Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Showcase the Appeal of Sentimental Souvenirs

A Wall Street Journal feature described how luxury hotels are upgrading that portion of the premises formerly known as the gift shop. An example is the Waldorf Astoria Park City Utah shop, which still sells you a Kit Kat candy bar, Gillette razor, or 3 oz. bottle of Scope mouthwash. But you have to ask for it. The salesperson extracts it from a cabinet. You won’t see toiletry and snack items taking up the shelf space now devoted to designer dresses, shoes, and sunglasses.
     I point this out not because it’s an industry-wide trend. Hilton Hotels & Resorts largely replaced their gift shops with toiletry and snack racks or vending machines by the front desk. My intent, instead, is to have you thinking about showcasing the appeal of sentimental souvenirs in your place of retail business.
     When you’re able to add sentimental value to items you’re selling, this value-added makes the items more attractive to consumers. You can set higher prices for the items.
     Two keys to sentimental value are occasion and location. This is not a new notion. For decades, cruise ships have maintained high-end boutiques on the assumption that souvenirs with memory-jogging force include items beyond postcards and “All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt” T-shirts. A successful tactic for Swatch Group in the mid-1980’s was to sell different wristwatch models in different locations. As a result, many women would go Swatch watch shopping at retailers while traveling on vacation. Special location and special occasion.
     Beyond store settings, the special location could be a street fair. A distinctive item sold there by a part-time retailer can carry with it all the memories of a fun day. Or it could be at a home shopping party, pairing the warmth of companionship with the purchase. The shopper realizes that each time they’ll use the item or even look at it, fond recollections will come.
     Still, location and occasion aren’t enough. A third key to sentimental value is salesperson patience. If the vacation visit to the hotel shop, day at the street fair, or evening at the home of an acquaintance feels pressured, it’s not sentimental value which is added. Consumers don’t get at all sentimental when in a hurry to buy or when they feel they’re being rushed. Cultivate conversation and encourage browsing. Because you’re setting a price premium for sentiment, you can afford the extra time.

For your profitability: Sell Well: What Really Moves Your Shoppers

Click below for more: 
Sell Patiently for Sentimental Value 
Give Your Retailing Local Quality

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