08 Jan I love your yarn, but can I trust you?
Over the holiday I visited a girlfriend out of town. While there, I dropped into a music store and bought a few things for my daughter who plays violin. On a whim, I asked the owner if he had any 1/2 size violins for sale as my daughter is about ready for an upgrade in size– he DID, I was excited.
He then proceeded down a perilous path of small violations of my trust which ultimately killed a potentially large sale.
Are you doing these kinds of things in your yarn shop?
We are on the cusp of a new era of commerce where TRUST becomes just as important as price, as quality, as availablility and if you are unknowingly compromising that trust with your customers, you’re on the road to peril.
Let me tell you more about his small transgressions and I’ll extrapolate those instances to the yarn shop experience:
In showing me the instrument, the owner of the shop says to me that renting a violin is MUCH better than buying one because I’d “never recoup the investment in an outright purchase.” But when I did the math on his theory, I calculated that his rental would cost me $300 per year. I’d likely have the violin at least two or three. I know I can get a decent instrument between $300-$600, and I know that they can appreciate with time. So I’m not happy with what seems like he’s just steering me to the higher revenue rental option.
My mind registers the first betrayal of trust here….
Little Lies in your shop? Now yarn is a much smaller investment, but sometimes you have a customer contemplating a sweater quantity of wool which can easily become a large sale. When your customers are asking questions about the yarn, the durability, the washability, the best match for a pattern they want…. are you giving the whole and truthful answer?
If the expensive cashmere in the customer’s one hand is not really the best choice for the kitchen washcloth project in their other hand– then you need to do the thing that BUILDS trust here
a) steer them toward a fantastic pattern for the said cashmere
b) steer them toward the fantastic (but less costly) kitchen cotton
*earn their trust here and you’ll likely sell both?
“Bait and switch?”
The second transgression came when the owner says…. “It’s only $18 per month, so just take it home and try it out.” When I get to the register however, the rental agreement says there is an additional $7 for an insurance and maintenance fee–
so really the rental is $25 per month– that’s a difference of $84 per year. I know many of you are doing the same math when you shop and thinking, “well, that’s actually 4 skeins of handpainted sock yarn I could buy instead.”
And you know what? It WASN’T about the violin rental being $25… which I still might have paid…
it was about the fact it felt like he misrepresented the true cost which was another degradation of trust…
Bait and switch in your store? Now bait and switch may be too strong of a term here because a yarn shop owner is not likely doing anything like this— but I have experienced outdated price tags. It’s your job to update prices, or honor the one that is printed. If I pick up 5 balls that are $5.95 and 5 that are marked $5.50 (or anything lower)– what is the right thing to do?
“A matter of interpretation”
So, I’m still not listening to my gut instinct in the store, and begin filling out paperwork to rent this violin and I see at the bottom of the form, “two months free with 1 month paid rental” So, I’m thinking, great– I can see if this instrument is the one I want, and I save a little money! I ask the register clerk about that offer and he tells me, “Oh, yeah, sorry….. we’re not honoring that anymore”
Here registers my third infraction– Um, so why is it screaming at me from your rental agreement??
A matter of interpretation in your shop? I actually witnessed a yarn shop experience like this over the pre-holiday sale season. I was in a yarn shop offering a 20% sale on red and green yarns. My girlfriend picked up a teal skein of yarn– similar to this: