Price tags and supermarkets. How did Frank Woolworth create them?
We are so used to price tags and supermarkets that we can’t imagine modern trade without them. We think it always has been. Reads Yuri Bering No, no, and again no! The name of the inventor of the price tag history, fortunately, retained. His name was Frank Woolworth, a shy country boy who became a multimillionaire. It was he who invented the price tag, the display of goods with free access to it for buyers, discounts on small groups of goods, sales and much more. And shops where his ideas are used, began to be called as supermarkets. Until Frank Woolworth, the price of goods in stores was not indicated. An experienced seller “by eye” determined the solvency of the buyer and on this basis, called the price. The buyer, entering the store, could see the goods only behind the back of the seller, and selecting the goods, asked for the price. If the price did not suit, the buyer either bargained, or simply walked away from the counter, taking with them the money that would remain in the store if … It was the invention of the price tag that put an end to the domination of sellers, turned all world trade. For more than a hundred years, the name Woolworth, which has become a household name, means not a surname, but a certain type of store where not the seller sells to the buyer, but the buyer to himself! Frank Woolworth was born in the village, and until the age of 21 he simply worked on the land with his parents. The garden is a market, the purchase of goods necessary for managing, again a vegetable garden … At 21, he decided that such a life was not for him, and he fled to the small town of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Having no profession, no education, the shy and stuttering young man got a job as a shop assistant in a small shop. The owner always reproached the guy for worthlessness, and Frank only sighed and suffered. He knew that he had nowhere to go … And so, while he was working, he fainted. The owner is just mad! He declared that his patience had run out, and he gives the last chance to such an x … th worker. The test was simple. Frank had to trade one day himself, and, if the proceeds will be less than the usual daily, the owner dismisses him. Stay alone in the store, invite customers, show and praise the goods, bargain, defending every cent. All this, Frank not only did not like, but frankly afraid! That day, Frank came to the store long before the opening. He attached to all the goods for which it was allowed to make a discount, a piece of paper with the lowest possible price (the prototype of the modern price tag). All the stale goods, dumped in the warehouse, he laid out on a huge table, attached to it a sign with the inscription “Everything is five cents.” He set the table near the window so that both the goods and the plate could be seen from the street. He opened a shop. According to Frank himself, “… I slipped into the store and ran behind the counter, shaking from the fear that the unusual” decoration “inside the store would offend the feelings of the customers.” However, the buyers, having seen the sign “Everything is five cents,” were not offended at all. Moreover, all the old goods were sold out in a few hours! The buyers, having seen the price written on the product, did not bargain, but simply pointed their fingers at the goods and gave the money. The store’s revenue in one day did not reach the weekly level a bit! Inspired by the success, Frank left the owner, borrowed money and opened his shop. He gave the debt even faster than he expected. Then a store was opened in the city of Philadelphia, then another, more and more … All the shops of Frank Woolworth were built according to one principle – all goods were lying on the shelves, and the buyer could freely choose, touch and examine any item he liked. And as long as he (the buyer) wanted it. So more than a hundred years ago, the industry of self-service stores was born. The main “trick” of Woolworth’s shops was also a large group of goods for the price of five cents. It is for this that the American press dubbed Frank the “Five-King King.” 1886 – a network of five “five-cent stores”. 1895 – the number of stores grows to twenty-eight. 1900 – they are already fifty nine. Further more! He developed his own strategy, contrary to all the unwritten laws of trade of the time. 1. Placed the goods on the shelves available to the buyer, with the price. 2. Changed the display of goods every two weeks. 3. Arranged sales as soon as I noticed that the demand for goods is falling. 4. Hired unqualified personnel, whose duties included only the control of the availability of a sufficient quantity of goods on the shelves. 5. Customers served one or more cashiers at the exit of the store, where buyers came with already selected products. 6. Concluded direct contracts with producers of goods, refusing the services of intermediaries. 7. Introduced the toughest saving mode on everything. 8. Established a daily reporting mode for faster response to changing market conditions. 9. Constantly improved the methods and forms of sale, was not afraid of bold experiments. In 1900, the company’s turnover was $ 5 million. In 1919, the Woolworth empire consisted of thousands of stores, and Frank’s personal fortune was approximately 65 million.