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No matter what you think of the Occupy Wall Street movement, it holds the seed of a successful holiday sales season for antique dealers.
The Wall Street protestors have expressed frustration with taxpayer bailouts of “too big to fail” corporations who take public tax money and then raise banking fees, restrict access to loans, and then give their CEO’s big bonuses. Versions of Occupy Wall Street have spread across the United States plus 951 European cities and 82 countries around the world. The public is endorsing the message: institutions and individuals are moving their money to hometown banks. Hometown banks have seen out-of-the-ordinary surges in deposits in the past several months.
Not only are individual citizens fed up with the “too big to fail” mentality of the banking conglomerates, state governments are as well. Lawmakers in Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico and Minnesota have all voted to move state funds into local banks and credit unions. Labor unions, small businesses and municipalities are also moving funds to local institutions.
The anti-big-bank, anti-big-corporation mindset is throwing fuel on the fire of the “buy local” movement. Bloggers are writing about “buy local”, as are major newspapers and media outlets. Michael Shuman, author of The Small-Mart Revolution says: “In the current economic downturn, Americans are beginning to understand that their future prosperity lies in the community businesses down the street that employ their neighbors, pay the taxes, and promote local relationships and trust.”
Economic-localism is a growing grass-roots movement. Since the recession began four years ago, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies has grown to more than 60 small business networks in the US, representing more than 20,000 entrepreneurs.
What does this mean for antique dealers? Consumers are getting the “buy local” message. They are more inclined now to buy local than they were three or four years ago.
They will still shop at big-box stores this holiday season, but if you give them sufficient reason to shop at your store they will do so, and get the added benefit of feeling like they have contributed to the local economy.
Remember, you offer one-of-a-kind, unique gifts that can’t be purchased at a big-box store. Capitalize on that. Now is a good time to get new customers and boost your mailing list. A new customer over the holidays may become a regular customer for the rest of the year.
Getting new holiday customers requires a two-pronged strategy:
1. Get them to your store.
2. Help them enjoy the experience once they’re there.
You’re already familiar with the standard ways of promoting your business over the holidays, so I won’t review them again. Instead, let’s investigate a new tactic for getting customers into your store and starting the season off with a “bang”.
Last year, American Express started a “Small Business Saturday” promotion, in which consumers were offered incentives for shopping at local small businesses on the day after Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving). According to American Express, participating small businesses saw a 28 percent rise in sales on that Saturday compared to the same day in 2009.
This year, Amex is being joined by Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others to offer a small business toolkit that enables merchants to tie into the national Small Business Saturday campaign. The toolkit includes:
You can find the toolkit here. When holiday shoppers arrive, give them an experience that they can’t get in a big-box store. Offer a festive, down-home, comfortable atmosphere that is conducive to lingering and browsing. Make it a sensory experience: use sight, sound, smell and/or taste.
Here are a few other ideas that dealers have employed to increase their holiday sales:
Regardless of the state of the economy, shoppers will spend money this year. But, they will be more careful about what they spend. Of primary concern to shoppers is the impact of the gifts that they buy, rather than price or quantity.
Wayne Jordan is a Virginia licensed auctioneer, certified personal property appraiser, and accredited business broker. He specializes in the valuation and liquidation of estate and business assets. His column Behind the Gavel appears monthly in Antique Trader. Learn more at www.waynejordanauctions.com, 276-730-5197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
from the antique trader http://www.antiquetrader.com/featured/occupy-wall-street-for-christ...
just some food for thought
B & C Emporium antiques and original hardware
Great post - I used to sell online avidly - but then my studies/writings/life got in the way. I also got disgusted at the amount of "crap" which people were selling and still are as "guaranteed" antiques.The proliferation of "newbies" who assume a stance that they have indeed researched their item for sale (while at then same time, images, markings, even dates are off is obvious) -
I am not an expert nor will I ever claim myself as an expert - but I know my business and am comfortable in any statement I make.
I have been here/owned/ my building and shop/home for 16 years - and I will not admit to how long I have been involved with antiques because this has been all my life - but as you do and others her do - we bring hands on experience and not just going form source to source online - most of which are uncredible.
The key to selling on line is:
1. State your guarantee in the beginning.
2. Adhere to this principle - whether you are an expert, octogenarian, or what ever.
3. Never say I assure you - unless you put your money where your mouth is and will refund everything.
4. Never assure yourself because even experts can be wrong.
5. Value of an item is always in the eye of the beholder. Value is never concrete and dhould be treated as such. (ok- so the adage - a bird in hand is worth two in the bush) - I often turn my back on this.
Lastly - I hate like "H" when people who sell on line can't even produce an image which can be scrutinized and expect to sell the item which the seller has given - bells - whistles and guarantees too.
And, then, give an explanation which goes - "trust me - I guarantee, it."