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The Secret Shopper Came Today

Discussion in 'The Grumble' started by Kirstie, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    This morning I gave my staff a quick talk reminding them to offer Museum Glass. We are giving the $75 TruVue prize to the framer who offers Museum Glass to the Secret Shopper. No less than 4 hours later, Herbert, one of my long time, very patient and kind staff members was lucky enough to offer Museum Glass to a woman with a print to frame. As soon as he offered Museum Glass, she whipped out a coupon and said, "You're the winner!"

    Herbert is the second from the right, back row, in the staff photo on our home page. :D We are delighted for him.
    Sponsor Wanted
  2. brian..k

    brian..k MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Ok but did you get the framing order also? I think that they should frame the art. Otherwise the $75 merely pays for the lost time.

    So have you noticed any increase in your MG sales? Also have you noticed any annoyance at being offered such a high end product on just any frame job by your regular clients? Personaly I try to refrain from offering it in situation where it would typicaly seem rediculous to do so. But if there is no downside to offering it I might just do that. I'd love to hear your feedback on how it went.
  3. Susan L. Young

    Susan L. Young CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    ...I can't wait for the Secret Shopper...kind of like when you know Santa's coming soon! I think I'll sell him/her a fillet, two or three stacked mouldings, custom wrapped fabric mat(s), to go with that Museum Glass. Do they buy the whole package? Now THAT would be a motivating factor.

    "Would ya like ta Super Size that, ma'am?"
  4. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Well, considering that the promotion is only 2 days old, I don't know about reaction to offering it. We simply point to the MG/CC split frame we have on the wall--it is about 20 x 16 with a black velveteen mat-- while pricing the order and tell people we'll price it both ways for them. They always want the MG but don't always buy it. I wasn't in the shop, but was told she was quick. Herbert then asked if she still wanted to place the order, but she said no. Good old Herbert, he would try to get the sale!

    I advised my staff this morning not to offer it if the customer starts with "I want something cheap," is looking at ready mades, etc. Evidently first she looked around the gallery, and was asked if she needed help by Herbert. She had one print, went through the usual process, but decided quickly, and the minute he got to Museum Glass, she stopped the sale and gave him the coupon.

    If I had been there I would have talked with her afterwards, but no such luck. They mail the check from TV.

    I guess I won't benefit from my staff offering everyone MG for 3 months!
  5. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Well, if they aren't going to place the order, the heck with them. I carry Museum Glass, I have displays on my design counter and on the wall, and I offer it to my customers. I have an order on my clipboard now that calls for Museum Glass. So Tru-Vue, please just send me the $75 and don't waste my time with a phony shopper. I need real customers, not secret shoppers.
  6. Natalya Murphy

    Natalya Murphy CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2


    You never know, they may come in again.

    From the FAQs site (http://www.ilovemuseumglass.com/framers_promo_faq.php):
    "You are guaranteed to be shopped at least once and can be shopped more."

    Also note: the secret shoppers will not be coming in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We just got a call at the shop yesterday to remind us of this fact. I wonder if that means the shopper will be coming/calling soon...
  7. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Thanks Natalya,

    I'll post this at work tomorrow. After seeing their fellow framer win $75. maybe the staff will continue the momentum.

    I don't mind this promotion at all. I decided a while ago that despite my concerns about Masterpiece, I would continue to sell MG. So I may as well sell more of it.
  8. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    I don't know Paul. How large would a framing order need to be at your shop to generate $75. in pure profit?
  9. Framerguy

    Framerguy PFG, Picture Framing God

    Or a bonus check for Herbert??

    I wouldn't think that you would be that heartless as to make poor Herbie turn over his check to the company!!!:faintthud:
  10. FramerDave

    FramerDave PFG, Picture Framing God

    Oh come on people, honestly. The point of the whole thing isn't to get the job you quote the secret shopper or even get the $75. It's to sell frakkin' Museum Glass and get yourself and your sales people to always offer it. I mean, you can't bloody well sell it if you don't offer it do you?

    How much in extra sales (and profit) do you think you could make between now and February if you offer Museum Glass on nearly every order, and even just 10% of the customers bite? I'd wager more than $75.

    Forest, trees, etc.
  11. eagle55

    eagle55 True Grumbler

    Natalya, you are probably correct in that it could be soon as I was shopped yesterday also. I'm just north of you up I-29. Shopper came in and looked around and plunked down a cheap print on my design counter and asked for my recommendations to frame it. Her only comment when I got to the glass was, "It sure took you a long time to get to the glazing part." She excused herself right after I showed her the museum glass and said she needed to check something in her car. She returned and said "congratulations, I'm a Tru Vue secret shopper and you've won." I offer museum glass to every customer and have seen my sales since January of the higher profit museum glass go up significantly. Not everybody buys but I also almost never sell PC glass.
  12. Candy

    Candy SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I had an order picked up yesterday. Customer had purchased the print from Art.com for less than $30. She framed in in a double frame, a 1" cream inner frame and 3" dark mahogany outer frame and museum glass. We drymounted the print. I wish I had a picture of that piece. It was really a beautiful finish to a cheap print. The customer's first comment was about how wonderful the glass was, you could really see the colors in the print.

    I offer museum glass to every customer. I sell a fair amount of it and save the scraps. The small scraps will sometimes end up on another customer's small piece. I would probably have tossed those small pieces anyway. This way I can introduce someone else to museum glass without it costing me anything.

    Congratulations to Herbert!!!!
  13. Val

    Val PFG, Picture Framing God

    I had a small (7x9) shadow box that the customer picked up yesterday. It was for her father's 100th birthday, a 2007 proof Walking Liberty Silver dollar and it's beautiful dark blue velvet case. I decided to use museum glass (she wasn't expecting it) because I had kept scraps. Unfortunately, the glass wasn't very carefully handled before it got wrapped up and I had a heckuva time getting it clean and cutting around the scratches. I nearly gave up after the fourth try with a new piece, but I'm so glad I'm stubborn and kept at it, because it really was a stunning little piece. She commented on "How will it stay clean without the gl...oh! There is glass!!"

    Then she said she has several things to frame and wants "that glass" for them. I finally ordered a couple boxes of the smaller sizes, and need to start recommending it in cases like that. I've been pretty hesitant in the past, but learning to handle it properly is the key to my liking it better. I have the tassle display on the counter, and it gets attention, but I haven't really pursued it....The Liberty Lady has changed my mind.
  14. Bob Carter

    Bob Carter SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Hey Dave-It really is a phenomenally smart plan by TV

    Can you imagine,for the promise of a potential $75, they could raise the awareness of the selling portion of the industry exponentially?

    I think it is brilliant

    Cornel, you ought to do the same thing
  15. TGFU

    TGFU CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Kirstie, What kind of print did they bring in? Something of little value? Not that it really matters....just curious.

    Also, according to their flier, it looks like they could either visit or call. I hope they don't call, as we try not to give quotes out over the phone.
  16. brian..k

    brian..k MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I can see it now. American Choice being offered at every sale. (client)"Oh my but isn't that frame lovely! I've never seen a frame so wonderful in my whole life!" (you)" Yes ma'am it surely is. That will be $1000 dollars to frame your sons diploma." (client)"What a deal. I'll tell all my friends about your frames." ;)

    Though Cornel makes an outstandingly, fantasticaly, beautiful line of frames, they definitely don't fit all orders. Ya never know though.
  17. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Of course not! Yes, the point is to sell MG, but the staff get to have a little fun as well.
  18. Mrs.B

    Mrs.B CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I sat in on a class of Meg Peters' at Gemini Moulding a couple of weeks ago. We talked about offering MG to your customers. I have never really sold much MG because I assumed the customer wouldn't pay for it. One of my first customers on Monday following the class was 5 small watercolors she bought on a tour of Europe. I point to the glass display and ask her what glass she wants. She says the one in the middle (MG) so I write it all up and she doen't blink an eye! Blew me away! Before I probably would have just written the order with Con Clear and not even asked. Hope the Secret Shopper comes to my shop. I'm ready!
  19. 2400

    2400 CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2


    I kinda wished that instead of stupid marketing tricks TruVue made sure that their Reflection Control (not the CRC) glass had no factory made scratches. Hello...
  20. Elaine

    Elaine SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    just like at MickeyD's...

    I offer all glass options on each order and explain each one and let the customer choose. Without seeming like a sleazy salesperson, you should always try to upsell something. When I was in highschool and worked at MickeyD's, we were graded on our ability to upsell - I'm sure you have heard... would you like dessert with that?? would you like fries with that??? As counter salespeople, it affected our reviews and ultimately our paychecks.

    I had a customer today that backed off a little on her frame so she could have the Museum glass - still ended up to be almost a $500 order.

    Sell, sell, sell!!

    my 2 cents!

  21. susang

    susang SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    Yahoo, I won!!! I got my $75 coupon today! It was the ugliest print on earth, but I figured what the heck, all she could do was say no! I had some great samples on the wall and showed her my point of purchase display.

    I do some mystery shopping on the side, so I was aware of the campaign, but honestly I was so excited to have a new lovely customer that I forgot myself in the sale.

    While I was helping the shopper, Hank the Crescent rep came in, so I know that he was amused by the scenerio.

    Back to work!

    Susan :)
  22. Cretin75

    Cretin75 CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Wonder if they'll come to us. I could certainly use an extra $75. I offer Musuem glass each and everytime. The only thing the big cheeses give me is a pin to put on my apron... woo hoo. :icon11:
  23. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    They are welcome to come here, too. I just sold something with museum glass -- framing a mardi gras mask. And the frame has to be openable by the customer, so she can remove the mask if she wants to get decked out for a party.

    Yikes, what have I gotten myself into????
  24. karlokerz

    karlokerz Grumbler

    This is a dialog I've been meaning to bring up, but am fearful of the response.

    In the last few years, I've noticed many shops phasing out regular, plain old glass. I know its all about the bottom line, but MG is not always appropriate, nor is Cons Clear for that matter (which at many shops has become the low-end standard). If someone brings me an original pastel (nearly pure pigment) I'm not going to try and tell them its going to fade if they dont throw down another fifty bucks for fancy glass. I feel I've done a good job of educating my clients to know when they're getting ripped off, and thats why they come to me. I'm not saying fancy glass is a ripoff, but I'm not going to try to sell super-sized fries to someone who just came for a salad.

  25. EllenAtHowards

    EllenAtHowards PFG, Picture Framing God

    Well, actually, Karlokerz, some pigments ARE sensitive to light, but that is neither here nor there. One should sell what is best for the art, of course, and the customer has the final decision, of course, HOWEVER...

    Let us look at an original Star Wars poster. Or an original Beatles poster. Or a feed store calendar from 1935. Or a copy of the local newspaper from 1863. None were particularly valuable at the time... just throwaways, in fact...

    But today? I know that a customer just spent $2000 to frame the newspaper (here in my shop). And the others surely would get paper-and-paste hinging and ConClr glass.

    But we don't know today what is going to be collectible, and it is my belief that it is my job to preserve as much as possible whatever anyone is willing to spend a couple hundred bucks to frame.

    And if truth were told, I am amazed that ANYONE spends more than $100 to frame ANYTHING. But thank goodness not everyone is as cheap as I am!
  26. smitten

    smitten CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    we had the visit on tuesday and Tim our primary salesperson won it too. We are all trying to get him to buy lunch.
  27. Susan L. Young

    Susan L. Young CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    As a conservation-minded framer I do have concerns when I hear a framer say that they've "done a good job of educating my clients to know when they're getting ripped off."

    UV protection for artwork, for mats, for the paper upon which artwork resides, anything exposed to light is critical.

    While I would never resort to scare tactics in selling uv glass (whether it is conservation clear or museum), I would also never, ever indicate that these products are rip offs. Doing so undermines our entire industry and the service we provide, in my opinion.

    Do I sell regular glass? Of course I do. Do I recommend it and say that the others are rip offs? No.

    All of us are of course concerned about our 'bottom line.' We are retailers, after all.

    Many of us out here are also very conservation-minded professionals who do the very best job we can to protect what is brought to us to be framed.

    Our collective job, as an industry, is to educate ourselves and then educate our clients.
  28. Cretin75

    Cretin75 CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    AMEN!!! Ain't that the truth hahahaha. I'm "frugal" too. :beer:
  29. stud d

    stud d SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I find it od that some people are bashing Tru Vue over this. The point they are trying to make is easy...museum glass can be offered on everything. And they have made a buzz about it. So therfor it is a success. They are making us think of them. Now if you tend to put it out there a few extra times in hopes of getting $75 you migh actually get a normal customer to switch. Then you can forget about $75 you might make a couple hundred dollars.

    It is all about trying, not thinking regular glass and papermats. It is putting your best foot forward and seeing what really happens. If an honest effort is put forth you will see an increase in sales.

    Now where else could this be applied...8ply mats, fillets, stacked frames, beveld accents, fabric mats, hanging services, french mats, finished corner frames....the list goes on. So now what are you going to try to increase your sales on by offering it more?

  30. FrameMakers

    FrameMakers PFG, Picture Framing God

    My question is if you don't offer MG on the sale, isn't TV wasting you or your staffs design time as they are surely not going to place a job. I personaly don't like dealing with MG. The amount of flaws in the product are way to high for my taste. Yes, I do have the sample shadow box on the design counter, but when we give the price comparison 99 out of 100 go for the conservation clear.
  31. Susan L. Young

    Susan L. Young CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I LOVE how Museum Glass makes my framed packages look. I sell it on a regular basis.

    Well said, Patrick.
  32. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Don't be fearful of the response. I would certainly hope that no hostile Grumbler's are out there to pounce just because you bring up a topic for discussion!

    I would offer that unless you offer as your first option at least CC glass you are actually doing a dis-service to your customers.

    I always talk about the three primary characteristics of picture glazing.

    1.) The amount of UV protection.

    2.) The amount of reflection.

    3.) The amount of visible light transmission.

    This is a very short presentation that most customers are happy to listen to and I give it in front of the Tru Vue tassel display.

    Part of our responsibility, as I see it, is to educate our customers to how best preserve their treasures ...and believe me they are treasures or they wouldn't be in our shops.

    After relevant information is presented it is up to the customer to decide what services and level of preservation they desire for their work.
  33. hangupsgallery

    hangupsgallery MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Sorry Kirstie, the point is not to sell museum glass to every customer. The point is to sell the best materials appropriate for the piece being framed.

    It's like every order you place at McDonalds, they ask "Do you want a Hot Apple Pie? NO, I DON'T WANT A HOT APPLE PIE, IT'S LUNCH TIME! (Sorry about the scream)

    I don't want my customers to think that I'm trying to squeeze the last drop of blood out of the turnip. It's the same feeling you get when salespeople are on commission. They've got their own wellfare in mind, not the customers.

    We sell a fair amount of Museum Glass, I guess what rubs me the wrong way is the "secret shopper" concept. Who designated TV to glass police?
  34. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    You make an important point about upselling, Elaine. Like you, I do it quite often, but it's not about increasing the price of the order. It's all about sending better framing home with a customer who will appreciate it for a long time.

    When my customer buys better framing I benefit, too, but the most important order from every customer is the next one. I would never recommend upselling just for the money of it because, as you said, that would be sleazy. We have a much higher purpose than that.

    Your McDonald's training has served you well, in teaching you that customers really do respond to the suggestion of buying something more. However, selling framing is not much like selling food. That lunch will be history in about 10 hours, but framing may last a lifetime.

    Also, supersizing a McDonald's meal probably isn't good for anyone, but helping a customer buy better framing nearly always has favorable results for everyone involved. Chances are they will forget all about the added price within a few weeks after they pay the VISA bill. Sure, we get more money, but our customers get to enjoy their better framing every time they look at it.
  35. ERIC

    ERIC SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    "I don't want my customers to think that I'm trying to squeeze the last drop of blood out of the turnip. It's the same feeling you get when salespeople are on commission. They've got their own wellfare in mind, not the customers."


    Don't underestimate your customers. Better yet, don't underestimate yourself!

    I have found that once you have educated the customer about your glass "MENU", they will come in the next time already having decided on which glass they want - astoundingly wanting M/G about 1/2 the time. Often being inspired to dig for a print from the closet just to get "that special glass" put on it. They come in hungry for the fries, pie, and super-sized order.

    Once your have that type of paradigm shift in your experience, you will never come across to the customer as a commission hungry, robotic up-selling, self-serving clerk.
  36. brian..k

    brian..k MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I doubt that anyone is actualy saying to their client "would you like museum glass on that ma'am?" Most would ask what type of glazing the client would like and explain the options. Point to the display and show the diferent types. Most clients are blown away first by the fact that, yes there is glass in the middle there, and second by the cost of the product. Most love the look and some don't mind the cost. That is an upsell without using a "used car salesman tactic" that many are suggesting. Offering a quality product isn't upselling.
  37. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    Warning: Picture might be bad for dial-up..

    I noticed that since I framed this picture and put it on my design table, people have been asking more for Mus. Glass (and fillets) and touching the glass.....

    PS: Color is not really that pink, but you know, visualization program....

  38. PaulSF

    PaulSF PFG, Picture Framing God

    Hah, sold another one with museum glass, to go with that 1.5 inch handwrapped fabric mat. Only took an hour and a half for the customer to make up her mind, too. After all that time, I think I deserved the upsell.
  39. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    It's hard to sell what you don't show.

    How many Shelbys would a car dealer sell if there wasn't one in the showroom for people to drool over?
  40. Cretin75

    Cretin75 CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Not true. The new Cobra Shelby is a hit. And many MANY people ordered it.. site unseen and with the dealerships adding their own cost on top of it [/grumble] I'm a Mustang fan {and owner)... and us fans can get a lil crazy about our cars.

    With Museum glass, yes, it is hard to sell if you don't show it. I show it to each and every person that's at my counter. Even the cheap Scarface posters. You never know what they have at home and next time they'll bring in that great piece and they want that Museum glass I showed them.
  41. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Congratulations to Tim! This is the best way to handle this promotion--give the prize to the staff person who wints the coupon.
  42. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

  43. Cretin75

    Cretin75 CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Lots of us that work at the BB's, we can tell ya that we don't even have regular glass to sell, unless you purchase the ready mades. When I was at Michaels (left 2 years ago), we finally got rid of all the non UV glass. Why take the chance.
  44. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Dave, I plan to schedule a staff sales meeting soon. Care to elaborate? I can always use fresh material! And. of course:smiley:, always willing to share.
  45. Maryann

    Maryann SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I believe you had to sign up for the Mystery Shopper Program so if you didn't sign up, TV won't be wasting your time.

    I probably should have signed up, it sounds like an easy $75 but I don't like the games....I would rather see the price lowered a bit.
  46. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    It is important to make it perfectly clear to customers that there is no perfect protection against light damage, other than to keep it in the dark.

    UV-filtering is effective only in a specific frequency range, but all light is damaging. Light damage is cumulative and irreversible, depending on the intensity of light and the amount of time exposed.

    Sunlight is the most damaging light, by far. Artificial lighting sources may typically produce 100 foot-candles on an office desk or work table. But on a sunny day, sunlight may produce 6,000 to 10,000 foot-candles on the sidewalk. So, even sunlight through windows may be many times more intense than artificial light.

    In other words, there is no way to completely stop light damage. And when any light-sensitive thing is exposed to sunlight for most of the day, light damage should be expected to happen, no matter what precautions are taken.
  47. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Kirstie, I'm not sure how much there is to elaborate on. I usually address the glazing choice at the end of the design process asking where the art will reside and what type of window configuration is in the room and the lighting.

    Standing in front of the Tru Vue tassel displays I note the three primary characteristics of picture frame glazing. I tell them my everyday glass is UV clear which filters out about 97% of the harmful UV. However if the work will hang in an area where there are windows directly behind or at an angle that would cause reflections from the angle the art would be view from ...then they may want to consider Museum Glass. Museum Glass has slightly better UV protection (98%), much better reflection control (there really is glass there?) and extremely high visible light transmission.

    I do say that Museum Glass is not that much more expensive on a smaller piece and tell them I'll quote it both ways. Generally, depending on the frame package design, MG adds about a 20% difference to the total price.

    I point out that with what they are committing already to this piece they should consider spending a little more because the presentation will be well worth the difference. They generally go for it.

    If it is a larger piece the upgrade in glazing usually is significantly more and it is a little harder sell. I still quote it both ways.

    If it is a shadowbox I almost insist that they go MG and tell them they won't be sorry. If it is fabric wrapping I also push them toward the MG because it generally adds only a small percentage to the total cost and the textures of the fabric are incredibly better.

    MG sales are close to a third of my sales by volume and over half my sales in dollars.

    I do a free upgrade on small pieces ...5X7ish or so ...using up scraps and getting customers hooked on the superior qualities of MG.

    If your people don't believe it is worth the extra expense for MG then they won't sell it. They have to embrace it's qualities and see its value instead of focusing on its cost.
  48. Jim Miller

    Jim Miller SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Those proportions apply to glass products and not total sales, right? That's an impressive result from offering to upgrade just one framing feature, Dave. Your numbers for MG seem to be about the same as mine.

    So true, Dave. Declining to offer Museum Glass on the assumption that customers won't buy it is like declining to offer better mouldings, multiple mats, wider margins, and other frame-design enhancements. Why would any framer miss an opportunity like that?

    Customers often prefer to buy better framing, if we would only offer them the options. Whether they choose to buy the enhancements we offer or not, we least get to help them make informed decisions.
  49. JFeig

    JFeig SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Well said Dave & Jim

    There has always been the adage in retailing........ "it is easier to sell down then sell up"

    If you sell or show the best, it is in the court of the customer to say it is too much...... they you can show something more economical to their needs.....
    If you start at the budget frame job, you will never(or almost never) be able to move to a much higher price tag item.

    You have to forget about your own "preconceived" prejudices about costs and or styles and let the customer make a decision.
  50. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    Well said Dave, Jim and Jerry.

    It doesn't hurt to show the "good' stuff first and then the less expensive stuff if they're hesitating based on price.

    I noticed that once they see the good stuff, they end going for it after looking at both products.

    Happened this morning with a 12 kt white gold frame, and a white gold imitation frame......:)
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