Full Descriptions Of Items
( Originally Published 1902 )
When you say anything, you like to say your say complete.
You do not like to be choked off before you have half finished your tale. You would say that was excessively annoying.
When you are listening to or reading a magazine story, a novel, a poem, or even an ad, you like to get the whole detail. If you are in any degree interested in the affair—be it story, poem or ad-a half-told idea is not as satisfying as the complete, well-rounded expression of the whole. Supposing you were reading an ad, and you were interested in men's underwear because you were thinking of investing in some, which of the two following items would suit you the best?
Genuine French Lisle Men's Underwear, regular $1.00 goods, only 50c, a garment.
Men's Underwear of Genuine French Lisle: Shirts have French neck: ribbed bottoms and pearl buttons—drawers have French satine top and the long Otis gusset—regular $1.00 goods, now 50c. a garment.
It is dollars to doughnuts you would say the latter. Why? For the simple reason that it gives you more complete information about the garments in which you were interested. The first paragraph only touches—suggests; it is not satisfactory by any means.
Yet many advertisers prefer to give the first paragraph, so meagre of information, to the second, which is sufficient in detail because: — -
(1) Two or three lines of advertising space is saved. (2) It requires less effort in preparation.
The latter reason is not worth discussing, because if no effort is made to win trade, very little trade is won.
The other reason is penny-wise, pound-foolish policy. If you skimp and manage to save a five dollar bill in the matter of space in your ad, you stand a very excellent chance of losing several times that amount in business in your underwear department.
Items and prices are potent factors in retail advertising the writer has preached that several times before because he has seen and studied the practical operation of the subject in many, many instances—and knows that the items should be complete with all the necessary information.
Let me give a few more illustrations of the difference between complete and incomplete items.
The incomplete kind in Men's Linen Suits:
Men's Linen Suits regular $3.50 grade-only $2.48.
The complete kind in Men's Linen Suits:
Men's Linen Suits of brown mixed diagonal and striped tow—cool and comfortable—usually $3.50 now $2.48.
The incomplete kind in Neckwear;
Men's fashionable ties—were Soc. now 25c.
The complete kind in Neckwear:
Men's fashionable ties comprising pure silk tocks and fourin-hands—latest knots and patterns—some with wide flowing ends; were Soc. each, your choice 25C.
If the reader cares to test the idea here attempted, let him take some popular article and advertise it in the incomplete item way. A few days later he can attempt the other method and the difference in results will forever satisfy him that the only way to handle items is to give full, complete and satisfactory details about what he is trying to sell.