s toys, there is always something unique to discover. I have even run a few kiosks in my time.
Nowadays, however, flea markets and even farmers markets are becoming harder and harder to find. While I am a little disappointed street markets are falling out of fashion, I am not worried, because there are still so many treasures to unearth; especially in the world of ecommerce.
Consumers Love It
Ecommerce, or the act of buying and selling goods over the internet, has become my new obsession. I am not alone in this. Turns out that 2016 marked the first year where consumers made the majority (51%) of their purchases online. A trend that is expect to grow exponentially in coming years.
And why not? Ecommerce is extremely convenient: You can compare prices from multiple vendors in mere minutes, read and post product reviews, find coupon codes in your email inbox, get goods delivered right to your home, and even shop in your underwear. This is a totally different experience than waking up at 5AM on a Saturday to hit the flea market.
Not to mention that ecommerce gives you access to a whole world of goodies, something even the largest flea markets on earth cannot provide. Of course, it is not just shoppers who benefit from e-commerce. Vendors like online headshops are seeing the benefit as well.
Sellers Love It Even More
Flea markets used to be the bastion of do-it-yourselfers and second-hand sellers. However, now it is time to adjust to the new way of doing things.
Looking to sell your furniture online? How about your self-crafted turquoise jewelry or hand-sewn dolls? Various free ecommerce platform providers, like Shopify, allow users to create a profile, host a site, and accept payments without the need to invest in pricey web hosting services.
This is leaps and bounds easier than manually setting up a kiosk in an empty parking lot at 4AM. Especially on a cold and windy day. Yikes!
And unlike flea market kiosks, your electronic store is always open, day or night. Meaning you can earn money while you sleep. No need to stand around watching indecisive window shoppers scope your merchandise before walking away.
Obviously, there are a few skills you need to learn before (or during) opening an ecommerce site. This you probably did not learn when selling things at the local flea market. For example, email and social media marketing.
Facebook and Instagram are your best friends. They can help you find new consumers and create lasting relationships with your audience. Thankfully, these platforms are free and take advantage of a large number of regular users. In this way, social media is far better at staying top of mind than even a homepage.
Similarly, email marketing is cost effective way of staying in front of shoppers and reminding them of upcoming sales, clearance items, new products, and more. And since email subscribers do so willingly, you will not be ignored like spam emails or banner advertisements.
But I Love It Most of All
In case you are wondering: yes, I still do visit the flea markets in my area, but not as much as of late. My weekly habit has become a monthly excursion; a leisure activity rather than a way to earn extra cash.
While flea markets and street vending will always be a part of my life, I can only say good things about the future of ecommerce. And whether you are a consumer or a vendor, you should be excited about it too.