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June 24, 2017

Antique Trader

whack a mole

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

touch the merchandise

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

antique dealer

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

cut prices

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

consignment

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

nostalgia

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

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

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

The Myth of the Business Plan

I’m not real big on business plans. When I bought my first business, my accountant, attorney, banker, college professors and business writers encouraged me to write a business plan. They said that a good business plan was essential for running a successful business. I asked my entrepreneur friends if they had a business plan, and

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

Gauging New Store Potential

“If you build it they will come.” This frequently mis-quoted line from W.P. Kinsella’s 1982 novel “Shoeless Joe” has become a popular rallying cry among entrepreneurs who want to start-up an antique or consignment store. (The actual quote is “If you build it he will come.”) The idea is that if you open a store,

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

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

Blogging for Dollars

“I can run my business or I can write a blog, but I can’t do both; I’m too busy.” I can’t create any more hours in your day (I wish I could). But what I can do is show you how blogging is an activity that will leverage both your time and your money. Blogging

antiques tourism

Boost Sales With Antiques Tourism

“All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.” — Leo Tolstoy When Tolstoy made this point, I’m sure he wasn’t foreshadowing the modern tourist industry. Nevertheless, there is a lot of “coming and going” occurring in the U.S., and in the past year

returns policy

How Do Your Return Policies Affect Your Sales?

A visitor to an online forum recently sought help from forum members regarding a problem he was having with an eBay seller. It seems the visitor had purchased a “working” used game system, but when it arrived none of the accompanying cords fit the unit and he was unable to use it. The seller’s Terms and

Galax VA Antique Shops

March, 2010 GALAX, Va. – Progress comes slowly to the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia. It was not until after World War II that highways, electricity and telephone service became available to many of the rural areas between the mountain metropolises of Roanoke and Bristol, Va. The cultural stewpot of Scots-Irish and German immigrants

Avoid Falling Victim to the ‘Sunk Cost Fallacy’

photo courtesy of  lawschoollies.com/ In the following scenario, what would you do if you were the dealer involved? At an estate auction you find a lovely Nickelodeon (coin-operated player piano with drums, etc.) that seems to be in working order. The auctioneer claims that it “has been partially restored and plays well. Just needs tuning.”

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