Nick Ramirez came up with the concept of his novelty store, Things That Glow, virtually overnight after learning of impending layoffs at his former job. Now, 23 years later, that leap of faith is still paying off as the store has become a local favorite. Located in Denver, Colorado, Things That Glow launched with an eclectic array of lighting trinkets such as night lights, lava lamps, black light posters, and has progressed over the years to include clothing, sunglasses, hand fans, tie dye t-shirts, and performance arts items.
After paid advertising attempts rendered ineffective, Things That Glow decided to rely on word of mouth to spread awareness about the business, but then Nick learned about Wish Local.
“I was looking to gain additional foot traffic in the store without having to spend any marketing dollars,” he explained. “Wish Local was the right way to go. It started out a little slow and ramped up very quickly. After we signed up we began getting 50 to 100 packages or more every week which brings in 50 to 100 new customers weekly. The program definitely brought in business and new customers to the store.”
The store logged a 10-15% increase in foot traffic from Wish Local alone. Once the foot traffic increased, the natural next step was to entice shoppers to make unplanned purchases. One of the ways the store has done this is by strategically placing affordable items where customers can see them.
“We have trays of stickers for sale at 50 cents a piece and a Wish customer will poke through them and spend $5,” Nick said. “We also have other little knick knacks to aid in product discovery for this specific demographic.”
Noting that new customers are interested in exploring the store’s offerings, impulse buys have contributed significantly to the store’s profits. According to Nick, 1-in-10 new customers may purchase items over $5 or more. Among repeat customers, 1-in-5 spend $20 to $30 or more and 1-in-20 will buy $50 or more. To date, pickups alone have generated over $5K, with impulse buys accounting for $15 to $20K of additional revenue.
“Everyone’s results may vary. I think we are successful with conversions since we have a lot of novelty items from glow sticks to glow in the dark stars to a soda machine. Customers could even purchase something as simple as a bottle of water,” said Nick. “You have to make the program work for you and not expect it to happen automatically. Impulse buys are huge for the business.”
Other conversion strategies that have worked are the store’s dedication to top-notch customer service and efforts around creating a personalized experience.
“We have a lot of regulars who now use our store for Wish pickups, sometimes up to 3 times a week. We get to know them, and will have the packages ready with their name on them. Customer service will pay off. These customers will give us $1 in the tip jar occasionally,” shared Nick. “We also have a veteran who makes walking sticks using items he buys from Wish. He has a lot of health issues and cannot always make it into the store within the pickup window, so he texts us his bar codes. Sometimes the packages will sit for a little while until he can pick them up, but we are here to help him out as much as we can.”
With the pandemic hit, Things that Glow’s overall sales were down 80-90%, and Nick credits the extra foot traffic from Wish with helping the business stay afloat.
“The volume has been pretty significant from Wish. At one point we had a queue of almost 200 pickups pending in the app,” said Nick. “On top of the in-store conversion, for us to just have an extra $100 per day definitely helped to keep us in business. If we didn’t have that foot traffic, I don’t think we would be open today.”
To learn more about Wish Local and how the program can help your business, click here.