We take pride in our marketing efforts here at Data Age and in turn often get the opportunity to answer our customers' questions about marketing and promotions. Shop owners often want to know how they can go about marketing their business online. We've put together a starter's guide to Social Media Marketing to help you get a leg up when promoting your business online.
(This article originally appeared as "Pawn Connections" in the Fall 2018 issue of National Pawnbrokers magazine)
I remember when Facebook first came to my attention back in 2005. My college classmates were talking about a website where you could “connect” with one another and post messages on each other’s “walls”. Our school had just become eligible to be part of this “social network” and I though hey, why not sign up and see what this is all about. Little did I know that within a decade, this Place for Friends (Facebook’s original tagline) would expand into the realm of marketing and sales, eventually becoming the third most visited website in the world.
These days almost everyone is shopping online, or at the very least doing online research before making a purchase. eCommerce is becoming a part of our national fabric, and retailers need to be ready to roll with the changes. Now you may say, "Wait, I'm not a retailer. I'm in the pawn business." But think about it—I'm sure that you've noticed a shift in the amount of items you're selling in your shop.
According to IBISWorld Reports, 55% of all pawn shop revenue in 2017 was generated from merchandise sales. We've been following the eCommerce trend for years at PawnMaster/Data Age, so this statistic doesn't surprise us. We want our customers to be able to extend their reach as far as possible, and our e-foro integrated listing tool gives them this ability. e-foro is a powerful tool on its own, but you need to have an understanding on how to best prepare your listings for each marketplace in order to maximize your earning potential.
Picture this—it’s Monday morning and you show up at your shop, everything is looking great for the week. You have a monumental event planned and you cannot wait to see the amount of sales and loans the week coming up has in store. You get your shop set up and ready to go, you start to disburse the cash drawers to your employees... and your computer won't unlock. You try logging again and still nothing. You check another computer, it's not working either. This never happens! Nothing is working as it should, something's up. You quickly resort to taking cash payments and sales as everyone works to figure out what the issue is. Then it happens—you get an email on your phone from a strange address telling you that your computer files are locked, and to get them back you must pay $15,000 for the passcode. You have 72 hours to pay the fee or your files are gone.
We're big about giving back here at Data Age/PawnMaster; we hold charity drives on an almost monthly basis, and blood donations every eight weeks. It's important to us to be seen as part of our community, and we love being able to give back in any way we can. When we heard about how one of our customers reached out and gave back within their own community, we were blown away.
I've been in insurance for a long time, and have seen a good number of business owners and their employees sustain injuries—many very minor, some permanently life-altering, and a few unfortunately resulting in death. Most of these injuries could have been prevented, but there are circumstances that are 100% out of the control of any business owner. No matter the end result, the bottom line is that someone has suffered a work-related injury. So as a business owner and the person responsible for coverage in your shop, what's the first step?
The pawn industry is alive and well, full of bright and forward thinking professionals as well as seasoned veterans who have seen it all, or at least know someone who has. Even with that much collective experience, the unexpected can and does happen. For nearly three decades, UL&C (PawnInsurance.com) has been providing comprehensive insurance to pawnbrokers nationwide. Through the years, we have seen a trend of pawnbrokers and their agents attempting to reduce their cost of insurance by not securing enough coverage for their Business Personal Property (furniture, fixtures, and equipment) and Tenant Improvements and Betterments (covering alterations made to the the physical building).
Most, if not all, pawn shop collect and bin their scrap jewelry and eventually send this collection off to a refiner. If you've dealt in scrap jewelry before, there are a couple of words that you've definitely heard when it's time to send your scrap off to your refiner; smelt and assay. Do you know the difference between these techniques and which each accomplishes? Jack Brown of Mid-State Recycling & Refining shared this video with PawnMaster that goes over the two most popular refinement techniques and how Mid-State helps their customers get the most out of their scrap jewelry and metals.
Choosing the correct vendors for your shop can seem like a daunting task, but you shouldn't feel like you're trapped when making your decision. We know that it's a lot to take in, that's why we at PawnMaster put together resources for people in the market to make a switch. When you're entering into a SaaS agreement for the first time, you may have some questions or concerns. That's normal. According to CIO Review, "The best means of protecting yourself is to carefully read and understand the terms of the contracts with your data vendors. Often these provisions can be negotiated--for example, you can require that your data to be anonymized when it's used by the vendor."
If I would have told you ten years ago that Facebook would become the third most visited site in the world and a major player in the world of marketing and eCommerce, you would have looked at me like I had three heads. But that's exactly where we're at in this ever-expanding digital age. More than 2 billion people use Facebook on a daily basis. That's a little more than one fourth of Earth's population. If you don't have a Facebook page for your business, I have to ask; What are you thinking?!