The Birdbath Principle is best explained by the example of choosing to place your birdbath in the centre of a lawn where feeding birds are exposed, or placing it adjacent to foliage where birds can feel comfortable and safe.
This all comes from an article by Bri Williams on smartcompany. It has relevance to retail and exposes unique problems for market traders because of the size and configuration of our stalls. Essentially it relates to removing fear on the part of customers – making them feel comfortable about entering your stall and getting the right exposure to your product range without being pounced upon by staff.
One technique for many traders is to display on the line. In other words, set up display tables at the front of the stall so customers can view everything from the comfort of a public area. For some traders that is not feasible, largely because of the size of their product range and the need to have customer entry and circulation to present their full range.
Containers in String Bean Alley and shops on Victoria St have bigger problems because customers have to consciously step up or into the retail space. At least one trader in String Bean Alley positions himself on the outside of the container to give customers the freedom to circulate without fear of being pounced on.
Another trader I notice is constantly on the move for similar reasons. Customers need to feel they can move freely. Apparently there have been studies that you need at least 1.2m clearway at any point in your stall to encourage customer movement and we have written on Victraders before about avoiding the dreaded "bum brush" for customers.
Giving customers freedom is all very well in normal shops but smaller spaces have their challenges. Maybe this is worth experimentation at your stall. If you can encourage an extra 1 in 10 potential customers to engage at your stall, the effort could be very worthwhile.