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Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com


The trends, the issues, and productive business strategies.

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Characteristics of a Hardcore Scrapper 

And how to keep her coming back for more.

by Mike Hartnett (March, 2004)

Is your business ok? Sales AND profits? I hope so, but I also hope you realize you're not over the hump. You put an enormous amount of time, money, and emotional energy into opening your shop and making it go. But this is no time to take a breather.

As I described in the previous issue, you are going to be fighting more and tougher competition, and there will be a more bewildering array of products from which to choose your inventory. In that column we also talked about the need for attracting new customers and gave you strategies to achieve that goal. Now we'll discuss keeping your current customers returning to your store.

This requires as much work as attracting new customers. It appears that many of them rush in and scoop up every new product you offer, but it's not that simple. In fact, it's dangerous. As wonderful as they are, those hard-core customers of yours do not buy ALL of the new products. If you're lucky, they buy 50%, then pressure you to buy more new lines while you're stuck struggling to sell the remnants of the old lines.

To keep your best customers coming back, you need to understand some of their qualities.

1. They get old, bored, and/or more away.

That's why it's critical to continue to attract new customers, whether it's luring them away from your competition or getting novices hooked on scrapbooking. If you haven't read it yet, click on the title in the right-hand column to learn strategies for attracting new customers.

2. Eventually, they will run out of photos to scrap.

When someone gets hooked on scrapbooking, they probably have a lifetime of photos to put in scrapbooks. So they scrap like crazy until ... they're caught up. Then they have no need to scrap until the next birthday party, vacation, graduation, etc. They're probably taking more photos than they did in their pre-scrapbook days, but still, they don't have any many to scrap as they did when they took up the hobby.

But by now they've learned to craft with paper and realized they can produce lovely, creative projects.

So it's time to entice them to try new projects. What about quilling? Stamping? Cardmaking? Altered Art? Framing? The possibilities for paper-related projects are obvious: your customers are using products with which they're familiar, so the self-confidence issue is resolved, and the inventory for can also be sold for scrapbooking.

Most consumers, hardcore scrappers or not, have some photos they want to display, not hide in an album (no matter how lovely the album may be). Sell frames and/or add products that help the consumer use her scrapbook skills to embellish a frame. (See www.magtimeframes.com).

Another lovely paper category is quilling, which would cost very little to put in your store. (See www.lakecitycrafts.com.)

How about decorative painting? Don't laugh; if you think scrapbookers are fanatics, you should see decorative painters. And there's a new program. Scrapbooking Plus ... the painted touch that combines decorative painting and scrapbooking and will even provide a teacher for you. (Email sbkplus@aol.com.)

3. They're switching to digital.

The Photo Marketing Association projected that by the end of last year, more than 33 million U.S. households will own digital cameras, and there is already a 64% increase in the number of digital photos printed. As far as where and how consumers are having their digital photos printed, there was a 639% increase in the use of digital self-service kiosks, and only a 33% increase in home printers.

PMA says digital photographers aren't using home printers more often because of print quality, ease of use, and cost. Although companies such as Epson and Hewlit Packard are developing better quality, lower-priced photo printers for the home, most of your customers would find it cheaper and more fun to print their photos in your store and get better quality prints, too.

In other words, look to invest in one or two high quality printers for your store. (See www.hp.com and www.epson.com/scanprintprofit.)

Some retailers may even start selling photo printers or work with a local computer retailer to co-sponsor classes.

4. Scrapbookers are very social.

A recent article in the Washington Post described scrap parties as the quilting bee of the 21st century but you already know that. Scrappers love to get together. For new ideas on various scrapbook events you can hold in your store, read Sandra and Laryssa Joseph's new book, The Crop Corner: Event Ideas for Scrapbook Businesses. It's a portfolio of event themes for retailers featuring articles from Sandra's column in Scrapbook Premier magazine. These articles provide information about event ideas for crops, classes, retreats, parties, and more.

Sandra says the portfolio provides themes, each with ideas for appropriate decorations, food, music, games, gifts and more). Also included is reprintable store money that can be given to attendees and used at a later date to promote future sales in the store. The cost is $19.95. It will be on the website (www.remindersoffaith.com) soon, but can be purchased now by emailing Kathy Brundage, Kathyb@remindersoffaith.com or Sandra, sandraj@remindersoffaith.com.

Another way to keep your more talented, outgoing customers interested is to ask them to teach classes, conduct demos, and help you with your scrap parties. They can make great sales clerks, too, because they're so knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

5. Scrapbookers love your store, but they're price conscious.

Carry products not offered elsewhere; that way your customers can't make apples-to-apples price comparisons.

You can't eliminate every product carried by a competitor, however, so you must watch your prices. Your customers will shop at Wal-Mart, Target, and drug stores for everyday items, but they'll walk the scrapbook aisles and check out any new scrapbook stores in town. They like your store or they wouldn't be your best customers; they'll pay more at your store, but not much more.

Consider joining a scrapbook retailers group such as Crafters Home (www.craftershome.biz) to get better prices from selected vendors.

But don't be tempted to always buy larger quantities direct from manufacturers in order to qualify for better discounts. You can end up buying too much and having your back room stuffed with merchandise your "what's new?" customers no longer want.

Better to use distributors. Order less but more often. Higher margins are great if you sell the products, all the products. In the end, turnover is more important.

Note: To read previous articles regarding Memory, Paper & Stamps, click on the titles in the right-hand column.



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Memory, Paper & Stamps Recent Columns...
SCRAPBOOK ETC, READERS SPEAK OUT; They are sad and angry.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT SCRAPBOOKING; Return to preserving memories and other suggestions.

WHAT TO DO ABOUT SCRAPBOOKING; Reconnect with its roots: printing photos and preserving family legacies.

THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING IN MICHIGAN; And probably everywhere else.

WHAT'S HAPPENED TO SCRAPBOOKING; Why it's not what it was.

WHY SCRAPBOOKING NEEDS A NEW WAY TO MARKET OUR PRODUCTS; An invitation to an informative seminar.

BUSINESS TRENDS AT THE CHA SUMMER SHOW; Adjusting to the tight economy.

THE SECOND HALF OF '09: SCRAPBOOKING; Challenges...and opportunities.

RETAILERS COMMENT ON THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING; Is the demise of Memory Makers a sign of scrapbooking's decline, or a decline in advertising?

PAPER VS. DIGITAL OR...Is there a profitable middle ground?

Q. & A. ABOUT PRESERVATION; Preserving newspaper articles in scrapbooks, and other useful tips.


SIXTEEN WAYS TO ATTRACT NEW CUSTOMERS; If each method attracted 20 new customer...

WHAT'S HAPPENING TO SCRAPBOOKING? The digital world is changing the category and the consumer.

A PHOTO/SCRAP STORE CHANGES COURSE; Offering digital services rather than scrapbook supplies.

PROBLEMS IN SCRAPBOOKING...Will only be solved by cooperation.

A SCRAPBOOK SHOP HOP: AN INNOVATIVE MARKETING STRATEGRY FOR 2008; The nuts and bolts, and why they produce results.

UNAPPRECIATED LOYALTY; Why many devoted scrapbookers are angry.

CONSUMERS RESPOND; Anger, misunderstanding, and thought-provoking comments...

CHALLENGE #1: INSPIRING CONSUMERS TO PRINT PHOTOS; Interesting advice and comments from CLN readers.

STOP WORRYING ABOUT DIGITAL SCRAPBOOKING...And worry about printing photos instead.

PMA SPEAKS OUT; On trade shows, scrapbooking and more.



A SCRAPBOOKER'S IMPRESSIONS OF CHA'S WINTER SHOW, 2007; A step in the right direction.

CRAFTER'S HOME: BIG PLANS, NEW PERSONNEL; All designed to help independents and grow the category.

PREDICTIONS FOR 2007; Further consolidation and new opportunities.

WE NEED HOG WILD CRAZY CUSTOMERS; They're our best customers, but they morph into no-so-good customers.

SCRAPBOOKING IN 2010; Sound advice for retailers and vendors to survive and prosper in the next four years.

DIGITAL OR HARD-COPY SCRAPBOOKS? Is one better than the other? Or is there a "best of both worlds" solution?

WILL SCRAPBOOKING FADE LIKE OTHER TRENDS? No! Yes! And maybe it's a moot point, say subscribers.

THE SCRAPBOOK WARS: A REPORT FROM THE TRENCHES; Clearance sales and short-sighted vendors make a tough business tougher.

CHA's DIGITAL IMAGING SEMINARS; Digital and imaging programs for retailers -- and vendors.

TECHNIQUE OR STORYTELLING? Techniques enhance memories by appealing to more senses.

WHO'S TO BLAME WHEN A STORE CLOSES? Outside competition? Or something else?

THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING; Readers react to the thought provoking comments by Crafters Home's Shane Cullimore.

CRAFTERS HOME'S SHANE CULLIMORE SPEAKS OUT; Thought provoking analysis of how scrapbooking is changing.

WHAT'S HAPPENING TO SCRAPBOOKING? Readers offer complicated, tough answers.

WHY INDEPENDENTS AREN'T MORE "LOYAL" TO SMALL VENDORS; Large vendors: Can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em.

THOUGHTS FROM AN EX-SCRAPBOOK RETAILER; Who's to blame? Not the chains, but vendors?

THE PAPER CHASE; Too much paper, there are more profitable products to stock.

MERCHANDISING MATTERS; Advise to vendors on packaging and racks.

INCREASING THE SIZE OF THE PIE; Attracting newcomers by creating an identity.

SCRAPBOOKING IS APPEALING TO THE WRONG MARKET; We aren't keeping it inviting to newcomers.

THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING AND INDEPENDENTS; The new leader of Crafters Home speaks out on what's right -- and what's wrong -- with retailing in 2005.

DO WHAT YOU'VE ALWAYS DONE; The scrapbook industry is in trouble! Some possible solutions.

MORE WAYS TO TURN A CRAFTER INTO A SCRAPBOOKER; Bring the message to the consumer, use consultants, and don't call it "scrapbooking."

TURNING A CRAFTER INTO A SCRAPBOOKER; Strategies to attract the doubters.

GREAT BRITAIN: GETTING CRAFTIER BY THE DAY! Scrapbooking is growing, but card making is king.

LEARNING FROM ANOTHER MARKET FOR SCRAPBOOKING; Gaining a broader perspective on your business.

THE STATE OF SCRAPBOOKING; Interview with Crafter's Home President Norm Carlson.

CHARACTERISTICS OF A HARDCORE SCRAPPER; And how to keep her coming back for more.

PROBLEMS LOOM FOR SCRAPBOOK RETAILERS...But there are some common sense solutions.


AN INTERVIEW WITH SUE DIFRANCO; Candid talk on the state and future of scrapbooking.

NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS FOR SCRAPBOOK RETAILERS; Strategies to make 2004 more profitable and enjoyable.

PAPER:THE NEW FOUNDATION; Allows scrapbookers to go beyond scrapbooking.

INTERVIEW WITH SANDRA JOSEPH; Blunt talk about challenges, trends, and the future.


SCRAPBOOKING STILL SHOWING STRONG GROWTH; New study pegs market at $1.2 billion.

SCRAPBOOK RETAILERS & CRAFTER'S HOME; How joining forces can help independents survive and prosper

SO, WHO'S AFRAID OF MICHAELS?; It's way, way too early to panic.