Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Just a few thoughts for your Thursday

When one is a shop owner, they usually consider advertising. Here is a few thoughts that I try to always remember:

Word of mouth is either your best or your worst advertising....

A happy customer will bring in 10 more; an unhappy one will scare off 300....

And now because you KNOW there must be some kind of story coming on the subject, this is one situation I went through years ago...

We have a local radio show down here called "The Shopping Show" where local shops in the area donate gift certificates and we (the public) can call in and bid on these GC. It gives the radio station some revenue and the winning bidders typically get a GC half price for local eateries and mom/pop shops. So I picked up a $10 GC one day to a scrapbooking shop. Now I have NEVER in my life scrapbooked, and I didn't intend to. But I was thinking maybe I could pick up some tools that I could use with my polymer clay work.

I spent a good deal of time in the scrapbook shop trying to decide on some rubber stamps or a ball stylus and various other things I was interested in. I chatted with the man who was there and he told me about different products that would be coming in the future. I finally decided on a few rubber stamps and a pkg of stickers for the stepson. I planned on going back to the shop when I could afford to buy the remaining items I was interested in. When I checked out the total came to $10.10, leaving me to pay 10 cents after my gift certificate.
Now, I am not one to carry cash because we pay everything with check or debit card. I searched through my entire purse and wallet for a stray dime, knowing I was not about to find one. Meanwhile the checker (the man) is NOT believing that I don't have a dime in my purse. He's even commenting those exact words! I ended up having to write a 10 cent check! all the while I was saying how ridiculous it was that I was having to write it at all! He was not about to budge on that 10 freakin cents!!!!
A few days later (after the check had cleared my bank) I wrote a scathing letter to the shop owner. With the letter I sent a $1 bill and told them to start a penny jar for others who may be in my situation. I signed it with my full name and phone # and told them I was not ashamed to sign my name, as they were not ashamed to cash a 10 cent check. I never got a call or acknowledgment from the shop. And I found out later that the man who had checked me was one of the shop owners
I NEVER went back again and within 6 months the shop went out of business. Guess I wasn't the only one who was dissatisfied there.

And my last piece of shop owner advice:

Don't jump over a $1000 bill to pick up a dime.

Not sure why this was pressing on my mind to get it out there, but there you go.

Until next time,



Felicia Kramer said...

I couldn't agree more with you! It seems such an obvious thing that if you treat people nicely they will return, or vice versa. But there's so many people who just don't get it ...

Years ago I had a pack/ship/gift shop for a few years. I loved the experience but we just couldn't make it financially and had to close. We had customers coming in in TEARS that we were closing. That told me I did something right.

Melobeau said...

VERY wise advice, indeed. I think that service is THE greatest potential advantage that small businesses have over the big boxes and the wise shopkeeper is the one who will exploit that to the max.....especially in this economy!

Anonymous said...

So very very true. The best thing you can offer as a small shop is the willingness to work with your customers in a way big businesses can't. Ten lousy cents to ruin a business.

Erica said...

I have experiences with a few etsy sellers that will keep me from shopping with them again, which surprised me as an etsy seller myself because so many etsy sellers are so awesome and have such amazing service!