First of all, I want to give huge ‘thank you’ hugs to all of you for your kind words and encouragement after I opened up to you last week about a difficult experience.
As you might imagine, I had been a bit fearful before letting that post go public, but you reminded me once more that quilters truly are the sweetest (and smartest!) community of women (with a few cute men too).
Our ‘conversation’ in the comments led me to wonder if we might offer some suggestions to our dear local quilt shops, because it’s obvious that most of us enjoy shopping at the local shops, even if we shop online too.
My first suggestion would be to make sure they have the best in-person customer service and classes around because that’s the one thing they have the chance to do better than the online shops, right? But I’m sure they already know that.
So here’s another idea my local quilt shop owner might not have thought of yet…
Let me buy online and pick up in the store a few hours later!
This is not a new service - I already do it at Target, Lowes, and Panda Express (yum!). Joann’s and Michaels also offer pick-up ordering (but I haven't tried them yet).
I think one of the biggest advantages that LQS’s have is immediacy. When deciding whether to shop online or visit a brick and mortar shop, I have to weigh the benefits of both.
If I shop online, that saves me time finding the right bolt, waiting for it to be cut, searching for matching thread, etc. But then I have to wait days or maybe a week for my order to arrive.
Visiting a shop requires more time to do the things I just mentioned, but then I walk away with my items immediately - bonus!
And then there’s the social anxiety issue which I’m sure you are all tired of hearing me talk about. But really - online shopping wins almost every time when you have social anxiety. I’m just putting it out there.
So here’s the scoop:
What if I could visit my local quilt shop online (in my pajamas), pick out my pattern, the fabric, ask you to find a matching spool of thread and maybe a solid fabric too, and then you email me when it’s ready?
And then when I go to pick up my kids from school (mayyyybe still in my pajamas) I could pop in to you and pick up the order.
Wham, bam, thank you ma’am, we all win!
This would give you lovely experts at the little quilt shop the chance to help me with your amazing knowledge of what will work best (and where everything is in the shop). And it helps me soooo much because I will be able to sew my project that very night!
I realize that there would be some practical details to work out - like setting up a suitable online platform first. But I know from visiting Quilt Market that there are several online shop and inventory management platforms that are fighting for your business. You just have to ask them.
And what if someone orders fabric, you cut it, and then they change their mind? I guess it could happen, even if the customer paid online at the time of the order. What is your usual return policy? What if you add a ‘re-stocking’ fee in case a customer changes their mind about cut fabric? I would be willing to pay that because I understand it would be fair and I think most other customers would too.
Would anyone else like to weigh in on my hybrid online/LQS shopping idea?
Or do you have a different suggestion that you’d like your local quilt shop to hear?
Tell us in the comments - oh and if you are currently wearing pajamas I think you should fess up - I am! ❤️
P.S. On the topic of shopping… don’t miss the 5 Hidden Sewing Supplies you can find at the Thrift Store!