It's almost that time - the time between First Communion season and Christmas when there seems to be a vast span of days where the customers only trickle in. This year, instead of gritting your teeth and watching your bottom line fall through the floor, be proactive and do something about it. Here are some tips to get you through the summer.
- Hold book fairs at parishes. It's free advertising and if you tithe part of the proceeds to the parish, you build goodwill.
- Write an article for your local Catholic paper. Things have slowed down so take some time to write something interesting for your Catholic paper. Make sure your byline mentions your store. If you write well, maybe you could be a regular columnist.
- Ask your local Catholic paper to write an article about your store. Don't laugh, they might do it. I asked our local paper to write an article about the three Catholic stores in town and they agreed. I used the interview as an opportunity to showcase what sets us apart from the other stores. Talk about great free advertising!
- Check your prices. I know this is tedious, but if you don't keep up with vendor price changes, your bottom line is vanishing. We have received several letters from jewelry vendors lately saying that prices are going up. If you haven't received these notices, call them and ask what changes are coming and when they start. Also, take a look at the pricing on other products. Are you undercharging for some items?
- Start a book or movie discussion group at the store. Local parishes will likely give you free advertising in their bulletins for events like this and you get more customers.
- Get an online store. I personally recommend the Aquinas and More Storefront Program as a quick and comparatively inexpensive way to get your store on the Internet. 80% of our sales are from the Web! Imagine what a website has the potential to do for your store.
I hope these tips will prove useful as you start the summer.
Ian Rutherford, President
Aquinas and More Catholic Goods
Rebuilding Catholic culture one soul at a time.