Maximizing Open Base Events

  • May 17, 2017

Several of our customers host events open to the local Japanese community. They are built around air shows, professional displays, music, cherry blossom season and running events. We’ve attended many over the past two decades and volunteered at dozens. Most of our experience was accumulated at food and beverage sales booths and souvenir stands.  We noted the vendors differentiating themselves held the edge on competition. Following are a few observations of activities at the open community events that encouraged superior results. We hope they assist discussions for your next event.

-1-Sample:  Food sales greatly increase by active interaction thru sampling.  Your food stand often competes with vendors just meters away.  Sampling gives you an advantage.

-2-Package drink sales:  Adult beverage and soft drinks can be sold at premium prices when delivered in custom drink-ware.  Beer yards, custom acrylic tumblers and travel coffee cups sold really well.  It’s a souvenir with practical value.

-3-Sell what you wear:  The Japanese customer wants what you and your team are wearing. Wear the hats, shirts and hoodies you’re selling and they’ll try to buy them off your back when you sell out. (This really happened.)

-4-Price points:  Prepare price points carefully.  At one event, we sold knit caps (beanies) for 2000 yen each and two for 3000 yen.  The majority of sales by far were for 3000 yen.

-5-Signage:  English attracts the Japanese customer but Japanese sells.  Get help and produce bilingual signs.

-6-Design:  Many of your customers attend your event every year.  Design new and interesting products, consider packaging and popular color trends.  It sets you apart from the competition and allows better margins.

-7-Size and quantities: Selling out is good.  Make them rush to your sales booth at the next event in order not to miss out on your new offerings.  Watch out for the big sizes and remember that American cuts are larger than Japanese brands.  The Japanese population is getting larger on average but we rarely finished events with dead-stock in extra-small, small and medium sizes.  Side bar:  There always seems to be a percentage of customers looking for children’s sizes. 


Have fun.  One of the most important take-aways from time spent at the open community events in Japan is the importance of having “FUN” while working.  Smile, joke, compliment and work with enthusiasm.  It makes all the difference.