It’s always great to get together with other retailers to share ideas. At a recent roundtable in Las Vegas, several store owners mentioned that they are now offering gift wrapping service — for merchandise not purchased in their shop. With department stores no longer offering gift boxes or wrapping (not to mention online retailers that have never made this an option) this is a apparently a niche that can be a real profit center.  It’s also a great way to bring potential customers into the store.

“We start at $7.50 and go up if the package is large or difficult to wrap,” one retailer said.  “But of course any purchase from our own store gets wrapped for free.”  All you need is a variety of boxes, wrap and ribbon, along with adequate staffing so that you can pull someone away from the sales floor without inconveniencing shoppers.

What other services could your shop offer, either for free or for a charge?  Here is a list from the new 4th edition of Specialty Shop Retailing: How You Can Compete in Today’s Market:

● Repotting house plants

● Antique appraisals

● Cleaning and repairs

● Loaners for customers while an item is being serviced

● Party planning

● Cooking classes or food sampling

● Additional gift with a purchase, such as batteries with a clock

● Valet parking or validated parking in a nearby facility

● Free recipes or crafts instruction sheets

● Elegant wrapping of gifts from other stores

● Complimentary installation or assembly of purchases

● A lending library of books and DVDs

● Trade-ins on used items

● Personalization or other custom work

● Birthday and anniversary reminders

● Storage of out-of-season items

● Craft parties for children’s birthdays

● Office or home sales calls

● Rentals of tools or items for entertaining

● Coffee or juice bar, possibly run by an outside firm

● Guided tours led by a specialist from your shop

● Tourist information

I hope that you’ll find many of the ideas like these in the new edition of Specialty Shop Retailing helpful.  Because I want to see all of us succeed, despite the challenges we face!

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder