A view of the industry through the
eyes of a chain buyer.
Advice To Retailers
How to keep a genuine enthusiast
Ė and big spender Ė happy.
by Name Withheld (September 4, 2006)
1. Constantly turn over product on the shelves. Offer free
workshops, make-it/take-its. Show how to use ink to make that old
piece of paper look completely different. This includes turning over
samples and designs.
2. Examples. When a customer walks in and sees something on
the wall Ė if they LOVE it, they will buy everything it takes to
make it. Make sure you have all the product in stock to make
anything on display
3. On-the-spot demos. A customer walks into the store and
says, "Oh, Iíd love to learn how to do that." If itís
quick and easy, pull out the stuff and show them. Great example is
"Ink It" in Gilbert AZ. I walked in, she showed me how, I
spent $182 on the spot Ė and definitely had not planned to do
that! I just said, "Sell me everything I need to make
that" after she did the demo.
4. Classes. Can you ever have enough? Have a cadre of
instructors and let them keep 100% of the class proceeds. Give them
10% of the sales from anyone in the class (use coupons to track).
Your profit will grow with repeat customers who will return to the
store over and over.
5. Never argue with the customer or tell them to buy
something else. I was just in a store looking for something and the
clerk suggested numerous items as a replacement. She had no idea
that I am a seasoned artist and was looking for a single, specific
item. She irritated the heck out of me. I probably wonít go back!
6. Stock items that cannot be found at Michaels, Jo-Ann's,
Hobby Lobby, etc. I shop a lot online because no one stocks what I
7. How do you know what customers want? How about asking them
when they walk through the door? See # 5 above. If that clerk had
simply said, "we donít have it, but we will be happy to order
it for you. Can we call you when it comes in?" I would have
been a loyal customer for life!!! Especially if she called me with
the product within a week or two!
8. Display. When I walk into your store I want to go WOW! I
want to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff that you have in
stock. It needs to be different, unique, fun, something I can use.
Thereís a tiny little nook of a store one hour away, The Artistís
Nook. I drive up there twice a month just to see what she has in
new. I have yet to be disappointed, and Iíve never walked out
9. Do not allow cliques in your store. Take the time to make
sure all of your croppers are feeling integrated with the
other croppers. A great way to do that is to have a drawing every
hour. Give away some of the sample merchandise you receive. Hand out
a few sheets of cardstock Ė heck, what does that cost you? In the
long run you will gain tons.
10. Donít forget overseas who travel to the U.S. and
out-of-town customers. How do they find you? Iím in several yahoo
groups and often have women ask me where to shop in my area. If I
donít like you, I wonít refer them to you!
11. Sending out weekly emails is a great way to build
business and build customer loyalty.
12. Iím not looking for a coupon or a discount. Iím
looking for the product I want. And if you donít have it, I will
order online and pay the shipping. I use my coupons to buy adhesive,
glue, the boring stuff that I never have enough of!
(Note: To read advice for vendors and designers, click on
Vendor" and Designing
Perspectives. To read previous "Benny" columns, click
on the titles in the right-hand column. Do you agree or disagree
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