The troubles in the antiques trade have not spared the OK state. The Oklahoman recently reported that shop dealers throughout the state are failing. “Antique stores are struggling”, says one. “You just can’t make a living off them anymore.
While some of the state”s dealers think the problems are no worse than those faced by all retailers, many believe the problems run deeper. The Oklahoman sums up the situation aptly. “Something significant is happening to the industry. Several experts claim we have moved into a new era–one that now includes the purchasing of antiques online at Web sites such as eBay. They argue that fewer people have the need to walk into an antiques store when they can find what they want while sitting in their pajamas at a home computer.”
But perhaps for a handful of dealers, who’s surprised e-retailing, unprecedented in its ability to provide shoppers convenience and selection–has spelled the end of the antiques shop? E-retailing has that power. Remember when, not long ago, there was a mom-and-pop video store at every corner?
I think 2010 will be the year the antiques trade sees a sales turnaround for dealers who take advantage of the “dynamic duo,” e-retailing and antiques shows. Like Batman and Robin, these two sales channels, if properly paired, can be a team of superheroes.
So how should they be paired? Here are three suggestions:
Every dealer should promote her presence at antiques shows on her Website. She should write about the events she’s participating in, because useful and interesting content will entice customers to attend. Content like this also includes keywords that will help prospects find the dealer’s Website.
Every dealer should also consider an online advertising campaign to promote each appearance at a show. An online campaign will help in the same way that pre-show mailers boost visits to a booth.
Every dealer should use social media to connect with customers before, during and after shows. Sales can be increased by sending tweets on Twitter, posting on Facebook, adding show photos to Flickr and publishing blog posts.