If you are a large thrift store (I’m talking to you, Unique Thrift at various locations in Chicago) and want more people to come in and spend, spend, spend, here’s an old idea that you may want to dust off.
Instead of having several checkout registers, each with their own long pokey line, consider this. One line. Yes, you read correctly, ONE line. Just like at the bank. When a register is ready for a customer, signal with a bell or light. Are you afraid your one long line will snake all the way from your store to Slovakia? Don’t flatter yourself. It will move twice as fast. Your customers will be so jazzed at the innovation they will tell their nouveau poore friends (the way the economy is going we’ll all be shopping at your store in a few months) and your establishment will profit over time.
One more way to get customers in is to offer a discount (the percentage could be small but enough to make customers notice the savings, say 5 - 10%) for shoppers who bring their own bags. Again, this is nothing new. Aldi has been doing it for years, only they employ the stick rather than the carrot. If you want to put your purchases in a bag, either bring it or buy it.
Speaking of grocery stores, here's how they can clean up. (Jewel and Dominick's, I'm talking to you.) Know those lines that are supposedly for 10 items or less, 15 items or less, etc? Any time a customer slithers into line with more than the allotted number of items, charge a dollar for each purchase over the magic number. So you'll lose a couple clients, boo hoo. Other customers who see that you have grown a spine and are enforcing your own rules will be so jazzed they tell all their friends, and voila! your store will be packed with customers: ones who don't waste others' time. These are the kinds of shoppers who have their credit card or cash out before the register spits out the final price, and you want to keep them.
One last rant. A certain Chicago grocery chain has instructed their cashiers to address their customers by name at the checkout counter. What are they thinking??? Don't they know this is an ethnic city??? Here's a test for the management that came up with this brilliant strategy. Pronounce the following names:
If you can rattle these common names off, then by all means, require your staff to do it too. Otherwise, trust us: we appreciate your staff's courtesy and attentiveness without having them mangle our surnames. Hats off!