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June 24, 2017

Sell More

Choosing The Best Domain Name

Choosing the best domain name is an important part of setting up your business, so take some time to research it and select wisely.  A catchy domain name will be easier to remember than your telephone number and will result in fewer lost sales.  Like a good business name, your domain name should tell people

Keyword Research Essentials

There are only 3 steps in any online marketing campaign:  Keywords, Strategy, and Execution.  It doesn’t matter if you have a website, a blog, a social network, mobile marketing, or whatever the next big thing is; it all comes down to these three things.  If you are going to effectively promote your business, you must

Find Your Niche Market

These days, finding an adequate niche market for your business is essential.  There is no way that a small business can compete on a large scale with the multi-million dollar advertising budgets and massive distribution of large corporations.   In real-world economies, David does not beat Goliath; Goliath crushes David before he even gets his

When to Use (or Avoid) Print Ads

To paraphrase Mark Twain: “The reports of (print advertising’s) death have been greatly exaggerated”. It’s true that the effectiveness of print advertising has been greatly diminished by digital marketing platforms. But, print ads can still be useful to Antique and Vintage dealers if they are used selectively. Adnews reporter Lindsay Bennet quotes a Magazine Network

Top Three Antiques Marketing Tactics

There are times when retailing seems like a giant game of whack-a-mole. You might recall whack-a-mole from your last visit to an arcade: A lighted game console sits on the floor, a player facing a horizontal playing surface containing a dozen (or so) holes. When persuaded by sufficient quarters, toy moles begin to randomly pop

Please Touch the Merchandise

In 2003, the Illinois state attorney general’s office issued a consumer warning that antique dealers should be aware of: Holiday shoppers were told to be cautious of retailers who encouraged them to hold objects and imagine them as their own while shopping. It seems that touching objects increased a consumer’s risk of buying them. Those

You’re Selling Nostalgia, Not Antiques

In the mid-1970s, I took my first sales seminar from what was then the biggest sales training organization in North America. There I learned the most useless sales technique I have ever encountered. For decades, this technique was taught as a way to close sales when a customer simply couldn’t make up their mind. (Ever

Engage Your Customers for Repeat Business

When I saw the headline I laughed out loud. It read “The Future of e-Commerce is Offline.” Now wait a minute … haven’t we been told for the past two decades that the future of retailing was online? That in the future there would be no bricks-and-mortar stores, just websites? Well, it appears as though

Marketing With Memes

I love memes. When I’m on Facebook, nothing inspires me to click “share” faster than a clever meme. Chances are you’ve seen memes as well, but you may not have known what they were called. Memes are captioned images that contain a pithy saying or sarcastic comment. Social Media is full of them, and you’ve

Why Your Facebook Marketing Isn’t Working

The topic of discussion at a recent small business gathering was “What’s new in your marketing plan for 2016?” My answer was “Nothing so far.” Perhaps if an entrepreneur develops a new platform that combines some of what I’m already doing, I’ll consider making some changes. In the meantime it’s status quo for me. I

Manage Better

What Antique Dealers Can Learn From Encyclopedia Britannica

photo courtesy of http://yourschoolmarketing.com/ In 1993, Encyclopedia Britannica had the most profitable year in the company’s history. Two years later, the company was nearly bankrupt and was sold for below book value. What happened in those two years? Most folks would say that Britannica was done in by Microsoft Encarta. In 1993, Microsoft purchased rights

How the Antique Business Can Recapture Gen X

Today, the antique business has a new problem: old customers. Boomers and their parents, who have been collecting antiques for decades, no longer have the room or the inclination to buy more antiques. Their Gen-X successors do not seem to care for antiques. “The trend is away from antiques”, says Red Whaley, owner of an

Prepare for a Career as an Antique Dealer?

I was delighted to find that The Princeton Review has published a report on the career “antique dealer.” The report is intended as a guide for prospective college students planning a course of study. I’m encouraged that the antiques business was included for students’ consideration. (http://www.princetonreview.com/careers/9/antiques-dealer) The review pointed out some hard truths about the

How to Cut Prices, but Stay Profitable

I’m sure you see this as much as I do: Walking through an antique mall, you spot a booth displaying a hand-written sign that reads: “Everything in this booth 25% off!” What’s your impression when you see this? A) It’s a desperate move to raise cash. B) It’s just a sale. C) The booth is

Why You’ll Love an Inventory SKU System

Keeping inventory under control in a growing antiques business is a matter of “scaling.” Many dealers start with a garage full of items they have collected, and begin by selling at an antique mall or show. As they grow, they may move to a free-standing retail location or sell online. As inventory, customer base and

How Should You Book Consignment Revenue?

I’ve heard dealers describe consigned inventory as “found money.” Items taken on consignment, they claim, reduce their investment in inventory and provide more choices for customers. Both perceptions are true. But, how you choose to account for consignment transactions can make your overall financial performance harder to analyze and ultimately may make your business worth

Effective Business Goals Match Your Personal Values

The goal setting that you’ve been encouraged to do over the years may have hurt you as much as helped you. For decades, an oft-repeated management truism has been that setting goals improves performance and motivation. From the hallowed halls of the Wharton School to the digital psychobabble of the motivational-speaker-du-jour, we have been told

Benchmarks: Your Sales vs. the Competition

Two years ago in February, I dedicated a Behind the Gavel column to a discussion of benchmarks Benchmarks are valuable tools in many sectors, both in business and personal life. In this article Wayne Jordan offers some helpful benchmarks for antiques dealers. I’d like to revisit that topic to see how “used merchandise stores” fared

Antiques and Collectibles

How To Collect Art Confidently

I have spent the last six months as a Fine Art Auctioneer aboard cruise ships sailing in Northern Europe, the Caribbean, and Alaska. The crowds at my auctions were a mix of veteran art collectors, newbie art collectors, the curious,the bored,and the lost. Some of them bought art, but most did not. Those that did

Some Surprisingly Valuable Household Junk

There is gold in your drawers that you may not be aware of. Don’t feel bad. We Americans are accumulators. Consumerism drives our economy; when we see something we need (or want) we pull out the plastic and buy it. Over time, our possessions go out of style or lose their appeal, and we opt

National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest

“To build up a library is to create a life. It’s never just a random collection of books.” ― Carlos Maria Domínguez, “The House of Paper” Such is the guiding philosophy of the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America’s (ABAA) annual National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest. Launched in 2005, the event is open to college students

A Mis-identified Victorian Sideboard

From the Worthologist Archive comes a tale of misidentification at the hands of an errant estate auctioneer. The subject was sold as a “walnut Austrian wine cabinet.” A hand-written note in one of the drawers stated that the piece was “made only between 1870 and 1885.” An analysis of the photos accompanying the appraisal request

Investing in Art and Antiques

Arguments rage as to whether art and antiques are good investments. There was a time when we were encouraged to invest in art and antiques. “Buy low, and you’ll sell high,” we were told, as if collectibles had no place to go but up and all would appreciate at the same rate of return. In

The Contagion of Collecting

A lock of John Lennon’s hair just brought $35,000 at auction. The crusts of Justin Timberlake’s French toast sold for $3,154. A mucus-filled tissue used by Scarlett Johansson on The Tonight Show garnered $5,300. Have you ever wondered why collectors pay such outrageous sums for items that most of us would throw in the trash?

Collecting Candlestick Telephones

The eBay description is succinct, if not grammatically correct: “(sic)…the price is right 2 years ago I sold one for $4500 at a telephone show in Los Angeles… to own this phone is better than having money in the bank.” The item offered is a Western Electric #10 candlestick phone with a “Buy it Now”

Collecting Vintage Yo-Yos

QUESTION: What do Good Humor ice cream bars, parking meters and yo-yos have in common? ANSWER: Donald F. Duncan (1892-1971), American entrepreneur. It was Duncan’s ideas that sent children scurrying for nickels and dimes at the sound of a Good Humor ice cream truck, set thousands of adults to swearing at the parking tickets they

Guns of the Mayflower

It seems that each Thanksgiving I happen upon a picture of a somber Pilgrim dressed in black, big buckles on his shoes, belt and hat, with a turkey slung over one shoulder and a blunderbuss firearm in-hand. This image has been used in cartoons, movies and ads for generations; I’m sure that most of you

Collecting Vintage Field Drums

Church-bells ringing on Sunday morning are a familiar sound in communities all over America. There was a time, though, that the faithful were called to worship by the sound of drums. Thomas L. Purvis notes in his book “Colonial America to 1763” that the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony built a platform atop their meeting house

Minimizing Antiques Fraud

A few weeks ago here in my home county, seven sellers at the annual Hillsville, Va., Labor Day Flea Market were arrested for selling counterfeit brand-name goods. The goods consisted of cell phone accessories, jackets and perfumes with a street value of about $500,000. Four of the sellers were from Illinois, two from Kentucky and

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