Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Smart marketing at Merchant Square

Photos from Pore Ol' John's collection at Merchant Square in Chandler, AZ

I've noticed a new trend among antique malls, a good example of which is at the website of Merchant Square in Chandler, AZ, which is apparently housed in an old schoolhouse. What a great use of old public buildings, turning them into antique malls!
Merchant Square not only has its own website, and some of their dealers have attached their own blogs to the site, such as Pore Ol' John, who specializes in toy trains and train memorabilia. Six individuals at Merchant Square so far have tackled the challenge of putting up their own blogs, most going for a simple display of photos which gets the idea of their specialties across with minimal effort. Merchant Square encourages them by featuring a specific site now and then.
Nice kitchen dresser shot, brightly lighted

Another good idea: their website makes navigating through this huge store easier by posting a map on their Tour page. It's a work in progress: eventually those dealers who participate will have their segment of the map green and a rollover will take you to a photo of their display.

We have a saying here at Cochran's, that "Organizing antique dealers is like herding cats." But if only a few get involved by making the effort to take pictures and set up their own blogs, everybody benefits. Best of all, blogging is free!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Online window-shopping...Don't you love it?

New to the antiques blogosphere is the blog posted by the owners of Glory Days Antique Mall in Springfield, OR. The current post covers four popular TV series dealing with the search for and valuation of antiques. And I thought Antiques Roadshow was the only one.

The blog will be an occasional endeavor for these busy ladies, but when they upload new posts, their name will go to the top of the Cochran's blogroll at right.

Glory Days' website has a huge photo gallery, with each enlargeable shot identified with the dealer's name and space number so if you're in Springfield you can stop in at the store at 143 N. 21st St. and immediately head for the items you're most interested in. Or call the store and ask about specific merchandise. A very intelligent approach to informative marketing — online window shopping.

Here's just one of the 100 photos in the gallery, just to whet your appetite. Somebody's been busy with a camera!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Back to the Future

Bliss has asked me to be "guest blogger" today as she grinds out designs for the free webpages we offer to our customers. We're trying to keep up.

There's a couple new things to announce now that we've started contacting people about the new edition for 2011... We can now take PayPal payments for advertising in the book.

Simply grab your invoice and click on the ADVERTISING button above, click to skip the movie
(soon to be replaced with something else), and you'll be presented with a button to our PayPal page. Once there, enter your account number and click the familiar PayPal "Buy Now" button. You'll be whisked away to PayPal's website where you can enter the amount you want to pay toward your ad account. We understand that a lot of dealers use eBay to acquire items for their stores, so perhaps this won't be too mysterious for many of you. We hope you'll use this feature as a convenient way to keep your account current with us.

Also, you may noticed the new round button in upper left of the screen. We are currently providing a pdf version of the Guide as a free eBook download. PDFs, we are told, work on all computer platforms and eBook readers. Why would we do this? There's a few good reasons:
  • It saves us postage and labor, not having to send out individual copies, and
  • It enables travelers from other states and countries to get a full copy of the Guide before they leave home, and
  • It gives us a chance to correct mistakes (who, us?) and update information as it comes in, and
  • It makes the Guide searchable. If you're looking for something specific, the PDF eBook can find it in a jiffy.

If the downloads and bandwidth expenses start to get onerous, we may need to charge a small fee for the download. But for now, we'll see how it goes as a free offer. We want to get as many copies of the Guide out there as we can, and this is another way to do it. As always, feel free to contact us with suggestions and comments.
Jim Cochran