Gift Shop Tips and Tricks

Pukaskwa National Park

Pukaskwa National Park has a very successful gift shop, thanks to some changes made over the past few years. For something a bit different, we asked Jennifer Metherel-Potter, Visitor Experience Product Development Officer, for her top tips on gift shop improvement.

Know your target market

What should you sell in your gift shop? Well, that depends on who visits your gift shop! Product selection can be challenging. It is important to pick merchandise that is right for your customers based on their wants and needs. Knowing your customer market and their life stage will have a large impact on your sales.

For example: Are many of your customers also grandparents? If so, maybe they would purchase a toy to give as a gift. Are they backcountry enthusiasts? Maybe they will forget to bring a flashlight or will be in need of a bear bell.

Looks matter!

Displaying your merchandise in an attractive way entices people to buy, and it helps them to better navigate your store. Your shop should grab the attention of customers – think bright colours and impulse purchases. Gift shop displays should be clean and uncluttered. Your store displays should also have:

  • good lighting
  • full shelves
  • interest sections (example – drinkware, books, clearance, kids, local goods, etc.)
  • visible price tags
  • eye level items

Be knowledgeable

In order to provide accurate information to customers, gift shop staff should be knowledgeable about the merchandise they are selling. Every team member working in the store space should read up on and test out the products. This means playing with the toys, trying on the t-shirts, and tasting the teas. Knowing the products you are selling goes a long way in gaining customer trust and interest in your offerings.

Put your name on it!

Your name is likely one of the things that attracted people to your location in the first place. That’s why you should have personalized merchandise that highlights your site name, location, main attraction, etc.  The trinkets visitors buy often embody the memories made at a special place. Branded merchandise reinforces this emotional connection and provides an opportunity for customers to reminisce (or brag!) about their experience each time they use it.

Show off the local goods!

Showcasing locally made merchandise in your gift shop is a win-win on many levels. Not only does it support your local economy, but it also provides your visitors with an opportunity to purchase unique, one-of-a-kind goods. Local goods enhance authentic experiences and advance regional tourism by introducing customers to the region your site resides in. Purchasing local merchandise can be as easy as offering locally roasted coffee or selling a hometown author’s book – these items are specific to place and are things that you can’t get anywhere else!

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