I've seen that behavior, too! It's really odd! Also, people
think that if there's a crowd around, I have to go see what it
is! You could have the Shroud of Turin in your case, and if
nobody was there, you'd have a hard time attracting customers.
When somebody sees that somebody else is interested in, or
buying something, it must be good, and they don't want to miss
It's human nature... I just wish I could get a better handle on
it (like P.T. Barnum had...). I think pricing can be affected
by this, too! Price it too low, and people think it's cheap.
Hike the price, and the perceived value increases, and people
will want it more.
I have spent my 27 years of life almost entirely in and around
the tourist trade, and have made the same observations, along
with a few others. I have incorporated these into, what I call
Scott's Rules of Retail.
Rule #1: People are like ducks. If you want to attract them
you need to already have some there. The best way I have found
to attract people is to do somthing, such as work on a piece of
jewelry. This technique is most effective if what your doing
makes a bit of noise, such as hammering or using a flexshaft.
Rule#2: You need to have merchandise with a variety of prices.
The cheaper things seem to make the more expensive things look
better and more appealing.
Rule #3: While the customer may be as dumb as a rock about what
they are looking at, no one wants to feel stupid. When I show a
piece of jewelry, I always try to tell the customer as much about
it as I can, and what each particuler feature means to them.
This will often answers question that a customer may be to afraid
to ask. Also, it serves to show the customer that you are
knowledgeable about jewelry, and know what you are talking
Rule #4: Don't Hover. Standig over the customer while they are
looking in your display cases makes them feel like you think they
are going to steel somthing. It is much better to back off a few
feet and let them, chances are they will look longer and more
carefully. Also, always greet customers with a good hello as
they come in your store or up to your booth.
Rule #5: If a customer looks at an item, and seems a likely
prospect to buy, give them a card or similer token before they
leave, so that they wont forget where they saw it. Think how many
times you have been at a gem show, and forgot where you saw
somthing, because you did not write down the location.
I guess I have spent way to much time on my soapbox already, and
should get off. All of you have a nice day. Scott