Inexpensive Techniques for Increasing Model Sales
April 1, 2003
are tense for model retailers. The average store cannot usually
compete on price and Internet sales make it hard to compete on convenience.
That leaves service—the little extras that draw traffic into
your store—as one of the few draws left to traditional hobby
businesses. These simple and inexpensive techniques will help your
store maximize its potential for face-to-face interaction.
Specialize. Having trouble attracting neighborhood
customers? Give modelers a reason to travel to your store. Become
the local expert in some aspect of modeling. Whether your niche
is spacecraft or sailing ships, the word will spread among the hobby
circuit that a model shop is working to serve the needs of the model
Sponsor Modeling Clinics. Many potential customers
may never have built a model before. By offering both beginning
and advanced techniques classes, you can help overcome a hobbyist’s
fears and frustrations and get them building—and buying!
Hold Model-Making Contests. Too many P-51 models?
Trying to encourage sales of steam engines or RC cars? Give customers
a month to build a model and award a prize for the best one, or
have an RC race in your parking lot. Regular competitions can increase
traffic and spur sales.
Display Customers’ Models. Make space for
your customers' handiwork in your display window and cases. It lets
others know their work can make a difference by encouraging them
to try out a featured model themselves.
Host a Model Club. Getting modelers together spurs
them to build more models and bring new blood into modeling. An
active modeling club gives hobbyists a social outlet for their craft.
Encourage Special Orders. Sometimes modelers want
a special model or accessories to go with a current project. Make
it easy for them to get what they need through your shop. Even if
it is cheaper by mail, many people prefer a face-to-face transaction.
Provide Modeling Advice. If hobbyists can come
to your shop and get their questions answered, they are more likely
to start a project--and go on to the next one.
Foster Young Modelers: Today's youth is also today's
customer. Kids have a disposable income, but are seldom exposed
to model-making today. Find ways to bring them into your store by
selling kits aimed at their interests.
Put up a Bulletin Board: Sacrifice some wall space
for modelers to post announcements. That will bring others in to
look at the board and your shelves. Consider allowing modelers to
advertise their old or unwanted models there. Guess where they will
buy new kits with the money they get?
Writer's Bio: When Mark Lardas says something isn't rocket
science, he knows. His career spans both space and e-commerce. His
down-to-earth interests include models and writing. He combines both
of these in articles for modeling magazines and as Boy's Life's