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Preparing Your Shop To Sell Premium Products

By Maureen O'Connor, Tru Vue® Marketing Manager

One thing we all know is that people like choice when it comes to custom framing. This extends beyond just a selection of colors, textures, and wood versus metal. When it comes to preserving, protecting, and enhancing their pieces, consumers are willing to consider upgraded materials that transform their art and memorabilia into treasures they are proud to hang on their walls. If consumer reactions to glass are any indication, people are accepting of price differences in premium products when they understand what they are getting. If consumer reactions to glass are any indication, people are accepting of price differences in premium products when they understand what they are getting.



During recent consumer focus groups, participants viewed two identically framed pieces, one with Conservation Clear® and the other with Museum Glass®. They then were given the corresponding price difference, which went from $75 up to $150. All agreed that the upgrade to Museum Glass was worth the increase. “I have no problem paying more for that. It’s worth it.” “The quality is worth it. Better color. Better clarity.” “That’s not sticker shock to me.” “I plan on having the picture for 20-plus years.”As a reaction to the economy and its impact on our industry, some custom framers may have fallen out of the rhythm of highlighting premium materials.



Research, like the consumer focus groups and surveys from Unity Marketing, show that people want their custom framers to preserve, protect, and, as a few focus group participants said, turn their treasures into art. Here are four ways to help prepare yourself, your employees, and your shop to sell upgraded materials using the quotes from the consumers in the focus group.



“I have no problem paying more for that. It’s worth it.”


Align costs with value. Premium materials aren’t simply priced higher. Upgrades offer benefits that some customers will be more than willing to pay for once they understand them. Practice explaining what premium materials can do for a piece. The more you say it, the more comfortable you will be in presenting the information to a customer. For more tips, see the accompanying sidebar, Five Tips for Aligning Value and Cost.



“The quality is worth it. Better color. Better clarity.”


Take a look at your display walls. Have you included projects that incorporate premium materials? Samples and point-of-sale displays are helpful in walking customers through choices, but seeing a piece the shop has framed is more impressive and conveys a sense of trust in the customer that the framer is genuine in his or her recommendations. If possible, include multiple framing packages for a single piece to emphasize the difference upgraded features can make.



“That’s not sticker shock to me.”


One of the habits independent store owners get into is discounting, especially those selling large-ticket items or services. According to industry expert Ken Baur of KB Consulting, discounting happens more frequently and is higher than most retailers realize when they aren’t tracking their sales carefully. Per Baur’s research, the average sale is being discounted by 18%. This means that many sales are discounted much more than 18% – far too high if they are looking to turn a profit. Conversely, offering upgrades is an excellent way to strengthen the financial viability of your business. If a customer is interested in premium materials or design features, don’t be quick to jump to discounting to avoid losing the sale.



“I plan on having the picture for 20-plus years.”


When you hear something like this from a customer, it’s a sign they are willing to invest in their piece. Upgraded materials are essential in a situation like this for many reasons. Longevity is relevant for preservation and protection, but also for the possibility that the piece will not always be in the same room or a part of the same decor. It indicates an attachment, so customers will want it to look as good as it can and will likely be open to upgraded design features in addition to conservation-quality materials. Preparing yourself to sell premium materials is a win-win for your business and your customers. You help boost your margins, and your customers receive the kind of attention and expert input they are seeking for their pieces. There is nothing like happy customers to help bring in more business.

This article is intended for educational purposes only and does not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of Tru Vue or its employees. Tru Vue does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.

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