Save the Local Quilt Store!!
Or, how they can save themselves.............
Okay, it is a given, I love to shop and I love a bargain.
I shop in person and I shop online, because both are my right.
I love to see and feel the fabric I am purchasing, I love talking to people who actually know colours and fabrics and getting their feedback-so I love the real quilt shop experience......but they are disappearing, probably because of online shopping and sometimes because people aren't sewing as much anymore. What to do??
Well, here is some advice from a shopper..... (feel free to add, agree or disagree)
1. If I am going to buy something I can possibly get cheaper online it has to be worth it to me, perhaps not financially but mentally. (Retail therapy is a beautiful thing!)
Why do we blog? For feedback and to be a part of a group, work on this in your store.
Therefore, the interaction I will not get online needs to occur, people have to smile and look pleased to see me, even remember my name. They should never be short with me when I ring with a telephone query on fabric availability. In an ideal world they would have coffee and a place to sit down and look at the books. For everyone who doesn't buy one, someone else will and the one who didn't will leave with a welcoming, fun shopping experience. Also if you can sit and have coffee then a wait will not worry you, so staffers can be more relaxed to spend the appropriate amount of time serving/helping you AND therefore make the shopping experience fun!
2. Reward me for shopping with you!
Unknown eBay and fabric shops throw in fat quarters they want to get rid of, why can't you? Especially when I spend $100 for instance! Give me a little card that records purchases and when i get to say, $300, I get free membership in the sample club so my mailout of 10 charm squares a month costs me nothing rather than $40 per year.
Perhaps when I get to $400 I get 10 % off in the next year. Keep me coming back because you realise I am a shopper and I'm better off shopping with you than someone else!!
How about "Fat Friday"? At a free regular coffee and chat (because i will call into something I am not tied down to and perhaps buy something, but am unlikely to pay for something I can do at home) have a fat quarter draw where everyone who purchased something in the past week goes in the draw to win (and has to collect from the store!) if you are present, you win 2 fat quarters! Only costs you a fat quarter or two and a pot of coffee but great for getting people in the door and PR.
3. Send mailouts about your sales./use the internet
Nothing annoys a regular customer more than walking into her LQS the day after the sale finished, especially when she is in the sample club.
4. Have a gimic that is cheap and can't be bought online as cheap, ie, make your scrapbags cheap and good so that people think it is is always worth popping into see what's there.
Once they are in they will look around. You could do this with any number of things, become known as the LQS who has Moda sampler tins the same price as the Internet, people come for them, buy yardage to go with it at your prices. You have beaten the net and not lost anything in the bargain. Advertise this in the national magazines, people want to buy within their community/country-make it the best option!
Be unique, it shouldn't be hard to have a gimic, so what if one thing in your shop sells at wholesale, everything doesn't have to.
5. Get me in the door!
Similar to the "gimic" idea, and the "make me welcome" one but with a twist.
Run info. sessions, eg, mitreing your corners, rotary cutting, setting in triangles, ask and answer time, etc, etc. They may be at normally quiet times, Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Have the coffee on, keep it on time, maybe even make them 10 minute sessions. It doesn't have to be big, but get the info. out. Why doesn't my LQS have my email, they should, and every week I should know what's in and what the info. sessions will be on. Auto generated emails cost absolutely nothing and keep everyone up to speed. Chances are, if I call in for mitreing, I will buy something, or get an idea from a quilt display that grows for the next week so i come back again for another look.
That is the general message, we want to shop locally, make it worth our while as retail therapy and keep your business.
Don't get angry and close, think outside the square and get even!!!
~ remember:have quilting money, will spend it somewhere!
I am having my version of "Fat Friday". Add a comment or suggestion to this post and go in the draw to win one of my little Moda purses. Drawn this Friday, Australia time! Cheers, Tracey
Wednesday, June 27, 2007
Save the Local Quilt Store!!