10 things you NEED to know when shopping at markets!


Let’s state the obvious – markets are not shopping centres. Yes, there are individual sellers, selling different things, but many things are different, for instance; no shopping centre red eyes, no ‘I’ve forgotten why I am here’ and definitely no stock (take our junk) sales! But before you head out on your next market shopping spree, here are 10 things you may not have thought about.

1. Talk to the stall holders if you’re going to buy one of their products

They’ll tell you interesting stories about the product, how it was made, where materials came from etc. It may make what you’re about to buy even more special.

2. Take their business card or keep a product tag

I remember buying hand made soap once and I loved it. Trouble was I couldn’t remember the name of the maker! I wanted more soap, but couldn’t get in touch. Keeping the stall holder’s details also comes in handy if you need to return something faulty, have a question or they sell something your friend would love!

yarraville markets
Yarraville Markets

3. Don’t ask for a discount at design or craft markets!

You’re not buying junk at a flea market. Makers spend a lot of time and energy on their products and often are selling them cheap enough as it is. And if you think it is a little expensive, you can rest assured that many makers are selling at nearly cost price and hardly making any profit. Asking for a discount is insulting.

4. Be clear with your intentions to buy

Don’t take up too much of the seller’s time by asking a million questions, especially if you know you’re not going to buy anything. If you’re not sure, at least take a business card, so you don’t walk away empty handed. Sellers could be talking to genuine buyers and making much needed sales, in the time they’ve spent talking to window shoppers. So be considerate with their time.

the north melbourne market
The North Melbourne Market

5. Market stalls are not like retail shops

The shop assistant is not going to make you that necklace you love in a different colour. Market stall holders, on the other hand, might just do that. Often stall holders love taking commissions and getting a custom made item is often pretty easy. All you need to do is ask.

6. Due to limited space, many stall holders don’t put out all their stock

If you’re looking for something in particular or in another size or colour, make sure you ask. It could be sitting under their table!

chris turnbull photography
Chris Turnbull Photography

7. Get Stallholder details

If you particularly like a stall holder, but aren’t ready to buy yet, make sure you ask them what markets they’ll be at in the future and when, so you can go back to them. Don’t assume you’ll be able to find them online. Unfortunately, not all stall holders have a web presence.

8. It’s often cheaper and easier to buy in person

If the stall holder has an online shop, and you’d rather buy online, keep in mind you’ll need to pay for postage and often online shops aren’t updated as regularly, so you may not find what you want. You’ll also be saving the stall holder money in online transaction fees. It usually benefits everyone to buy in person. Plus, the stall holders love to know who’s buying their products and buying face to face is just.. well,, nicer.

Bold as Love
Bold As Love

9. Get the fine print

When buying a gift for someone, make sure you ask the seller about their returns policy. They will all differ and don’t assume regular retail policies apply. Most stall holders do offer returns and exchanges, but just ask before you buy to make sure.

lovely sparrow and co.
Lovely Sparrow and Co.

10. Stay in touch

Often, stall holders will have a mailing list you can join. If you like them, add your email to the list. It’s a great way of keeping in touch with the seller without you having to do anything.

pom pom poppy
Pom Pom Poppy

Do you have any other tips for happy market shopping? If you do, share them with us here and on our Facebook page.

Happy marketing everyone!