Some Customers Don't Care "What" It Is
inOctober 9, 2012 - 11:56am
I recently had the opportunity to meet a long lost cousin for the first time. She was terrific, and we had a wonderful visit. She checked out my store and found a few things to take back; gifts for her east coast loved ones. During our shopping, our similarities and our differences got me to thinking about things. And, being that thinking isn't really a strong suit of mine, I thought I'd better write down my thoughts and kick 'em around some.
She was unfamiliar with Red Wing, Frankoma, and different potteries, that I've know about for as long as I can remember. The city of Cambridge was familiar but the glass was unknown, and things of that nature.
She liked all sorts of stuff but didn't know any specifics. I was surprised, for some reason, and it threw me for a little loop. I asked some questions regarding her interests and we concluded musical instruments, pocket knives, and 1st edition books of all kinds, were her bag. I found it interesting that this well read, highly intelligent, world traveling person, wouldn't be able to recognize specific collectibles. (what's that? It's so cool. Well that's FireKing, or that's art glass.) Both of my brain cells kicked in then, to figure it out. Not everyone is interested in the same stuff as me! (Oh, how small my world has become without my knowing it.)
Lots of people simply like what they like because they like it. If they want to go further and need to research the history or the company or all the ins and outs of something, they will. If they don't, it's probably because they've got other things that they research or delve into. Cousin likes psychology. I do, as well, but I won't miss my fav t.v. show to read a psych. journal. She would. I'd miss that show if I was engrossed in research of uranium glass, or a piece of jewelry, though. We're the same, yet different. She kyaks and I walk the pasture with my sheep and goats. But, we both take pics of our respective activities. Same, yet different.
My customers generally know "what" they're looking at, but now I'm certain there are plenty who ooh and ahh then gleefullly purchase that vintage oil lamp not giving two hoots that it's milk glass and Lincoln Drape pattern. (which would explain the waving me away as I babble on about the lamps history!) They just like it. The way it looks or feels, or the feeling they get when they look at it.
Lots of times I jot down certain information on the price tags of things. The pattern name of glassware, for example, the dates of production, country of origin, some cool piece of trivia, etc... Now I'm thinking (ouch) that maybe a little more info. on the tags, or more items with a bit of trivia, wouldn't hurt.
Cousin wasn't choosing items based on anything in particular, (to her, a $5 planter marked USA was just as interesting and pretty as a $30 Royal Copley), but found the new knowledge neat and fun to know. The additional fun of knowing a bit more is cool, if that appeals to a customer. It's a drop of ink and few seconds of my time that might make someone leave my store feeling as though they got a little extra.
I try to keep a little something for just about everyone, in my store. And, I work hard to that end. My cousin's visit added a new twist for me to kick around. I'm going to broaden my view of my customers. I know we're all multifaceted, but I lost sight of, at least, one facet. Because I think of antiques and collectibles in a certain way, identification, history, condition, value, etc..., as well as, cool and pretty, I see people as thinking along those same lines, when some probable just think..."HEY! That's a pretty vase, or unusual tray, or that cute picture will cover that wall repair job..."
I like to help people find just exactly what they want, so I need to keep in mind that lots of people don't always care, at first, who made that crock or pair of skates. They only care that it's theirs now. A broader view of customers could make a difference and could even increase repeat business. With that in mind, I'll try to remember that...Some Customers Don't Care "What" It Is.
Written by Elizabeth Allison
The Other Place, ABC Shop on Ruby Lane