Friday, 21 September 2012


Customers really don't like coming into an empty shop.

I guess I understand that. There's this worry that you'll get leapt on by the owner, or buy stuff you don't want, or get talked to unnecessarily and so on. And there's only so many things you can do to make a shop seem welcoming without there being some activity to tempt people in.

We're really very nice people, and we don't jump on customers as soon as they get in the door - and we completely don't mind people browsing around and not buying things. After all, we've tried very hard to make it an interesting place to look around. But there's still that little problem of getting people through the door in the first place.

Three things seem to help:

First, there's cleaning the windows. If you're outside with a bucket and a sponge, you can chat to potential customers on the street - and nobody seems to mind that at all. And for some reason, they come into the shop more readily (maybe only to escape the conversation outside?!).

Second, there's having things going on inside the shop. Whenever we've had an order in and are restocking - with boxes and bubblewrap and bags all over the place - the shop immediately fills up with customers, who never worry about all the stuff on the floor and happily skirt around us. Demonstrations work as well - sometimes we have a customer come in wanting to make up an item of jewellery in the shop, and we set up a table for them in the window. That pulls people in.

Third is having lots of customers in already. Customers come in waves, get three in there and another five turn up out of nowhere. Strangely enough, this seems to go for the type of customer as well. One minute the shop will be full of pushchairs, half an hour later it is walking sticks, another hour and we are full of nine-year-olds.


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