Thursday, January 23, 2014

Prime Booth Location

When you first get a booth at a mall, your booth location isn't usually up to you.  You have to take whatever spot is open.  Once you are in the door, as vendors leave, you may have an opportunity to move to a better spot.  Some mall owners will let all the vendors know when a space is coming open in case anyone wants to move.  Some mall owners will rent the open spot to the next potential vendor on her list. Vendors already in the store are shocked and some may wish they'd had a chance at moving.  Either way, you should pick out the booths you would love to have and tell the owner if any of them ever come available to please consider you.  And then, to make sure you are a good candidate, you need to prove yourself worthy of a better spot by making  the absolute most of your current location.  If you have a lousy looking booth and/or poor sales, why would the owner want to put you in a prime location?  And stay on the owner's good side, for Heaven's sake!

All malls vary, but here are some general thoughts to help you figure out which are the best booths in your mall -

The right side of the aisle is usually better than the left.  Most people tend to look to the right a little more often.


A wide booth is better than a narrow booth.  Wide booths give you more options for arranging and a better opportunity for creating eye catching displays.

If you sell lots of things than hang, then look for booths with plenty of wall space.

Lighting is important.  Some malls don't want you to turn on lamps and lights in your booth during the hot summer months.  If you have good lighting that's no big deal.  If you are in a dark spot, it's bad, especially if you are selling dark furntiure.


One more caution about lighting.  Some malls have ceiling fans.  A ceiling fan situated just so - in the path of a ceiling light - can produce a very annoying strobe effect.  Standing in a booth with the strobe effect is very irritating and customers generally don't linger in booths with that issue.


A corner booth can be good, but not all corner booths are equal.  It depends of the traffic flow.  Corners that face oncoming traffic are the best.  If the corner is usually to the customer's back, then it's not a prime corner.  In fact, it causes you to lose your money wall.  See more about traffic flow and the money wall in this post.


Booths that can be seen from different spots in the store are good.  Booths that can be seen from several booths away, like a booth at the end of an aisle, can be really good.

Being in the main path of traffic is important.  You don't want a booth in an off-the-main-path area that some customers forget to walk to.  You also don't want a booth in a spot that is too congested or too crowded.  A customer standing in the aisle looking into the booth might feel hurried along as other people walk past.  You want a spot where folks can happily loiter.

I could argue either way for being near the entrance or near the exit.  Some customers spend more time in the first few booths.  But will they make purchases.  They might be reluctant to pick something up, thinking they have so much more to see.  They tell themselves they'll come back after they've gone through the store.  But they don't always go back.

Towards the end, some impulse shoppers really want to go home with some little something.  If they haven't seen anything they want and they find themselves with only a few booths to go, they might look closer at those last booths.  For that matter, they might also take another quick look at any booths near the register.  Other customers might be on overload by the time they get to the end.  They might rush through the last booths.

 Lots of vendors love those first and last booths.  I never cared one way or the other.

Personal Photo taken at Queen of Hearts in Marietta, GA

If you know you aren't happy with your current booth, avoid putting in semi-permanent structures. Make your decor very mobile.  With luck, you may get to move to a better location quickly.  In fact you may "move up" several times before you get a booth you love.  I moved 4 times within 2 years before I found the perfect booth for me.

One last booth location thought - know your potential booth neighbors.  There may be some neighbors that, for whatever reason, you'd rather not be beside. Moving next to them could make your vendor life a lot more complicated and who needs that?  Just sayin'!

If your location and your booth shape isn't the best, don't worry too much.  I have seen awesome vendors in bad locations with poorly shaped booths and bad lighting who did GREAT.  If you have great stuff to sell, customers will flock to your booth!!!  Still, it's nice to be where you feel happy.