HacDC ran HackersMart, The Hackers Convenience Store, during The Last HOPE. Designed to be a "one stop shop" for things attendees might need and might not be readily available (especially at night), it's a way to raise money for HacDC and provide a service to conference goers. In the future, Hackersmart will be traveling to other Conferences.
Hackersmart Lessons Learned
- Make sure everyone knows how to operate the cash register.
- When members are scheduling their travel to and from the event, have them take into account the time it will take to set up and tear down the Hackersmart, including hauling and loading boxes.
- Bring only labeled boxes. Keep things sorted as much as possible throughout the event. Confusion leads to lost sales.
- New customers are like razor-toothed gree worms. They can be succulent, but sometimes they bite back.
- Keep a notepad upon which to record requests. Every time someone asks for something you don't have, even if it seems like an item you'd never consider carrying, write it down. Future business ideas start here.
- Establish a dedicated separate spot for "employees" to leave their crap so it doesn't get mistaken for inventory. Especially on Sunday as people check out of their rooms, crap piles up.
- Price everything clearly, or mark "make-offer" items as such.
- Get someone familiar with each item to price it. If there's something unique about an otherwise mundane-looking item, that familiar person should write it down so that, if they're not available when a customer wants to haggle, those who are available don't unknowingly let it go too cheap.
- Giving things away can sometimes be much more profitable than selling them. Handing someone a pair of two-cent LEDs and saying "don't worry about it" usually got a few quarters or sometimes a whole dollar thrown in the tipjar.