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October 20, 2017

Antique Trader

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.”

In-Store Spending on the Rise (Again)

It seems that eCommerce and Big Retail have finally learned what we antique dealers have known all along: Customers prefer to handle and inspect an item before they buy it. For years, retail analysts have touted online selling as being the future of retailing. And in the board rooms of The Big Guys, decisions were

Understanding the Auction Consignment Process

Arguments rage as to whether it’s better to consign collectibles for resale via auction or to sell them oneself via private treaty. Detractors of the auction method say that auction house fees are too high: up to 50 percent of an item’s final price. Auction enthusiasts say that the auction method of selling is inherently

Achieve Higher Prices Through Storytelling

A baseball cap worn by Neil Armstrong after the Apollo 11 mission sells for $12,000. A typewriter belonging to novelist Cormac McCarthy sells for $254,500. A football used during the NFL’s “deflategate” scandal sells for $43,740. Baseball caps and footballs are commonly available for under $10; typewriters for under $100. Clearly, in the above sales

Operating is Risky Business Without Insurance

In my July 26, 2012, Behind the Gavel column, I related a story about the Mountaintop Antique Mall in Hillsville, Virginia. This popular mall near Interstate Route 77 is one of my favorite places to visit when I go antiquing near Hillsville. Last month, intending to visit Mountaintop, I drove right past the mall entrance.

When Does a Hobby Become a Business?

It was apparent from the wording of his forum post that Ben was overwrought. He had just received a 1099-K from eBay and feared that he would owe the IRS a lot of money. Ben wanted forum members to advise him on how he could maneuver through his difficulty. It seems that Ben’s uncle had

Rousing Customers’ Senses Leads to Closing Sales

All the marketing you’ve ever done to promote your business is completely wrong and has been a gross waste of money. At least that’s what Dr. Neal Martin would have us believe in his book “Habit: The 95% of Behavior Marketers Would Have Us Ignore.” I’m not convinced by Dr. Martin’s book. Effective marketing has

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

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