Hello, aspiring shopkeepers (that’s a more entertaining word than ‘business owners,’ so I’m going with it). As the occasional shop patron, I have noticed a handful of amusing tricks that some vendors are using to frustrate their customers. In some cases, these tactics are so successful that you can actually prevent people from buying things they want. Just the other day, for example, I failed to make a purchase at a furniture store. I didn’t decide not to buy something; I literally failed to get something I had every intention of buying. How is this possible? Keep reading!
Mark All of Your Products Up 10% Just Before Your “10% Off Everything Sale!”
This technique will only annoy those of your customers who were in your store a couple days ago, found something they liked, and then waited for the ‘sale.’ But whoops! There isn’t really a sale, is there? There’s just the illusion of a sale. It’s like you’re a wizard or something!
Aggressively Push Warranties for Everything You Sell!
A friend of mine once told me that Best Buy makes most of its money on three items: TVs, appliances, and protection-plan warranties. Another friend of mine once had a salesperson spend 20 minutes trying to pressure him into buying an insurance plan for his couch. “Seriously, pal, this couch is rickety at best and a deathtrap at worst. You never know when one of the springs is going to pop through the fabric and…well, let me just say it isn’t pretty. And you’ll have to pay all those horrible medical expenses, unless you get our comprehensive couch protection plan.” I don’t even want to think about the sales pitch that might accompany an insurance plan for feather dusters.
Refuse to Sell the Floor Model!
And now you know how I failed to buy something I wanted. Here’s a dramatized version of our conversation:
ME: “I would like to buy that desk.”
SALESPERSON: “Ooh. Sorry, you can’t. This is the only one we have left.”
ME: “I don’t see the problem.”
SALESPERSON: “It’s the floor model. We can’t sell the floor model.”
SALESPERSON: “Because then people won’t know that they could buy this desk.”
ME: “Which you won’t let them buy anyway because this is the only one you have left.”
SALESPERSON: “Yes, but we’ll be getting more in soon.”
ME: “So why can’t you sell this one to me and make one of those desks the floor model?”
SALESPERSON: “Because it’ll take a couple days for the new desks to come in, and in the meantime we’d like people to know that we have these desks for sale.”
ME: “Except you’re not actually going to sell any until the new desks come in.”
I could go on, but pretty much after this point it just ended with me cursing quietly to myself, leaving, and going to another store to buy a similar desk. Someday I think I’ll open up a store called “Floor Models!” and populate it entirely with single-stock items that I won’t sell to anyone. That’d be fun!
So there you go, shopkeepers. Give any of these techniques a try, and soon your customers will be flocking to Ye Olde Shoppe Across the Road from Yours.