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Unexpected Shopper Needs…Number 3 Will Surprise You!

Selling add-on items can be as simple as anticipating your customers’ needs.shopping_couple_2

On a recent vacation, some of our Melrose staff found the most interesting products in the most unexpected places. Bottled water in a high end lotion shop on the beach. Sunscreen in a luxury gift shop on the strip. And fashion magazines in a golf pro shop. What do all three of these stores have in common? They carry add-on items ready for the customers’ unanticipated need.

Of course, you don’t have to be a luxury lotionier, ultra high end gift shop or golf pro shop to sell add-on items to your customers. You simply want to think about an unexpected wish they may have while in your store, and cater to that. We’ve got some quick examples below for home and garden centers, hospital gift shops, floral shops and more.

Home and Garden Centers
From annuals to home décor you’ve got it all. And that means your customers will be shopping your store for long periods of time. So why not stock some bottled water and snacks? Allowing your customers a little time to refresh and recharge (in your store or on the car ride home) will keep them happy and shopping longer.

Hospital Gift Shops
Your best seller may be the “It’s a Boy” balloon but that doesn’t mean you can’t branch out a little in the items you offer! Consider offering high end sundry items like organic pretzels with dips, shelf stable cheeses and fancy nut mixes. These will appeal not just to the hospital visitors, but also to the patients themselves (hospital food is not exactly known to be delicious). Alternately, stock some of the items that patients need but often forget—socks with tread on the bottom, hair ties, nail files, and pretty lap blankets.

Floral Shops
Many of your customers are shopping your store for an occasion: Valentine’s Day, Birthday, Anniversary…. Flowers for most of these are bought by men for women. So why not a little something for the men? Consider stocking a small quantity of mid-range cigars or cuff links. Or complete the gift with dinner certificates to a local restaurant to compliment your flowers.

Everyone
We know. Gift shops are for gifts. But the truth is, many shoppers are looking for gifts for themselves. So consider the little things people want, but don’t always need to buy—travel size perfume, pretty hair clips, small boxes of local chocolate. Test new items in small batches until you find products that sell.  Finally, consider offering small cups of chai tea in the winter and iced horchata in the summer (all for a dollar) to excite and energize customers while shopping.

From snacks to cigars to little luxuries, add-on items can help you serve your customers better while increase basket ring. Of course, some of these ideas won’t work in your store or market, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a perfect item that will! Listen as your customers and shop for idle comments that will clue you in to the little things they need.

How are you delighting your customers with the unexpected? Have you gone beyond bottled water to find something really great that they love? Well, WE would love to hear about it in the comments below!

Melrose International is an industry leader in wholesale home décor, giftware, and seasonal items. Providing outstanding products, service, design, and value since 1985!

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