From the June 2006 issue of Entrepreneur

When Mary Cassinelli moved her herbal products shop, Dandelion Botanical Company, to its current Seattle location, she was looking for a way to attract customers. Remembering that the seminars she held at her previous location always resulted in increased sales, she ramped up her "edu-selling" efforts.

"We'll reach more than 200 students this year," says Cassinelli, 38.

Incorporating educational components like seminars, instructional videos, hand-outs and books into your retail shop is a great way to earn customers' trust--and the increased spending that comes with it, says Tom Shay, president of Profits Plus, a retail consulting firm in St. Petersburg, Florida. His tips:

  • Start promoting seminars and classes at least a month in advance. Use in-store signage, postcards and local advertising.
  • Keep customers in the know with demos, samples and tutorials. "If they don't know how to use what you're selling, they're not coming back," says Shay.
  • Get cash from the manufacturer. Shay says manufacturers are often eager to pitch in for programs that promote their products.