My letter to Michael’s craft store

October 24, 2009 at 3:04 pm | Posted in tech | Leave a comment

Went shopping for a some DIY gear at the San Rafael Michael’s store this morning.   Here’s what I sent them when I returned home.

“Recently, I had an interesting – not bad- experience in your San Rafael store.  Armed with a 40% off coupon I asked two salespeople “what should I buy” with this great deal.  They didn’t have any ideas.  More interestingly, they didn’t ask “what do you do?”

Which leads me to the conversation that I had with another customer.  Another guy.  I flashed him the coupon and asked the same question.  Our minds went to Dremel tools (no), Leatherman Tools (no) and a variety of other DIY gear that would be a great fit for Michael’s.  Not available.  We agreed that Michael’s is in a position to reevaluate WHO their customer is and, frankly, not worry about gender products.  Given that Radio Shack is abandoning the home DIY’er while DIY is on the rise (see http://www.makezine.com/) even in these tough times you have a real opportunity to increase your business while not losing sight of your core customer.  I’ll save you the consultant’s fee and give you direction: remove your limited toy section (why compete against Toys R Us?) and fill that space with soldering gear, basic robotics stuff, and align yourself with Make Magazine.  If it sells then expand. If it doesn’t then bring back Thomas the Tank Engine.

Imagine families, hipsters, and grandmas all shopping happily at your store, finding the gear and guidance that they will never get at a large hardware store.  Imagine your class schedule expanding to cover not just traditional crafts but basic soldering, using the Lilypad Arduino (http://tinyurl.com/yj4663h) or entry level model rockets.

Your have my number.  Good luck.”

I’ll post their response.

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