Inventory, Investment, and Perception


The time to buy is when there’s blood in the streets Baron von Rothschild, the 19th-century British banking magnate, had a succinct investment philosophy: “The time to buy is when there is blood in the streets, even if that blood is your own.” The Baron would know: He made a fortune in the panic that followed Napoleon’s defeat at the battle of Waterloo. Modern-day billionaires echo the Baron’s philosophy. Warren Buffett and other “contrarian” investors scoop up deeply discounted corporate assets whenever markets turn down. In Buffet’s own words: “You pay a very high price in the stock market for a cheery

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Eleven Affordable Tips for Promoting Your Antiques Business

Promoting your antiques business

For those in the antiques business, hope springs eternal. Dealers look forward to a new year, hoping for profitable merchandise, good inventory turnover, and new customers. Some dealers will spend the year hoping; others will make a plan and work to make the plan a reality. Central to gaining more customers and making more sales is building store traffic. An antiques business has the same challenges as other retailers: how to build awareness for their business and get more customers in the door. This month, I’ll share some promotions that retailers in other businesses have successfully used; perhaps a few

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Small Retailers Surge Forward

small retailers

Big Media seems to have missed the message about small retailers. CNBC, The Washington Post, CBS, Fox, USA Today, and most major news organizations are happy to assert that small retailers were out-of-touch, overwhelmed by online sellers. They seemed to have the facts to back up their stories: In 2017, around 6,700 U.S. storefronts closed, including closures and/or bankruptcies by such retail icons as JC Penney, Sears, The Gap, Banana Republic, The Limited, Eastern Outfitters, Radio Shack (for the second time), Gander Mountain, Payless ShoeSource, Rue 21, Vitamin World, Toys R Us, and others. But, the news outlets seriously misrepresented

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Virtual Antiquing: Putting Pictures to Work

virtual antiquing

Antique Trader’s “virtual antiquing” Facebook page feature has become one of my favorite newsfeed items. I enjoy seeing how shops display merchandise and what types of inventory they carry. When I occasionally spot an unusual item, I get particularly excited. Many of the goods in such photos you just don’t see on eBay. I often find myself clicking to a dealer’s website to see more items, and discover their prices. Of course, what makes virtual antiquing enjoyable is a lot of high-quality photos We are visually oriented creatures. The reason that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is because

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How to Set Traffic Flow in Antique Shops

traffic flow

Have you ever focused your attention on the way you walk? Do you stand straight with your shoulders back, or do you lean forward? Do you saunter or walk quickly? Have you noticed how the customers in your antique shop walk? Most independent retailers give little thought to how their customers walk and move through their stores. These same retailers might be surprised to learn that there is a science dedicated to the study of traffic flow within a retail store: it’s called “retail anthropology.” Retail anthropology was developed by Paco Underhill, who runs a consulting company called Envirosell. Back

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Dealers Must Diversify Marketing Channels

marketing channel

I read with great interest WorthPoint’s 2011 Antiques & Collectibles Survey Results, released on Feb 14, 2011. WorthPoint is a leading provider of valuation and associated services for art, antiques and collectibles. The survey was taken from mid-January through early February 2011, and reflects the opinions of dealers and collectors who visited the WorthPoint website during that period. Marketing channels were a prime focus of the survey. As I reviewed their survey, my initial reaction was that its results must heavily favor Internet dealers; after all, it was an online survey. As it turns out, this initial assumption about the respondents

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Ignite Your Business with Facebook Lookalike Audience

lookalike audience

I love Facebook marketing. Compared to the expense and uncertainty of my advertising in the 1980s, Facebook is a dream-come-true. John Wanamaker, the pioneering 19th-century retailer and department store entrepreneur, summed-up my advertising anxiety succinctly: “I know half my advertising works but I don’t know which half.” Lookalike Audience changes the face of marketing Until recently, retailers had few choices in advertising platforms: print, broadcast, and direct mail (in their various formats). All of those media had a common strategy: saturate a market with an advertiser’s message. Then, hope that interested buyers would see or hear an advertisement and take

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Price Anchoring, Bundling, and Bracketing

anchor pricing

I’m a sucker for a bookstore. I can’t seem to walk past one without going in, and I seldom go in without buying something. This has been a lifelong affliction of mine. When I was a teenager, my mother once asked me: “Why do you buy more books when you haven’t read all the ones you’ve got?” To which I replied: “What’s the point in having a library full of books that I’ve already read?” Occasionally I read a book that’s a real game-changer for me; a book that rings so true it forever changes the way I think about a particular

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How to Price High Enough to Assure a Profit

price high for profit

Have you ever seen the Edvard Munch painting “The Scream”?  If Munch doesn’t ring a bell, recall the scene in the movie “Home Alone” in which Macaulay Culkin shaves for the first time, and then applies after-shave to his raw face: hands slapped over his ears, eyes as big as saucers, he emits a scream that can be heard a block away. Such was my response to a Harvard Business Review article that recently arrived in my inbox. The article discussed book pricing relative to Amazon’s Kindle, Apple’s iPad, and traditional print books.  The author’s position was to keep prices

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Selling to the Rich: DINKS, WOOFS, and HENRYS

rich dink woof henry

The list of social-status acronyms grows longer each year. I’m sure you’ve heard of YUPPIES (young urban professionals) and probably DINKs (double income, no kids), SINKs (single income, no kids) and SITCOMs (single income, two children, and oppressive mortgage). This week, I discovered the acronyms WOOFs (well-off older folks) and HENRYs (high earners, not rich yet). I’m continually impressed by the amount of money these cohorts spend. Daily, my inbox fills with reports of six-and-seven-figure auction results. Fabulous amounts of money are spent on collectibles, yet antique shops seldom see any of it. Oh, we may score a five-figure sale

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