The Nieman Marcus “fantasy gifts” for 2022 included a bespoke Barbie™ Maserati for $330,000, and an Art Deco diamond tiara for $3.2 million. In case these items were out of their customers’ budgets, at the bottom of the page announcing these luxury items Nieman Marcus included a link to “fantasy for all” gifts starting at $45 – but inspired by their over-the-top annual selections.

We recently looked at a catalogue of group tours that seemed a bit expensive. But once we read about the one that with a $69,000 ticket, those priced closer to $5,000 didn’t seem so bad. Our concept of luxury is clearly somewhat subjective.

How can you put this concept to work in your shop? Take a look at your average retail in various categories, and consider bringing in a few items that would be at a higher price than what you usually carry.  Our toy buyer did this recently with two dragon puppets from Folkmanis that were larger and more expensive than the rest of their line – and one customer bought them both!

It’s also helpful from a visual merchandising standpoint to have a few bigger items for window displays. Be sure to let your staff know that this merchandise is for sale when the display is changed, because chances are good that someone will want to buy it.  If it doesn’t sell, you can always use the oversize item for a door prize drawing.  The cost of engaging customers in a contest like this is just the wholesale price of the prize.

Another option to consider in sourcing something larger or more expensive than you usually stock is to work with a vendor who drop ships. Show the sample in your display or window, and take orders. The supplier will then ship it directly to your customer, or send it to your store to be picked up.

This strategy is not the same as offering a loss leader, which is a popular product sold at a loss to attract customers. It’s closer to offering three levels of pricing – good, better, best – in order to have something for everyone. In this case, you are bringing in a few items in the “best” category without knowing for sure whether your customers will want to pay the highest price.  If you do it well, offering a premium option will help increase your sales in the good and better category. And who knows – you may discover that not all your customers are as price-sensitive as you thought!

Happy retailing, 

Carol “Orange” Schroeder