Never Under Estimate the Non Buying Customer
All Customers Are Valuable.
Being an owner of a vintage store in a small tourist town is certainly an eye opener to the wealth of different people who walk through the shop door. Some pop in to take a trip down memory lane, recalling that great Auntie Betty had .."a dress just like that" or remembering that "we had one of those as a kid". I tend to warm to these visitors and normally end up deep in conversation. Although they don't often buy, they're an excellent source of knowledge and for that alone their visits are welcome.
Then of course you have the browser, they wander in, look at a few items and slip quietly away again. It's almost like they feel guilty for not buying something (we all do it). Clearly its better for businesses when they do buy, however this customer shouldn't feel guilty. They've been in my store, seen what's on offer and that's been possibly stored for later recall. My shop is now in mind if they need a party dress, occasional dress or a mum on the school run asks "any idea where I can get a 1940s dress from? I'm going to a Vintage event" That browse has now turned into a potential sale.
Tourists are a different breed of shopper altogether, as a riverside high street shop I do get a fair rate of these . They bolt through the door with the whole family in tow, and suddenly my shop is over run and I'm being plagued by lots of questions at once. Not just about my goods but, also the local town and it's attractions. This for me is both invigorating and stressful. On the one hand, I love the shop when its buzzing with people all chatting and laughing, but on the other hand I'm left trying to please many people at once. I've got to keep an eye on my stock and that child that's waving a sticky lolly about, from the sweet shop up the road. It can get pretty tense at times. Not only do I get a lot of small sales from the towns visitors but I like to think its a positive experience for them to take back home with them.
Then you get the Ultimate Customer. The 'vintage' customer that "gets it!" These customers know what I sell and they know what they want. Normally they've checked out the store on social media to make sure it's worth the trip. Some travel many miles. They love period clothing just as much as I do, and more importantly ... They spend! Often, if I have what they want or can conjure up some surprises they spend BIG! ... Whoo hoo!!!!
Vintage lovers often stay in the shop for an hour or so, trying on lots of garments and having a chat and cuppa then leaving with their bounty. When this happens it gives me a real lift, after all this is why I do what I do.
Consistent Customer Experience is Crucial.
All in all, each singular customer is just as vital as the next. If money is parted then great, but it doesn't make them any less important if no purchase is made. So treating all my shop visitors the same and to the best of my ability is an important part of my business ethic. Every single visit to the store is a potential sale, maybe not today, but sometime.
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