Art Supplies Retailer Competes on Service, Choice – and Smart Credit Card Processing
In a budget-conscious university market, this artist-retailer keeps her costs low and product selection just right for students and professionals.
Peggy Gomez opened the doors to Gomez Art Supply in 2003, situating the enterprise near her alma mater, the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska. In the years since she’s learned a lot about capturing and keeping customers who are mostly artists and architects, professionals and students alike, by selling brushes, paper, wet media, dry media, adhesives, photo supplies and printmaking materials.
An artist herself – she received the 2010 Alumni Achievement in Art award from the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts at UNL – Gomez also has the business savvy to succeed in a competitive environment. This includes knowing how to stock student-grade and professional-grade products in every category, and how to manage merchant services-related costs that help her keep pricing competitive.
Accepting plastic payments is non-negotiable. “Credit card processing is a necessary evil,” she says, pointing out that 90% of her customers pay by credit or debit cards for purchases that average about $35 each but range from 20-cents to $200. “I have to accept credit cards and I have to have a processor, so Payment Depot is a choice I am happy with. When I switched to Payment Depot I was unhappy with my last processor, which is why I have switched every time.” Gomez had tried working with five different processors prior to Payment Depot.
“I like that there is no [long-term] contract with Payment Depot,” she adds. “The fees and processing rates are the best I have found.”
Those fees matter to bricks-and-mortar retailers like Gomez. “Our biggest competitor is online,” she says. “A small bricks-and-mortar business like mine cannot compete pricewise.” She mentions that some retailers use price-promotion tactics that are possible only through discounts and couponing, when in fact they typically set prices up to 40% over MSRP to make up the difference.
Instead, she provides the advice and service levels only an artist might be able to offer – and by managing her cost structure at the back of the house through such things as a smarter merchant account. “Payment Depot has saved me money,” she points out.
Perhaps the subjects of her own art – bicycles, airplanes and the occasional submarine – say something about what Peggy Gomez wants to do. We asked, “Is it all about going places?”
“Of course,” she replied.