[Musings of a Game Store Owner] The Average Visit to the Shop
I have talked a lot about the business end of things and what it means to operate a shop like mine. I have discussed all manner of things from location and moving, hiring and employees, sales and discounts and many other facets of business operation.
I haven’t really talked about what happens when a customer walks inside my doors. Obviously every visit is different, but there really is an “average” visit to a specialty shop like mine.
So what’s an “average visit”?
|this is a similar type of thing|
An average visit to the store is made by a “regular”- someone who knows what we sell and likes what we offer. A regular usually knows what they want before coming in, and while they enjoy suggestions, doesn’t “need help”. We still offer it, but a regular is usually more interested in wandering or chatting than examining our selection.
|I am still going to offer|
Most visits by regulars (who are not at the store to game) last about 20-30 minutes. Roughly 5 or so minutes are spent actually browsing (most regulars know how our store is laid out, and head to their preferred section to look right away). These 5 minutes are usually peppered with comments or questions from across the store to TheDude, one of our wonderful staff or myself.
A good 10-20 minutes of an average visit is spent chit chatting- either with myself, the staff or TheDude; or other patrons at the store. There is a surprising amount of self incrimination or mock shame bandied about during this chatting. Most of my regulars comment that they are being “bad” and avoiding X or they “abandoned” their family/job/school to come hang out at the store.
I have such a different take on this that I am always surprised and sad when I hear comments like this. Even here, the comments about CrazyLadies and such make me shake my head. I trust my partner to make good decisions about how he spends his time and money, and let him do his thing. It seems to be working -for the most part; now and then he comes home with something like Retron 5 and I just have to wonder what he was thinking.
|Meh, it makes him happy. How can I complain?|
On an average visit, customers don’t buy anything. An average visit by a customer is an escape mechanism and an opportunity to decompress and relax for 10-20 minutes. Regular customers come in, they look around, they mentally decide what to buy “when the time is right” (according to money, circumstances or other deciding factors) and they chat for a while. Then they leave.
|This is the question I have to answer every time a customer comes in the door.|