Retail: It’s okay to sell
I’m in the market for a dining table so I popped in to my favourite local homewares store recently and found a table that I must have missed previously.
It was hidden underneath lots of other homewares, but the price tag suggested it was not only on sale but absolutely perfect…
So I went to the counter which is where the two “Prue and Trude” types were hiding. Prue was guarding her store from customers who wanted to buy and Trude was trying but not succeeding to make not being able to buy anything a bit more pleasant.
I couldn’t believe it when I asked about the table…
Here’s a transcript of the conversation…
Me: “Just wondering about the dining table here….do you have any new I can order for delivery (which I’d done with other furniture) or only floor stock?”
Prue: “Haven’t you gone onto our webpage to check?”
Me: “Ah, well last time I did, there weren’t any tables, but maybe I missed something…”
Prue called up the website and was disappointed to find no tables. Instead, she said:
Prue: “We’ve only got that table and it’s not for sale. We need it for our displays.”
Me: “Oh. And are there any others available at the warehouse? Would you be open to selling me this one?”
Trude: “it’s had oil spilt all over it….it’s a bit damaged.”
Me: “Oh right. That makes sense. Okay thanks.”
I started to walk out and noticed a second previously unnoticed table exactly the same and also ticketed for sale at the same price.
Me: “I’ve just noticed this one: is this for sale at all?”
Prue: “No we need both tables for displays…”
I couldn’t have given her my money if I’d tried. And I tried a couple of times. It was a shame because I wanted to support this local business. But it was like I’d swum across the moat and now faced the secondary line of defence at the castle. She needed to bring out the big guns to stop me actually buying something in her store!
Now, I also know another local business where the exchange was very different when my mum bought something from her last year (hint: she’s grown and has had the same lifestyle/homewares shop for 20 years which is no mean feat)…And believe me, if she had what I wanted, of course I’d have gone across the road!
Mum: “Just wondering about the buffet….do you have any new or only floor stock?”
Annie: “I’ll sell you that one and order another one…I’ve just noticed a couple of scratches as it’s been floor stock. Would you prefer to wait for the next shipment for a new one or if you want it now, I’m happy to knock $x off it and have it delivered to you by xday? I’ll need a deposit today and I’ll put a big sold sticker on it….”
Mum: “That would be great…”
Buffet delivered. Product being enjoyed currently. Great connection to store maintained.
Now, I’m not sure if the first store was owned by Prue or Trude. But if not, the owner is in serious trouble. It takes a lot of candles, door mats, fragrance sticks and lamps to make up for one of those tables. And it’s made me think twice about couches. Which is a real shame because I love their stock. But I don’t want to have to battle to buy…just be allowed. Boy, this was anti selling..
So, retail please make it easy. Meet your customers where they are. Make it easy to buy from you and be happy about it. And if you truly dare, sell to them.
They may just be aching for the experience.