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February 25, 2018

Antique Trader

grim reaper

Can Your Antiques Business Pass the Acid Test?

Back before Saturday Night Live there was a radio comedy troupe called The Firesign Theatre. Their routines included a game show titled “Beat the Reaper” in which contestants were injected with a deadly disease and had less than a minute to analyze their symptoms and guess what disease they had. Those who did would Beat

books

Books the Antiques Experts Use

I recently read a comment on an antiques forum that referenced a 2009 blog post titled “Being An Antiques & Collectibles Dealer Isn’t Rocket Surgery, But…”. The post was by Deanna Dahlsad, and is found on the Collector’s Quest blog. Mixed metaphors aside, Ms. Dahlsad shares the point that like both rocket science and brain

google trends

Trend Spotting with Web tools

It’s been said that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” By that reasoning, as the economy improves, all of us should be seeing greater sales revenues. Of course, the “rising tide” of the economy also increases our taxes and expenses, so, relatively speaking, we may not be any better off than we were at low

if then

Find More Time by Using Online Tools

This time of year, many antique dealers are breathing a sigh of relief. The holiday selling crush is over. For the past month or so, administrative chores have been put on hold in order to service in-store and online customers. Hopefully, most of us have fattened bank accounts to make up for all the hard

just looking

Getting Past “Just Looking”

The most thought-provoking comment I’ve heard lately came just last week from the mouth of a four-year-old boy. I was browsing through the men’s department of a mall store when the four-year-old appeared, holding his mother’s hand. A clerk asked the mother: “Can I help you?” and without dropping a beat the young boy replied:

card acceptance

Keeping Up With Payment Systems Technology

A recurring scene in futuristic movies shows a character paying for a purchase by touching the screen of a hand-held device, or swiping a wand across a terminal. Thirty years ago such an act was certainly the stuff of science fiction. Today, this payment method is a reality. The future is here. That is, except

hillsville flea

Flea Markets: The Times They Are a-Changin’

“Where are all the antique dealers?” I wondered as I wandered through the roughly one-square-mile of dealer booths at the annual Hillsville (Virginia) Labor Day Flea Market and Gun Show. The show, in its 47th year, has morphed over the decades from a local VFW-sponsored gun show and flea market to a national event that

WalMart

Why Wal-Mart Is Good For Your Antiques Business

One of my favorite quotes (erroneously attributed to Mark Twain) is “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.” Statistics are a business writer’s favorite device. I use them often to support my conclusions. Statistics help me make connections between what seem to be unrelated issues and draw parallels to the antiques

The Shipping Wars: Do Online Sellers Benefit?

You may have seen the YouTube video preview posted by Amazon Prime Air eight months ago: It’s had more than 15 million views. The 1-minute, 20-second video tracks an Amazon order beginning with a customer clicking the “Prime Air 30-Minute Delivery” button online and ends with a drone gently placing a package at the customers

ebay global

Global Selling: Let the Pros Do the Heavy Lifting

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about overseas selling, and perhaps importing items for domestic resale. I began to research the concept by interviewing a half-dozen acquaintances who have or are still buying and selling across international borders. Next, I read “Import 101” by Paul Lidberg. My first impression was that import/export is not for

capodimonte

When Auctions Move Slowly, It’s Good for Buyers

I had a wonderful experience last weekend: I attended an old-fashioned onsite country estate auction. This auction was “way back up in the hills,” so there were no cell phone signals or WiFi connections available. Consequently, no credit or debit cards could be accepted: Cash or check only. Everything was sold absolute to the highest

bidders

Know The Right Selling Price Before You Buy

Last weekend, after browsing through a live auction preview, I sat cross-checking my notes against my online research service. As my research progressed, I made notes for each item that I was interested in: high selling price, low selling price, how many were offered on eBay, how many of those sold. The item’s sell-through (number

lever

Raleigh Furniture Gallery: Leveraging the Future

Greek mathematician Archimedes once wrote, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” The concept of leverage — using small efforts to achieve great results — is a curriculum basic to both engineering and business schools. Business owners and investors who use leverage

lamp trio

Boost Your Sales with Sidekick Merchandising

I’ve always marveled at fictional sidekicks. A good sidekick lends perspective to enigmatic heroes and helps us to know them better. How well could we understand the complexities of Sherlock Holmes’ mind without having Dr. Watson to ask the questions we are thinking? How much more dignified is Andy Griffith when compared to simple-minded Barney

gmroi chart

Create More Cash Without Raising Sales, Prices

Too often, we antique dealers find ourselves in the position of being “inventory rich and cash poor.” We have a lot of money tied up in inventory but not enough cash to pay our bills and write ourselves a regular paycheck. We try various tactics to squeeze more cash from our inventory: We mark-down items,

benchmarks

Dealing in Used Goods More Profitable than New

My friend Brian is an exercise fanatic. He has special outfits for each type of exercise, and electronic meters to gauge each workout. I’m not into exercise at all. You’ve heard the expression “No pain, no gain”; my motto is “No pain, no pain.” As Phyllis Diller once said, “My idea of a workout is

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