Today is the first day for the TOSL Hunt, which appears to be one of the best hunts so far this year in terms of quality and quantity of items. I began the hunt this morning, and immediately this topic came to mind for a timely post.
This post’s focus is on what merchants could do to improve the hunt experience, both for themselves and hunters. The follow up post will be about how hunters can contribute to a better hunt experience (both for ourselves and for others).
Merchants: leverage the hunt!
I’m sure many merchants join hunts to increase their visibility on the grid. However…IMO most merchants don’t build on the visibility as a means to drive business and increase their customer base. Or maybe they just don’t know how to do that. Here are a few suggestions on how to further engage hunt participants and use the hunt to drive more business.
- Your group joiner should be very visible, either at what is clearly the “hub” of your store layout, or at the entrance. It never ceases to amaze me how many merchants don’t do this.
- Consider displaying a very appealing group gift next to the group sign as an incentive to join the group.
- If your group is normally fee-based, consider temporarily dropping the fee, and use signage to indicate that promotion.
- If it’s not against hunt rules, how about including a gift card in the hunt prize? You’re giving the hunter an incentive to revisit your store!
And finally…here’s a big one, and one that shocks me when I consider how seldom it’s tried. You’ve got increased traffic into your store, so how about doing something special to tempt those hunters to…you know…buy something?
Most of the time I see this idea implemented, it’s signage for a store-wide sale, or a clearance section of the store, and that’s not bad, but there are other things that could be done. Like putting some very appealing creations on sale for an appealing price near the “hub” of your store layout, or near the entrance. Or, even more radical, make sure there’s some kind of special, appealing promotion near the actual hunt item!
And on the topic of the hunt item and it’s location…
Merchants…don’t frustrate current and potential customers!
Ask yourself why you are participating in the hunt. Is it because you like hunting? Possibly, but I’ll bet most of you also want to increase the visibility of your business and drive sales. Well, frustrating current and potential customers is detrimental to improving sales. Therefore, you need to consider how you can encourage a fun hunting experience and NOT frustrate hunting participants. Here are some suggestions:
- Consider your landing point. There may be reasons why you can’t change your landing point, but if that’s something you can control, your landing point should either be the entrance of your store or the central “hub” of your store. I know some merchants have a ton of land and want to show off their big majestic entrance, but guess what? Tick, tick, time is passing, and the hunter that is new to your store is confused and getting more aggravated by the second.
- Thinking about putting the hunt item on the second, third, or higher floor? Think again. What do you think you’re going to gain by putting it there? I suspect that a lot of hunters abandon the store after going through the first floor.
- You’ve got all these ideas for hard-to-find spots for hunt items. Step back for a second and ask yourself WHY you want to make the item that challenging to find. Yeah, you might get kudos from a few people regarding how clever you are. On the other hand, you’ll frustrate tons of people trying to find that item, and it’s unlikely those people are leaving your store thinking how great it is. Trust me on this, I’ve been there, many times, and my frustration was shared by many others.
- On the subject of hints…there is an art to coming up with a hint that gives most hunters a good clue, without completely giving everything away. Here’s a point where you can be really clever. But don’t make it too obscure or difficult to figure out. Here’s an example I’ll throw out that I used to help a fellow hunter on a recent hunt – “Your camming skills need to be in good SHAPE to find this gift.” Now right away, the other hunter knew that they would need to use the ability to move the camera view (camming) to find something that was hidden. And that it would be hidden somewhere around a shape for sale (this was a skin and shape store). For a general audience, my hint should have avoided the term “camming” because many people wouldn’t have understood it.
And finally, since that hunt prize may be the first item someone tries from your store, make it a good reflection of your creativity and quality, and make it something that is visually appealing. It seems to me that in most hunts, somewhere between 40% to 80% of the prizes are pretty blah (From what I’ve seen of TOSL, that does not seem to be the case). Remember the reasons why you are participating, and don’t blow the opportunity with an unappealing or low quality prize.
Next time…how hunters can improve the hunt experience!