Too many times I have heard that young people are not buying antiques from dealers, but have the dealers truly reached out? Is there any measure that the owners of stores and malls can take to attract more young collectors?
Here are some of my thoughts:
You don’t have to know all search engine optmization (SEO) tricks to be searchable online. The young generation used the internet to find stuff, so you have to be there. If you cannnot click on it, it does not exist. At the minimum, the store information should have an online presence.
On more than one occasion I was instructed that no photos are allowed to be taken in antique malls. Are the owners shy of their booths? Are they afraid they’ve missed something and will sell it below value? Or were they afraid of “trade secrets? Most likely a customer takes photos because of interest in purchasing by themselves or someone they know. Yes, someone else may make more money as an item moves up the chain from attic to high-end gallery–so what? Even if such a photo appears online, isn’t that a free advertisement? The young generation communicates online through photos and videos– if you don’t accommodate their preference, you don’t have them as your customers.
3. Mixing Old and New
Occasionally I have found pleasing results from stores which sell antiques along with restorations and reproductions. But there is a distinct line between antiques and reproductions. Mixing them together will drive serious shoppers away and decrease credibility and cause some to give up altogether. It is a good idea to decorate the store based on the seasons, but don’t leave buyers with the impression yours is a Christmas collectibles store with all the ribbons and ornaments hanging around.
It happens more often in antiques mall than stores that some booths are so stuffed that you cannot even walk to one corner to check things out. Even the seasoned collectors have their limits, not to mention young generations aspiring for lean and simplified living style. The abundance of merchandise only helps the sale to some degree. Once such abundance overwhelms presentation, every item looks unworthy of exploring. Yes, 99.9% of visitors won’t check the boxes of glass tucked under the corner desks.
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