IN A TRADITIONAL MARKET ANTIQUE DEALERS ARE POSITIONED FOR CHANGE
PRINCETON- All small business owners would agree that today they have to think differently than they did two or three years ago. With the rising price of living expenses consumers are holding tight to their wallets and assessing risks and benefits before making the smallest purchase. Business owners have to make the most of lackluster sales and the rising cost of shipping and travel. Nowhere can these economic forces be more clearly shown than at local antique shows and markets. "There are a lot of lookers but not many buyers" goes the cry of many antique dealers today.
Instead of buyers and sellers today we have browsers and shop tenders. The idea of business as usual must change for retail businesses to survive.
The sales techniques of Lakeside Art & Antiques can be called anything but usual. Established in 2003, by self named, "Hippie" Jim Mclean, Lakeside Art & Antiques has grown into the rebel in a traditional marketplace. "We specialize in entertainment" answers Hippie Jim in his top hat and woodpecker walking stick, "Giving our customers a fully interactive shopping experience puts a smile on their faces and makes this all worth while". Lakeside's goal is to provide the customer with the best service possible in pricing, information, contacts, and community. "We have a contact list of several thousand customers, experts, museums and institutions looking to buy, sell, and help share their knowledge of fine decorative arts and we show our appreciation for them in every way that we can." The complimentary wine and cheese, the relaxing seat away from the hustle and bustle of the exhausting antiques show, the personal thank you note for each purchase all show the value Lakeside places on each of its guests. "We love our customers and we're not afraid to show it". Every effort is made to make a guest feel comfortable and for that guests return time and again.
By being innovative, economical, and aware of business trends in society, Lakeside Art & Antiques has set itself apart from the traditional market. Lakeside is rolling with the latest trends like social networking, "going green", and online marketing to move antiques into the 21st century. Consumers today want to establish personal connections with the businesses they are using. Lakeside's page on Facebook keeps customers up to date on scheduled showings, sales, events, new merchandise, and news. "We know most of our customers personally, what they like, what they need, what makes them tick and we make ourselves available to them 24/7. When you deal with us you are part of our family." Why Facebook you ask? It's free! "We are toying with the idea of a web site but nothing beats free. With Facebook we feel that we have a better connection with each visitor as an individual".
“Economical, that's the hard way of spelling cheap" squawks Hippie Jim. Lakeside understands that people don't want to pay full price if they don't have to. In an effort to give the customers what they want, Lakeside has frequent 99 cent sales through eBay. Unsold inventory is auctioned off on eBay with a starting bid of 99 cents without reserve. Before such a sale they advertise to all of the interested people they can find and then let them pay what they will. "Customers get quality pieces 'economically'", says Hippie Jim with a smile. "We make a bit of money and move a lot of stuff, and if the buyer is local we'll see them at the next show we do so they don't have to pay for shipping or wasting gas. Everyone wins!"
"Some people think we're nuts. Others think we're progressive. Whatever we are, we're having a good time."