One of the emerging issues pawnshops in the 21st century will confront is the acquisition and retention of motivated hourly employees. Obviously, there are several institutional avenues one can follow such as Craigslist, want ads and/or online services such as Indeed.com. But, what if the answer is internal? What if the solution is to make your store (in my words) an Attractive Pawnshop? Large, publicly traded companies that have a reputation for being a good place to work will always have plenty of candidates readily available and eager to work for them. Examples include Disney, Nordstrom, Southwest Airlines, UPS, The Container Store, and Whole Foods. Don’t forget, most larger companies all started as a single entity before expansion. So, the question is, what does it take to make my shop an Attractive Pawnshop?
What is typically the biggest asset in your store? Outside of your loans, it’s your jewelry inventory – yet very little money, time and effort is typically allocated for displaying your jewelry in the most effective manner. You’ve stocked your pawn shop with unique and fashionable jewelry you hope your customers will love. But stocking your store is only part of the equation. To move inventory, you’ll have to display your jewelry in a way that will catch your customer’s eye and show your jewelry in the best light – both literally and figuratively. You want to create a retail jewelry display that will not only attract customers but will keep them coming back for more.
- E-Commerce. My kids have coined the phrase, “If you’re not online, you’ve flatlined.” to describe how their lives are so interwoven with the Internet and social media. This also describes any pawn shop not utilizing various sales platforms (eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, GunBroker, etc.) or social media such as Facebook and Twitter for marketing. Remember that rising inventory levels are a negative to the bottom line – its cash you already spent that’s now sitting! The most active and successful pawnshops are constantly adding items to the Internet for sale. In the old days when business was slow, my boss would tell me, “Go clean something!” Now, the motto should be “Go post something!”
As I travel across this country touring pawnshops from coast to coast, the most common challenge facing owners is rising inventory levels. Their monthly sales are simply not keeping up with the amount of “pulls”, also known as inventory added through forfeited loans and purchases. The conversation usually begins like this: