Ye olde marketing is still good marketing

October 21, 2013By Behind the Shelf Blog, Brand Marketing

by Jenny Kosek

Ever been to a Renaissance Faire? Every summer, I am among the fearless and dorky who don upholstery fabric and corsetry to enjoy a day of contrived historical fantasy at my local faire. One of the main attractions of any such festival is the many vendors who set up shop to sell their wares on the grounds. Exquisite, handmade costumes, jewelry, leather crafts, pottery, and wood carved objects are sold by dedicated artisans who make their livings travelling from festival to festival throughout the year. Selling as much of their products as possible is their daily bread-and-butter.

Their potential shoppers have never heard of their brand. These craftspeople don’t advertise on TV, and Renaissance Faires don’t have billboards above the vendors to attract passersby. So how do these intrepid salespeople sell their products? They have three tricks up their sleeves:

  1. They set up eye-catching displays. Enough said.
  2. They demonstrate their products, People might not stop to study the hand-carved flutes, but they will stop to listen to the flute maker play them.
  3. They make shoppers come to them by “barking” (the old fashioned practice of announcing what goods you have for sale to the crowd) and by--literally--dragging shoppers over to look at their merchandise.

While you might not be inclined to yell your advertising points to passers-by (“WE HAVE COMPRESSION HOSE!”) and might attract police attention if you try to force shoppers into your store, you can still employ the time honored sales tactics of having a beautiful visual presentation, demonstrating the products to excite shoppers, and simply making the most of potential sales opportunities — which are every opportunity where you are in contact with a consumer. Generating front-end sales takes a little ingenuity and a lot of old-fashioned energy. Just like the merchants of yore, get excited to engage shoppers and build sales.

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