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December 14, 2017

Antique Trader

Affordable Tips for Promoting Your Antiques Business

Among antiques dealers, hope springs eternal. Dealers look forward to a new year, hoping for profitable merchandise, good inventory turnover, and new customers. Some dealers will spend the year hoping; others will make a plan and work to make the plan a reality. Central to gaining more customers and making more sales is building store

Can Your Antique Appraisals Land You in Court?

Antiques dealers have exposure from two sources: attorneys and the IRS. It’s unlikely that a dealer will be sued over an appraisal unless the amount involved is substantial; there has to be enough money involved to pay a lawyer and have something left over. Risk for a dealer is directly proportional to the value of

Inventory, Investment, and Perception

Baron von Rothschild, the 19th-century British banking magnate, had a succinct investment philosophy: “The time to buy is when there is blood in the streets, even if that blood is your own.” The Baron would know: He made a fortune in the panic that followed Napoleon’s defeat at the battle of Waterloo. Modern-day billionaires echo

Antique Dealers Can Master Web Marketing

Yesterday’s tools don’t work very well in modern applications. Take a rotary phone, for example: It can still make phone calls, but it won’t work outdoors, it won’t connect to the Internet, and it won’t take photos. A few of you are now saying, “I just want a telephone that makes phone calls.” I’d be

Elements Shifting Power from Antique Dealers

In October of 1991, the strongest storm in recorded history hit off the coast of Gloucester, Maine. Created by three storms combined into one, it was dubbed “the perfect storm,” and created almost apocalyptic conditions in the Atlantic Ocean. The storm was recounted in the book The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger and the Warner

How the Antiques Business Can Capture 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 Generation X successors do not seem to care for antiques. “The trend is away from antiques,” says Red Whaley, owner of

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

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