Dealer In-Depth

Providing the tools necessary for dealers to thrive in today's fast paced market.

The Antiques, Vintage & Collectibles Market Future: Is It Really Dying?

Wikipedia labels the years 2007–2012 “The Great Recession.”  It has been a period of general economic decline, observed all over the world, and affecting almost every market (including antiques & vintage). By July 2017, CNBC stated that 1 in 3 Americans had still not recovered from those years

For dealers, this complicates the questions swirling in the Antique and Vintage Marketplace: Is the antique and vintage industry dying, or aging out? Is there a future for A & V? Will the A & V market recover?  

There is no question that the A & V marketplace is changing. But consider this: The growth of the internet, as a secure shopping channel, has only existed since 1994. That means that anyone 21 years of age and younger, has lived their entire life shopping online.

Furthermore,  Nov 28, 2017 , or “Cyber Monday,” became the largest online shopping day in US history. Online transactions reached a record $6.59 billion, according to Adobe Insights, a 16.8 percent increase over last year. Mobile sales also, for the first time, reached $2 billion, over a 24-hour period.

The Antique and Vintage market is changing. It is metamorphosing, as are many markets, going online, where millennials, and savvy collectors shop for everything, from groceries to cars, art, and antiques & vintage. As with the development of other new technologies, like automobiles and email, it changes the way people do business. We are in a period of transition.  Many dealers, people (who didn’t grow up speaking computer) are resistant to this new wave of technological and business change. It is especially alarming to those who reject adapting.

“Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change.” – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein


The Analysts’ Take On The A & V Industry’s Future:

According to noted industry research analysts, IBIS World: “The Online Antiques and Collectibles Sales industry has continued to flourish over the five years to 2016, largely due to the growing ubiquity of online shopping. Antiques and collectibles are timeless yet discretionary items, making this industry highly sensitive to changes in disposable income.”

“In the coming years, the industry will attract a larger customer market as more households buy industry products electronically and consumers have more income to spend on luxuries. Positive income and consumer spending growth will drive demand for discretionary products. Rising consumer confidence will particularly benefit the industry’s long-term growth because it makes consumers more willing to splurge on discretionary antiques and collectibles.”

IBIS World  identifies 3 of the most critical success factors for an online antiques and collectibles business this way:

  1. Ensuring pricing policy is appropriate
  2. Having a diverse range of customers
  3. Ability to quickly adopt new technology

Another industry resource, Big Commerce, details three factors, very or extremely, influential in determining where Americans shop online: 

1.Price (87%), 2.Shipping Cost and Speed (80%) and, 3.Discount Offers (71%)

For more information on how Antique & Vintage dealers should approach these factors, read our Online Storefront Renovation Series.

Something Critical is Missing From The List:

Something spoken of by many experts, yet not in the lists above, is critically important, in our changing industry:  Online sales require that inventory be more highly curated. In other words, more strategically chosen, and presented. Many vintage, antique and collectible hunters will wander through dark and dusty brick and mortar thrift stores, knowing that 90% or more will be completely uninteresting to them, but persisting to find that one undiscovered treasure.

And, while general marketplace shoppers are more likely than the average shopper to enjoy taking their time to find the right price (62% v. 54%), they are FAR LESS LIKELY to wade through 90 online pages of uninteresting inventory, to find something they love. In fact, they may not go through 9 pages of un-curated inventory.

“The most successful retailers are strategic and targeted in their efforts, both offline and on.” – Big Commerce

According to data analysts, Chartbeat, research shows that 55% of visitors will spend fewer than 15 seconds on a site, if their interest is not captured in that time. To pique interest that fast, and capture sales, online shoppers require that carefully chosen inventory be brought to life with more images (78%) and better product description than you would expect in a traditional sales environment, and that the whole process be relatively easy, and quickly completed. 

“The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” – Albert Einstein

This difference in shopping behavior is profound enough that to be successful, online A & V businesses must adapt. Having a diverse range of inventory may appeal to a wider range of customers, but that range still needs to be carefully chosen and displayed, or the customers is gone in an instant, and the sales opportunity is lost. It is not merely new technology that must be adapted to, but also new business practices in sourcing, selling, and appealing to online buying behaviors.

The Rest Of The Story:

Because art is often antique or vintage, is also considered timeless, and is also a discretionary purchase, the art market has long been a part of the broader antique, vintage, and collectibles market. An annual global report by the world’s leading art market analysts (The European Fine Art Fair, or  TEFAF),  considered to be the bible of economic trends, in the art and antiques world, showed a 7% drop in money spent on art globally, and a 2% drop in the number of works sold in 2015, over 2014. However, that was only a PART of the story. Internet art sales actually rose during this same time. According to the 2015 TEFAF report, the online sector grew 7 percent in the past year to $4.7 billion…


So, to summarize, NO. The antique, vintage and collectibles market is NOT DEAD, and it is NOT DYING. It has an interesting, bright future to look forward to, and for which it must prepare. It is not “doom and gloom,” and “the sky is not falling.” It. Is. Changing.  And we can adapt. It’s what we do.

Visit GoAntiques.com to shop for Antique & Vintage items!

They say that Wing Chairs are one of THE things you should always buy vintage or antique.

And, whether you buy seating online or at estate sales, these are the tips you need to get the best:

Credit: SouthernStyle
Deconstructed Wing Chair, with Exposed Frame

It’s All About Construction:

Forget about the color of the chair (currently,) look at the shape and and the construction. Imagine it in a wonderful fabric. Perhaps even a solid on the inside and a large scale print on the back.

Credit: Restoration Hardware
Deconstructed Wing Chair with Tufted Burlap, Vintage Style Only

Look Past the Obvious:

Sometimes first impressions aren’t the most important. Color and fabric can be distracting. Look past them because those can be changed. You should love the lines, the shape of the chair, or don’t buy it. The guts of a chair are difficult to ascertain for certain. Eight way hand tied coils may not be visible but the burlap webbing that is their base may be visible from the underside.

Credit: Washingtonian Furniture
Wing Back Parts

The Web is Your Secret Weapon:

When you cannot see the guts of the chair from the outside, you must use other means to assess the chair’s internal  quality. Look for a manufacturer’s mark, tag, stamp on the underside of the chair. Turn that puppy upside down. You HAVE to if you don’t want to buy blind. Who the manufacturer is can tell you a lot about the caliber of the materials & construction method used, under the surface. Google the maker before you buy.

Credit: Decsignco
Diagram of A Wing Back Chair’s Interior

Check Out Its Legs:

Look at the legs-are they solid wood or veneer? The best chairs are made of hardwoods like Mahogany, Oak, Maple, Ash and Alder. The legs are the most visible indicators of the caliber of wood likely used throughout. How are the legs attached? This is an indicator of general construction. They should not just be screwed on, which is a short cut and indicator of cheap construction. Legs should be doweled (preferably double doweled) and glued into blocks. Is the chair heavy? If so, that is another likely indicator that the manufacturers used better materials. The older the piece is, often, the more likely it’s well made (and by that I mean 45+years) But you can’t know that for sure if you don’t really examine it.

Credit: Decsignco
Wing Back Chairs, Internal Construction Possibilities

Is It Worth It?

One more thing: a well-made wing chair, with beautiful lines, is worth recovering. But you will need 6-7 yards of upholstery weight fabric, and at least another $700 or so for the upholsterer’s fees (more depending on the condition and materials you specify, for example, down cushions.) You may need to add delivery charges for both ways, unless you have a truck. Finding fabulous material for less, getting help with delivery, or “horse-trading”(still happens!) with a local upholsterer, or even learning to upholster on your own or in a class, can bring the total down substantially. You may very well end up spending as much as a new wing chair from a big box store, but in return, you’ll be getting an heirloom quality, custom, well-made chair that will last a lifetime, instead of a few years.

Credit: Atelier De La Marquise
Bare frame, 8 way hand tied springs on burlap webbing, prepped and ready for upholstery, finished and trimmed.

The Key:

When you add up the costs,  you must make sure that the wing chair has both the beautiful lines, and the caliber of basic construction to warrant the TOTAL cost. If you follow these tips, and find that vintage chair, looking at what it can become, you’ll very likely never regret your purchase. Recovering most modernly constructed chairs, is a waste of money. Buying any used chair, without considering the total cost before purchasing can lead to many moons, spent in the presence of someone else’s dastardly fabric choices. (You could, in fact, end up like me, with a beautifully-made chair, that has remained in its truly awful “original” celery green, cheap velvet for 12 long years. Fortunately (??) 12 yrs later, celery green is “in.” Eeek.) Ultimately, this is the key: Look for the things that really matter, if you want a great wing chair, one that’ll look and feel great for years.  Add up the total cost from the get go. And always, always buy fabulous wing chairs that are from the time when beautiful furniture was meant to last.

Credit: Minto Thorsen
My Renaissance Revival antique armchair, still dressed in the dreadful, cheap celery green velvet, it was wearing when I bought it, 12 years ago.

Click here to read more on becoming a savvy antique and vintage shopper!

 

http://www.goantiques.com/mahogany-wing-chair-943105
For Sale on GoAntiques: Victorian Mahogany Wing Back

 

http://www.goantiques.com/wing-chair-883921
For Sale on GoAntiques: Early 1900s Wing Chair

 

http://www.goantiques.com/316223-beautiful-19th-893635
For Sale on GoAntiques: 19th C Walnut Armchair

 

http://www.goantiques.com/20th-century-pair-48175338
Italian Bergere Chairs, c.1950

Click here to read more on becoming a savvy antique and vintage shopper!

“If you invite them, they will come.”

In the hit movie, Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner hears an inspirational voice, telling him to proactively build a baseball diamond, in order to mend a relationship: “If you build it, he (and people) will come.”  Since the film, variations on that phrase have been in constant use, because it carries a basic truth: If you put attention and effort into something, over time, you increase the likelihood of success. The same is true for antique & vintage online sales.

 

The Importance of An Invitation

Imagine getting everything ready for a wonderful, festive holiday party…and having no one come. Learning, after-the-fact, that the reason no one showed was that no one ever received an invitation, would be terrible. Guests didn’t come because they never received any indication that their presence was important to the host. This holiday season, if you are hoping for a surge of visitors to coming knocking on your storefront, now is the time to send out those invitations, and let your valued past, and hoped-for future customers know your storefront is decked out, the music is going, and you are happily anticipating seeing them soon.

If you find this interesting and want to capture more sales this holiday season, stick around! We’re providing you with an excellent resource and template for how to best re-engage your old buyers and inspire them to come back and purchase from you again.

Snail Mail or Email

Sending Christmas and Holiday cards has been both a personal and business tradition for generations. For many, though, it is a tradition that is falling by the wayside, due to time constraints, postage costs, and apathy. However, as an online business owner, this one of the most important ways of generating retail rush.

Christmas cards, like holiday party invitations, say to previous customers and prospective ones, that they are important to you, you appreciate the relationship, and would like to further it by inviting them to visit. Sending out a holiday card, whether it is an email, or a traditional, more personal paper card, sent through the mail, there are a few best practices you might want to consider.

Neil Patel, founder of QuickSprout, says that “in spite of social media’s viral potential, email still wins as the most effective method of reaching and wooing customers. With over 87% of US customers checking their email on cellphones daily, it makes sense to use electronic mail, as part of your marketing. Not only that, but email marketing is one of the most effective way of building clientele. Online marketing experts say that there are only 3 ways to increase online sales.  They are to increase the number of customers, increase the average order size, and increase the number of repeat purchases.

The goal is to rekindle (business) relationship with previous customers, inspire browsers (visitors) to become customers and convert them into repeat buyers by actually taking the time to invite them to your store.

Since time and effort are so valuable, we thought you might appreciate 4 great tips on best practices so that your “sales invitation/Holiday cards” make the best impact.


1. Send only cards of high quality.

The quality the card reflects the caliber of the storefront.There is just no getting around it.

Whether you use an online holiday email template or paper cards, send the nicest holiday cards you can afford. If you’re looking to go the extra mile & send a professionally designed holiday card, platforms like Mailchimp make it easy (trust us, we designed this email with Mailchimp)!  

2. Keep Your Holiday Card Happy

All shop owners want happy holiday shoppers. So, regardless of your own feelings about Christmas, choose cards that allow for a variety of beliefs, so as not to offend. If you know your clients’ beliefs, you can always tailor the Season’s Greetings according, but since the goal is gaining customers, kindness rules. Extending your seasonal greetings beyond the traditional “Happy Holidays” or “Merry Christmas, ” can make a big difference. Just above your signature you might write something like, “Hope 2018 is the best year ever for you and your family, Martha!” According to business experts, this has much the same favorable effect as receiving a thank you note after having sent a gift.

3. Personalize your cards, whatever media you use:

Courting your past and prospective clients personally, whenever you possibly can, increases the effectiveness of your efforts. Personalize your email by including the customer’s first name in the subject bar. HubSpot states that emails with a person’s name in the subject bar increases the open rate by more than 75%.

Paper cards should be hand addressed, using the customer’s title (Dr, Mrs. Ms.) first name and last. Details you remember from past interactions, are hugely helpful in re-engaging customers.  “I remember you loved Arts & Crafts mirrors, and I happen to have another you might like…” Marketing & Sales experts, McKinsey & Company documented the importance of including detail, stating, “home-goods retailer Williams-Sonoma reported a tenfold improvement in response rates by adopting personalized e-mail offerings based on individuals’ on-site and catalog shopping behavior.” 

Both emails and traditional cards could also offer previous customers special offers, such as extra discounts just for them, or buy-one-get-one-free deals, not available to the general public, etc. This says “you’re are especially valued” – and that is a much harder message to resist.

4. The Ultimate Tip: Sending out your Christmas cards in time

For cards sent through snail mail, in the USA, December 15th is the general cut off if you want them to arrive in time. For packages, and international mail, the cut off is much earlier. Party invitations that leave to time for preparation, or that arrive the day after…Well, you don’t want to be that guy. (I know someone with 5 full boxes of beautiful Christmas cards, each a different design, each representing a year the cards weren’t ready in time to be sent, lol!)

The Ultimate Goal of a well-visited storefront this season, with lots of purchases, requires The Ultimate Tip: Send out your cards, emails, or both, giving your prospective customers the heads up early enough for them to come shop, buy, and receive their purchases in plenty of time.

That will make this holiday festive for everyone! Because, if you invite them…they will come. Click below to see email templates that we think will be helpful to get you kickstarted on sending out your invitations. 

I’m Ready to Send My Invitations!

Looking for more newsletters like this, tailored for antique & vintage dealers? Click here.

“If you fail to work at it and cultivate it and maintain it, you could be leaving a great deal of money on the table”. – Entrepreneur.com


Building Trust With Buyers, Online

This month’s newsletter will come as a four-part series on Storefront Renovation, just in time for the Holidays.

Many dealers may be unaware of the impact an online storefront has on his/her online sales. There are key differences between traditional sales methods and online buying patterns which we thought GoAntiques dealers would value. Because we will cover all key aspects of a storefront, we have broken it into a 4-week series, making it easier to digest and implement.

 

Part One focuses on the importance of creating a shopping environment that fosters buyer confidence necessary when deciding to purchase. Part Two begins a practical application, using your banner and storefront description as your first tools in wooing the customer. In Part Three, we continue the practical application, detailing your Photos and Item Descriptions so that they can effectively replace a buyer’s hands-on shopping. We will also help you understand online pricing differences and strategies.  Finally, Part Four on shipping strategies and communication with buyers, will round out the series, and give you a bit of time to rethink, revamp or renovate your Storefronts, so that they are ready for the holiday customers who are tired of standing in lines at the store.

So, grab a cup of coffee or tea, maybe a pen & paper, and jot down all your renovation ideas as we hand you the tools you need.


Did you know that, as of March of this year:

  • Shoppers make 51% of their purchases online, compared to 48% in 2015?
  • An American Hutrust study shows that an incredible 83% of buyers have said that they would gladly recommend to others a company that they trusted.
  • Another study shows that 92% of shoppers rely on reviews and recommendations in deciding on where to shop.  A recommendation is referred trust.

That’s why Jayson DeMers, founder of Audiencebloom (an online marketing agency) stressed the fact that:

“Shopping and ordering through a website is a vastly different experience…customers have less to go on when determining how comfortable they feel making a purchase. Consequently, it’s up to (online dealers) to quickly earn (customers’) trust and curb any skepticism”.

 

How Does This Apply to You?

Traditional brick & mortar stores engage browsers with visuals, touch, sound, smell, incorporating business elements that quietly state that theirs is a business that can be trusted.  These include good lighting, professional signage, friendly shopkeepers, a clean storefront, full shelves & nice displays–all of which influence a shopper’s decision to purchase. Since the online shopping experience is virtual, it is important to adjust an online storefront in ways that will be commensurate with these, and positively influence each shopper quickly.

People do business with those that they like, know, and trust. Establishing trust in an online context is critical and must be established consciously. The fact is, online shoppers have vast choices and make very quick assessments of storefronts and products. They are, at any point in time, only a few quick clicks from moving to another site. This means that being a savvy dealer is more important than ever.


Establishing trust in the online marketplace begins with how your storefront, and your inventories are presented. On GoAntiques this is done through a quality storefront banner, and friendly & detailed storefront description; which will be covered in the next newsletter. Until then, we hope you’ve enjoyed this introductory issue and hope you are just as excited as we are to revamp your storefronts!

Update My Storefront

 

Best Regards,
The GoAntiques Team

Click here to read Part 2!

Not a GoAntiques Seller? Click Here to Learn More about why we’re the most cost effective marketplace for Dealers

References:

Greet Your Buyer With a Smile!

Part 2, in our Storefront Renovation Series, explores why creating trust is so important in online sales, and changes you can make, right now to your GoAntiques storefront banner and description, to create a great, competitive storefront, attract customers, and thereby increase your sales.  If you haven’t read Part 1, we highly recommend it.

 

“Given the choice of shopping for a product, at the same price, in a dull and badly lit store, or one that is bright and clean, you would always instinctively choose option B. So, it really goes without saying that the first impression and overall appearance of your eCommerce site needs to be impressive, and inspire confidence in who you are and what you do.” – eCommercePlatforms.com

 

Optimizing Your Storefront Banner

A whopping 95% of traditional shoppers say that a store’s appearance is “important in their selection of a place to shop.” Your online storefront, especially your banner, is the buyer’s first impression of you. It is your store’s appearance, in a virtual shopping mall, open to the whole world.

What does your banner say about your business?  If it were a brick and mortar store, there would likely be professional looking signage, clean windows, an attractive display that would capture a passerby’s attention, the lights would be on and welcoming, and the whole would convey that this was an upstanding business, with fabulous inventory just inside.

Accordingly, your front window, your banner image, should be the highest quality, fullest size, be attractive, and be completely in focus. Include your signage and/or the name of your business, and convey professionalism.


Describing Your Business Effectively

Each storefront has the opportunity to describe the business to newcomers. Use this feature to its fullest.  Research other profiles to see what others are doing and model your description after the best. While not everyone is a wordsmith, or if you feel ill-equipped to write the description yourself, find someone who can help you. This is THE place to sell your business. Highlight your strengths. Describe what you sell, the business’ background, and the great reasons why customers would want to shop with you.

Be clear, descriptive, and welcoming. Consider including a glowing customer review. Be sure to proofread, the last thing you want is a typo which could convey lack of dedication. Businesses that care enough to attend to details and presentation give no reason to doubt…If a business owner is apathetic about his storefront, and that shows, customers will have less confidence that they can trust the business.

GoAntiques has seen a real influx in site-wide sales over the past three months, and we want our dealers to be well-equipped to grow, especially as the holiday shopping draws near.

Your storefront banner & description are foundational in a buyer’s first time impression of you. They act as signage and a first “Hello”, and can set the stage for building a catalog of repeat and loyal customers. Next week we’ll be zooming in a bit deeper, giving you the WHY and the HOW to maximize your inventory photos & descriptions, as well as strategies for Pricing, so that your buyer can have full confidence that you sell quality goods, at reasonable prices.

Update My Storefront

Let the Renovations begin!

Best Regards,
The GoAntiques Team

Click here for Part 3! 

Not a GoAntiques Seller? Click Here to Learn More about why we’re the most cost effective marketplace for Dealers

References:

  • https://ecommerce-platforms.com/articles/building-confidence-ecommerce-store-budget
  • https://www.retailcustomerexperience.com/articles/report-consumers-influenced-by-a-retailers-physical-appearance/

 

Show the Buyer Quality Inventory Details

This is Part 3 of a GoAntiques newsletter series on revamping storefronts to instill buyer trust in online sales, if you haven’t read Part 1, click here. To catch up on Part 2, click here. In this newsletter, Part 3, we explain the necessity of detailed inventory images & descriptions, and why buyers need them in order to make a purchase.

We hope you’ve been enjoying the Storefront Renovation Series, which has been exploring the importance of building trust with a potential buyer by providing the details necessary to make them comfortable enough to buy.

“You want to make sure that people understand what you are selling and why they should want it.  Unfortunately that’s where many site owners get things wrong.  They display the product but neglect to provide sufficient detail about why the consumers would want it.  This is perhaps based on the assumption that their product is so great that it needs no explanation.” – eCommercePlatforms.com


Photos/Item Description:

It is vitally important to be detail-oriented in product photos and descriptions, because this is how you compensate for the customer’s inability to assess the item in person.

Above all, photos must be totally in focus, and taken in good light–preferably against a plain background. The more consistent the background is, the more professional the photos appear. The more photos you offer, from all angles, including flaws/labels/details, the more the shopper can trust he has enough information to buy your item.

The online sales experts at Ecommerce.com tell us that, “Most users prefer to have as much detail as possible about anything they are considering buying.  They will never hold it against you for providing too much detail, but they could avoid buying from you if you don’t give enough details. Often when a customer declines to buy from you, they won’t tell you why, and often they won’t even know why.  But the reason is you left them with unanswered questions, and so they didn’t commit to making a purchase immediately.  Once a customer has left your site, it will often be their last visit.”

In your item descriptions, give all the details you would want if you were buying that item, making up for the fact that the shopper cannot see or handle the item as they would in person.  Include product functionalities, dimensions, payment terms, minimum orders, packing options, etc.

“Most (buyers) prefer to have as much detail as possible about anything they are considering buying.  They will never hold it against you for providing too much detail, but they could avoid buying from you if you don’t give enough details.”

While it is sometimes effective to make a brief pitch that plays to emotions, be careful not to oversell.  When you go overboard, readers feel it’s gimmicky and may lose faith. Pay attention to the keywords you use. Be accurate, be clear, and do not exaggerate. Be careful of inaccurate style terms. And again, proofread to ensure a professional tone.

Note: This is not the place for long descriptions about your own possible inaccuracy. In general, disclaimers like that should be clearly stated in your Storefront Policies page.

eBay warns its sellers is to avoid adding text that could be viewed as negative by buyers:

“Harsh or restricting terms of service — requests to do, not do this, do not do that, you must do that — that kind of language doesn’t work in any marketplace, and on eBay it’s actually an effective way of getting rid of customers.”


 Pricing:

In general, shoppers now do item and pricing research on the Internet, “cross-shopping” for almost all merchandise before making purchases.

That’s one reason an inventory that covers a range of prices is important. Also, within each category of items, it is wise to have a range-with items that are priced to move as well as rarer items with prices that reflect their value, but are still competitive.

It’s important to offer high end products as well as low end ones to cover the entire range of customers you may encounter.

BEWARE, however,  of this traditional pricing strategy:

“Let’s say you wanted to encourage customers to purchase Item A from your store because that product nets you the highest margins. If you were to price Item A similarly with the rest of the items in Item A’s category, then Item A would simply not stand out.

However, if you were to price the rest of your items extremely high and place them next to Item A in your shopping cart, then Item A would be perceived as an absolute bargain. If you make sure your “relative” prices are on the high end and you will net a higher profit.”

Because today’s buyers cross shop, both online and in brick and mortar establishments,  this is NOT sound online strategy.

In fact, it is a good idea to comparison shop yourself, as a part of your pricing strategy. The online advantage of no brick and mortar and staffing costs can allow you to become a fierce competitor.

Item descriptions, images, and prices are the reasons why a buyer decides to purchase. The combination of these three elements act like a virtual walkthrough of a product the shopper would otherwise experience in-person.

Digging through your inventories may take some time but the end result, of a purchase, will be 100% worth your investment.

Update My Inventory

 

Let the Renovations begin!

Best Regards,
The GoAntiques Team

Click here for Part 4! 

Not a GoAntiques Seller? Click Here to Learn More about why we’re the most cost effective marketplace for Dealers

References:

Shipping & Communication Can Make or Break A Sale

Dealers who communicate often during a sale, and are prepared to quickly respond with information and shipping options to customers, are more likely to develop repeat customers.

We hope you’ve been enjoying the Storefront Renovation Series, which has been exploring the importance of building trust with a potential buyer by providing the details necessary to make them comfortable enough to buy.

Part 4, the final issue, provides you with up-to-date information regarding Shipping & Communication. At this point, you’ve done the heavy lifting to provide the buyer with a great shopping experience. Quality Shipping and Communication provide a good ending to the customer’s experience, which leads to a cycle of future recommendations and sales!

If you need refreshing on the first 3 parts, click here.


“Buyers don’t want shipping to be part of their decision making. The best way to take it out of the decision making process is to offer free shipping. Even if that means moving some or all of the cost of shipping into the price of the item, it’s still an easier experience for the buyer”

Shipping

“When it comes to shipping, the standard is moving across the industry toward free shipping,” according to Jim Griffith, eBay’s senior manager of seller advocacy and the author of The Official Ebay Bible.

Because this is what online competitors are doing increasingly, this is something online buyer’s are weighing in their purchase decisions, and that makes it a potentially valuable sales booster.

Unlike many other selling platforms, the GoAntiques dealer is in control of setting shipping prices and methods. Whether you decide to go with free shipping or not, you should ship your merchandise as quickly as possible. Cohen says that even if there’s a problem with the order, buyers are usually much more amicable when they’ve received their products quickly.

Also, explore and compare rates, using alternative shipping services. Many truckers have partial loads and can freight a large piece of furniture along the route for a much more economical rate:


Communication

Entrepreneur.com calls today’s online shopper “uncertain” and “demanding,” often waiting until the very last minute before shopping for what they need “yesterday”.

The good news is that they are highly appreciative of good service, and good communication. Dealers who communicate often and are prepared to quickly respond with information and shipping options to these customers, are more likely to develop repeat customers, and who advertise on your behalf by recommending you to friends.

“Instead of being product focused, your site should be user focused.  You need to make sure the entire experience of visiting and browsing your site is as easy as possible for the user.  You need to make sure that the experience is a positive one.  You can do this by:

  • Anticipating the kinds of questions users may have about your product

  • Providing as much detail as you possibly can about your products

  • Always being upfront about the price

  • Making it easy for customers to trust your sales platform

  • Making it easy for customers to complete their purchase

  • Giving quality after-sales service”

 

A great storefront is like a great resume, available to every potential internet customer, so check and double-check your site regularly, the same way you would regularly send staff through your store to tidy displays.  Proofread, make sure links work, and get second opinions.

There is $664 billion dollars worth of home decor that is expected to be purchased by 2020, and we, at GoAntiques want you all to have a great big piece of that pie…with whipped cream!

Update My Storefront

Let the Renovations Begin!

Best Regards,
The GoAntiques Team

Not a GoAntiques Seller? Click Here to Learn More about why we’re the most cost effective marketplace for Dealers

References:

GoAntiques social media channels are building a following, with the goal of capturing not only the serious collector, but also the design-influenced buyer, a market with great spending power, as mentioned in the July Newsletter, The HGTV Effect. The channels use text and interior decor photos, carefully chosen to inspire followers, who in turn search GoAntiques storefronts to find the items that turn this inspiration into reality. Follow us on Instagram (@go_antiques) and Pinterest (@goantiques) to see the types of items that this market wants.

 

Google Analytics show us where buyers travel, and what they do. Currently, 65% of buyers leave the website after searching for an item. Research has shown us that the visual clarity of item images plays a large role in buyers committing to making a purchase.

We’re sure plenty of questions are driving your thoughts. I don’t have a lighting setup, I operate out of my home, do you really think I have the money to take these photos? Your inventory photos don’t need a magazine photographers’ skills. As long as your inventory photos are sharp, well-lit, solid images; there is a higher potential for a completed sale. To finish, here are 5 tips for taking better inventory photos:

  1. Always Upload Sharp, High Quality Photos. If your photo is not sharp, or is grainy enough to make the image blurry, use something (a tripod, stack of books, etc)  to steady your camera or smartphone. Sharp photos are absolutely critical. Uploading high resolution images is important, because photos lose quality when they are transferred.
  2. Include as Many Angles and Details as You Can.  Include details, all sides, any labels, tags or makers’ marks, and wear & tear areas. Anything a customer would check in a brick & mortar store should be photographed.

  3. Use Diffused, Natural Lighting as much as possible (outside in shade, inside near window, white tent). Your camera or iPhone’s flash is NOT your friend here. Flashes cause hot spots, uneven lighting, dark shadows, and an unnatural color cast. An image yellowed by lack of light or bad flash is unattractive and works against your sales.

  4. Make the Product Take up Most of the Frame, removing unnecessary background space brings the focus of your photo onto the item. Be sure to include a yardstick (something standard) for scale.

  5. Keep the background clear, consistent & neutral.  White is the easiest background to recreate time after time. Consistency, in your backgrounds, reads well on storefront feeds. Small items can be shot in a light tent or on seamless paper for very little cost.

 

Looking for more? There are hundreds of articles and YouTube videos that teach non-photographers how to shoot inventory, as well as how to create an inexpensive set-up you can use repeatedly. If you are interested in learning more about DIY photography, here are a few of our favorites:

What is the HGTV Effect?

Antique & vintage sales to the design industry are not new, however, in 2015, HGTV influenced buyers spent over $63 billion on homes.  This trend is called “the HGTV effect”.  These are design-influenced younger buyers, an online generation, and they are furnishing those homes with antique & vintage pieces, and developing collections that they want to live with.  We hear from event promoters & dealers that the antique & vintage demographic is rapidly shifting to a younger demographic.

While both event and brick & mortar dealers have told us they recognize these HGTV buyers & fear that they’re losing sales to this generation, which is expected to spend $664 billion on home decor by 2020, they are not entirely sure how to capture the changing market.

GoAntiques wants you, our loyal dealers, to take a big piece of that pie. We know that our dealers want to appeal to the savvy buyer & collector, with the ability to buy choice, more costly pieces. But, GoAntiques also wants dealers who can cater to both younger and design-influenced buyers. These types buy more frequently, but at lower price points. They are fledging collectors; they want antiques & vintage, but they are buying, to live with the pieces they buy, sometimes upcycling them to give them a personal twist.  Again, these are the ones projected to spend some $664 billion dollars by 2020, on items to use in their homes.  If they can buy pieces on GoAntiques that are better made, have quality materials, and have history, why wouldn’t they?

 

Why are We Developing Social Media Channels?

  1. Recent data shows that 27% of all online time is spent on social media sites, like Instagram & Pinterest.
  2. 78% of consumers make purchasing decisions that are influenced by a brand’s (GoAntiques) social media, and 70% of Instagram users have searched for a brand on Instagram.
  3. Instagram is a great platform to drive leads for online retailers because it is both visual and mobile-first. It has become the fastest growing social media sales site, threading past Facebook.

 

What is Selling?

Our GoAntiques antique & vintage specialists recommend that all dealers be aware of these trends, refresh their inventory, as they are able, to include items that are desirable in design trends like Farmhouse Modern, Urban Eclectic, Industrial Chic, and the chic, luxe decors that mix and match a variety of timeless furniture styles.

To capture this market, items must include a range of prices that will attract even younger buyers.

Here is a list for those that might find it helpful:

  • Vintage & antique oversized mirrors, especially in gilded frames
  • Pre 1960s rattan, bamboo, and faux bamboo furniture
  • British Colonial, Campaign furniture, Chinoiserie & Hollywood Regency style furnishings
  • Mid Century modern anything
  • Club & wing back chairs, 1960’s and earlier, especially in leather
  • Industrial lighting, tables, shelving, & seating
  • Wood cabinets, tables, & chairs
  • Atomic era barware
  • Antique & vintage jewelry and watches
  • Vintage & affordable global rugs & furnishings esp Moroccan, Turkish, tribal, kilims
  • Global textiles, including suzanis, African indigo mudcloth, and ikats
  • Wrought iron furnishings and lighting
  • Vintage signage, posters, ad art and props

 

We understand that this list may not suit every storefront, and that is fine.  But we wanted to keep you abreast of the trends, and aware of GoAntiques efforts, on your behalf. Please contact us with any questions you might have.  If you currently sell on Etsy and are not happy, we have made it possible to migrate your Etsy files onto GoAntiques, with ease. You can find more information on this new feature in your Dashboard.

 

We look forward to supporting you in every way we can, and together, taking the antique, vintage and design market by storm!

Looking for more GoAntiques Dealer Newsletters? Click here to see them all.

 

*https://www.alliedmarketresearch.com/home-decor-furnishing-market