« PreviousContinue »
Combating the Five- and Ten-cent Stores.
That druggists do not fear the competition of these stores seems to be indicated by the tone of the papers we are printing this month. All five men look upon such competition as an incentive to make them hunt for additional outlets and better ways for disposing of their merchandise. Schemes for getting the five- and ten-cent business that have been tried out in active practice, as well as methods that should result in increased sales, are described in a profitable way, and the information may prove of value to druggists who feel that they are not getting the returns they should from the small-price merchandise in their stocks.
PRIZE ARTICLE: THREE METHODS THAT out of many of them. I have such a display in WIN CUSTOMERS.
operation now, a window filled with five- and BY CHARLES L. REED.
ten-cent packages of cough lozenges. The To my mind there are three distinct and
most of our calls for cough remedies this week equally important methods of competing with
have been for lozenges. During the week that five- and ten-cent stores. They are:
we featured cough syrups, our sales were 1. By the proper display of goods.
mostly of syrups, very few cough drops being
called for. 2. By featuring quality and not quantity.
People buy what is shown them. 3. By inciting faith in the druggist's judg
CONSPICUOUS DISPLAY HELPS. ment.
Another selling scheme that I employ is to Many drug-store articles retail at the same
keep on a small counter a heterogeneous collecprice as in five- and ten-cent stores, but ordi- tion of five- and ten-cent articles. These disnarily they are not displayed to such good plays attract many customers for inexpensive
In competing with the five- and ten-cent stores, however, the whole of the battle consists not in selling as many cheap articles as they, but in selling many of the cheaper goods and many more of the better grades which represent a greater value to the purchaser and a higher percentage of profit to the druggist.
It is the mark of a good salesman—the drugstore kind—to persuade customers that quality and not quantity is the important point to consider in buying drugs and sundries. When asked for a certain ten-cent article, such a clerk shows it immediately. At the same time he also shows the better article, explaining the difference and telling frankly and honestly why it is advisable to buy the merchandise of
quality. advantage. If they were most people would,
If he features quality in every sale and if his of course, prefer to buy their drugs and drug
reasoning is clear and logical, the customer will sundries from a pharmacist.
take the better goods nine times out of ten. Instead, how
And in the tenth instance the cheaper article ever, these people patronize the five- and ten
can be disposed of. cent stores because they see in those places large quantities of the goods effectively dis
INCITING CUSTOMER CONFIDENCE. played.
However, what to me seems the very essence It is up to the druggist to show his goods in of good salesmanship is the art of inciting a manner just as attractive.
He will then get customers' faith in our judgment. Much dethe business—his share of it, at least.
pends on the way a customer is received when A window display, featuring five- and ten- he enters the shop, and on knowing how to cent articles, will not fail to attract the people take him and make him understand that his in the street and make immediate customers particular purchase is of especial interest to us.
Charles L. Reed.
This method of competing with the five- and Competition never scared this druggist. It ten-cent stores is one for which those concerns rather stirred him on to greater achievements. have no definite comeback. They are "volume- And there is no reason under the sun why of-sales” institutions selling hundreds of dif- druggists in any city should wince at the comferent articles and employing numerous rather petition of general and five- and ten-cent shops. poorly-paid clerks of little sales-creative abil
PATRONS LIKE TO HANDLE STOCK. ity—mostly girls who have no desire to make the business their life-work and who, therefore, If the druggist studies the methods of fivestrive to please the boss only enough to hold and ten-cent stores he will find that they attract onto their jobs until prospective husbands people to their establishments by means of come to view.
window displays and then arouse a purchasing Employees in such stores do not and cannot desire by having the stock out where the visitget to know their customers as individuals and ors can handle it. The woman who can pick make them feel that they are remembered and up a cake of toilet soap or a can of talcum their purchases appreciated.
powder in her own hand and look it over is The druggist and his clerks, in most in- more likely to become a buyer than the one stances, should and do remember customers- who views the article through glass or sees it their individualities and peculiarities—their
on the shelves. The five- and ten-cent store is
likes and dislikes—what they are in the habit appealing to the
appealing to the customer through three of buying—and make them feel that they are senses—seeing, feeling, and hearing—and that important to the store.
is always better than an appeal through the Eventually these people can be brought to sense of sight alone. come to the drug store for articles formerly The general store and the five- and ten-cent purchased from the five- and ten-cent stores, store are striving for the distinction of being for they will finally have come to see that the centers of cheap trading. The druggist can druggist can sell the same goods at the same
aim for the distinction of conducting a quality price, better goods at a higher price, and all store, where the discriminating may purchase goods at a fair price.
high-grade articles and pay no more for them than in the ordinary shops.
Quality and service are the druggist's most QUALITY AND SERVICE ARE EFFECTIVE
effective weapons for successful competition. WEAPONS.
Let him appeal to the customer's sense of By GEORGE D. JOHNSON.
caution, ever preaching in his store talk and in On one of the busiest corners of an eastern his advertisements that it is safe to use anycity of over 350,000 population is a drug store. thing purchased in his store. It is in the very heart of the retail district. All
The druggist will find a counter of seasonaround it are big department and general stores
able articles, attractively priced and placed in a carrying cut-rate drug lines, and branches of
prominent part of the store, where all who two or three of the most prosperous five- and enter may handle them, a factor in competing ten-cent stores offering cheap toilet articles. A with the cheap shops. block away is an aggressive chain drug store. This druggist not only stays on a corner
DAILY SPECIALS. where his rent is tremendous, but his business He should have these articles (changed grows. He is subjected to the sharpest kind daily) displayed for a few weeks before even of competition, and he thrives on it.
mentioning them in his advertisements.
He He is one of these old-fashioned fellows should not treat them as sensational offerings, who impress you with the idea that he is in but as a part of the service he is rendering. business to serve the public. He has kept in After customers start talking about them, he step with progress without sacrificing any of may mention them incidentally in his advertisethe dignity of his calling. His customers have ments. confidence in him and in his store. They know Let him tell the readers of his announcethey can depend upon anything they purchase ments that yesterday's customers were able to from him, and they know that they do not have buy 25-cent tooth-brushes for fourteen cents; to pay more than they would in one of the that to-day they are buying 40-cent candy for sensationally advertised places.
29 cents, and that every day a new special is displayed. Now and then he can have a reg- prominently displayed and offered at known ular ten-cent-store article on the table for seven prices. I had realized that customers were cents, but he should avoid the sensational buying their supplies at these stores without methods of the cheap stores.
even giving a thought to the fact that the same There is no need to be lavish with advertis- goods could be obtained at any up-to-date drug ing expenditures. Many a careful advertiser store. can tell his message more effectively in three
A PLAN OUTLINED. inches of newspaper space than can another in But after awakening to the possibilities of a whole page.
It is not the space that counts pursuing similar methods I believe that I can so much as the confidence that the announce
bring to my store many a customer who has ment inspires.
been purchasing at the general and five- and An advertisement that is a personal chat ten-cent stores. At any rate I am going to upon one subject is more effective than an
give the plan a trial. announcement that tries to cover everything in One side of my store, in full view of the the store.
public, is going to be given over to a display of The druggist who offers quality and service all the various articles which can be sold for and impresses upon the public the idea that
five or ten cents. Included in this show will dependable goods may be purchased in his store
be nickel and dime packages of spices, ten-cent at prices no higher than the ordinary shop flavoring extracts, tinctures, oils, liniments, charges, need not fear the competition of five- frequently-called-for drugs, etc. and ten-cent or any other stores.
The various toilet articles, soaps, talcum
powders, and the like need only to be assembled THE GOODS IN ONE PLACE.
in order to make a good show. By WM. G. GREENAWALT.
By keeping our eyes and ears open we will
doubtless find many profitable items which can Not long ago a friend of mine who was
be added to our line. There are numerous tenabout to open a new hardware store was dis
cent articles which we can handle and which cussing with me the possibilities for getting
will attract buyers and result in increased business. I thought of the many articles in
business. his line which were being sold in the five- and
At that, however, looking for additional ent stores because the people, instead of
lines is hardly necessary, for, by going over a going to the nearest hardware dealer, had acquired the habit of looking to those stores to
drug-store stock, it is surprising to find how
many five- and ten-cent articles are present supply their wants.
which are useful in the home and which can be I suggested to my friend that if he would
sold at a good profit. arrange, and advertise, a five- and ten-cent
But best of all, perhaps, is the fact that a counter he could probably build up a profitable
five- and ten-cent counter will bring in many business, and make many a sale which other
persons who, after they are accustomed to wise would go to the five- and ten-cent or department stores.
coming into the store, can be developed into
regular patrons for other and more profitable That evening I smiled as I recalled the con
merchandise. As a business bringer the scheme versation. I smiled because there came into
has immense possibilities. my mind the question: "Why don't you take
I am going after the five- and ten-cent trade. your own advice?" I reviewed all the reasons and arguments
HANDLE MORE AND BETTER SIDE-LINES. which I had advanced, and which should apply
By W. A. HATCHETT. equally as well to drugs as well as hardware, and decided to practice what I preached.
I can see no good reason for any druggist to I had long since realized that five- and ten- fear the competition of five- and ten-cent cent stores were making inroads in the drug stores. We have many advantages over them field, but felt powerless to prevent them.
which they can never hope to offset. We can had seen them making great displays of toilet handle all the lines in which they can compete articles—goods of the same or better quality with us, and we can handle to advantage many which we could offer at identical prices—and lines which they cannot carry at all. selling them to the people because they were The main lines on which we feel the com
petition of the ten-cent stores are hydrogen five- and ten-cent stores by handling more and peroxide, school supplies, stationery, toilet better side-lines in a manner that is impossible articles, and soaps. But even the selling of for the dime stores to duplicate. If our 15these goods need not bother us if we will and 18-dollar-a-week clerks are not real salesgrapple with the situation as it stands and men we should "can" them and get men who combat it by aggressive methods.
are able to sell the goods, for salesmanship is If, for example, the ten-cent store is offering one of the biggest factors in the retail business a twelve-ounce bottle of Blink's peroxide for a to-day. If we have the right goods, salesmandime, we can buy a few of the selfsame twelve- ship and service will win every time. ounce bottles and sell them at the ten-cent price. If, on the one hand, some of our customers are pleased with the product and it proves to be a POPULAR PRICED GOODS TO THE FRONT. repeater in their case—well and good. We
By ARTHUR GEORGE. · have won customers by quantity rather than
In some drug stores when a relief clerk quality and achieved a reputation for selling makes his initial appearance he must first be goods cheaply. If, on the other hand, our
taken around and introduced to various hiding customers don't like the cheap product, we
places before he can locate even such a comhave not indorsed it as being of good quality monly-called-for article as a Seidlitz powder. and can then sell them a better grade and
What should be popular-selling goods are guarantee it. Then we will be known as sell
tucked away in almost inaccessible places such ing the best there is when the customer is will
as the “last drawer down” or the “highest ing to pay for it.
shelf up." The ten-cent stores cannot appeal to the
When stocks are arranged that way it is little class which are willing to pay for goods of
to be wondered that five- and ten-cent stores merit. They must confine their efforts to price
get the business. The managers of those conalone.
cerns realize the importance of prominent disDRUG-STORE ADVANTAGES.
play and show their wares on counter and It is needless and useless for us to worry
show-cases before the eyes and within easy over this kind of competition, for this is an age reach of every customer who enters the estabof keen competition in every field. And we in
lishment. the drug business have many advantages over
But if the druggist gets away from the oldour competitors which dealers in other lines do time methods of "hidden" display and forces not possess.
popular-priced articles on the attention of Never in history has there been more possi- people who enter the store he will find that bilities in the drug business than there is to- ten-cent-store competition isn't much of a day. Never has there been so wide a range of detriment after all. side-lines for us to stock in order to tempt elu- As a starter for getting trade coming his sive dimes from the pockets of our customers. way the druggist can go over his stock with a
We can meet—and beat the competition of fine-tooth comb, figuratively—and dig out all
QUESTIONS FOR THE NEXT CONTEST. This department is in the hands of the big family of BULLETIN readers, and the heartiest co-operation is earnestly urged. The following questions are announced for the next contest :
1. What is your hobby? Submitted by Nora I. Mitchell, Sparta, Mich.
2. How do you develop young boys into efficient, reliable, and enthusiastic clerks? Submitted by Alfred Kristiansen, Stanley, Wis.
For the best answer to either of these questions we shall award a prize of $5.00. Other answers, if printed, will be paid for at regular space rates. Every answer must be at least 500 words long and in our hands by May 10.
We also need some new questions for this department. One dollar will be paid promptly for every accepted question.
the new, old, shop-worn or slow-moving stuff gotten rid of and customers will be impressed that can be sold for ten cents. It is surprising, with the variety of merchandise carried by the almost, to find how many items from the aver- store. age stock can be retailed for such a small sum. Among the articles suitable for display on
Then if the most prominent case, the one such a counter are combs, brushes, hand-scrubs, near the front door, for instance, is decorated sponges, soaps, vaselin, perfumes, face powwith these goods, it won't be long before they ders, tooth-pastes, and household drugs of begin to move and make profits for the store. various kinds in small packages. These goods
are all popular sellers and in addition are PRICE-CARDS HELP.
articles which are featured strongly by the fiveA good-sized, neatly printed card of course and ten-cent stores. should state the price and call attention to the The whole secret, if anything so obvious can values shown. After the display has run for be called a secret, is to have the goods where about two weeks, a shift should be made to customers can't help seeing them. And this is five-cent or perhaps to twenty-five-cent articles. doubly true if the customers are women—the In this way much slow-moving stock can be sex which does most of the drug-store buying. In this department next month we shall have three answers to the question : “What is the Most
Interesting Department of My Store
THE DRUGGIST WHO REFUSED TO WAKE UP.
By Amos WOODBURY RIDEOUT.
The writer once wandered into a village where there was one drug store. This village was the center of a community where many people lived and where there was much business activity. I went into the drug store and found the druggist sitting beside the stove reading a book.
It was a small, old-fashioned store. As a better protection from the weather (it was winter) the druggist had caused to be erected at the entrance a “storm-door.” It helped to keep out the cold, but it may have kept some customers out also. It was not an inviting entrance.
I went outside, and as I stood there I fancied that I could see Opportunity knocking at the storm-door, not once but many times. There was a small regiment of Opportunities, in fact. They rapped at the door, they peered in at the windows, but the druggist sat by the stove reading his book. Perhaps his wants were simple and he may have made money enough-deponent sayeth not.
After a while the trolley-car came dipping and grumbling along and I climbed aboard and rode away, leaving the druggist still reading his book.
Some two years afterward I arrived in that town again—this time on a bright June morning. The old store was there, but what was that on the opposite side of the square? The plate-glass windows of a new and up-to-the-minute drug store! Tenfoot soda fountain, silent salesman show-cases, periodical stand, post-card racks, everything necessary to serve the public—these were there. Genial proprietor, too, and two clerks, and trade coming right through the door!
Just what my old friend thought about it I do not know. But he had more time than ever to read his book.