Monday, 17 October 2011

Marked cards

Every time I sell something - from a piece of dinosaur bone for 25p to a dinosaur egg at £640 - I write out a little label with the information to go with it. I don't know how many I've written in 13 years I've been here but it's likely to be in the gazillions. I'll bet I've written 'million years old' more than 99% of people in the world. Probably there's no award of any kind I can get for that. No world record. Never mind.

The labels are important though. For a number of reasons. Firstly it means something to me that people leave with a little bit of knowledge about what they've bought. Even if they aren't particularly interested after a couple of days, the name and locality will be there for them should they ever choose to look. Or if they want to impress their friends with the age of their meteorite or whatever.

Secondly, hand-writing the labels is a small but effective act of customer service. Almost everyone is pleased to have the details written down - sometimes they've already been jotting it down on a scrap of paper as they browse, or taken a picture of the label on their phone. The fact they're hand-written at the time of purchase, rather than pre-printed is also helpful, I think. It suits the unique nature of the fossils and minerals themselves, and reinforces the idea that these aren't mass-marketed, manufactured products, but something a little bit special. We're a small business and don't spend a great deal on advertising. Word of mouth is our most efficient method of getting known, so treating the customer well is essential. I want people to remember the shop for the right reasons.

Which leads me to the last role of the labels - they act as a form of background advertising in themselves. There are a ton of little orange cards out there, each with Mr Wood's Fossils written on them. And the address. And phone number. Anyone curious about the fossil can pick up the card to see what it is. They can also see exactly where it came from and how they might go about getting one of their own, should they feel inclined. So while it can be a pain to write out the tags for a pile of thirty mixed tumblestones... it's usually worth it.


turningstones said...

Soon your label to get into the label archive for future curators to research.

Matt Dale said...

Thank you -I'll look into that.