What do tourists buy?

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  1. Treasured Pasts profile image73
    Treasured Pastsposted 13 years ago

    As I approach retirement, I plan on a little store close to the beach in Oregon or Washington. I wonder, what do tourists buy when they go in these little tourist traps? What kind of things do you buy as souvenirs?

    Treasured Pasts

    1. prettydarkhorse profile image57
      prettydarkhorseposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      small things like less than ten dollars, things which are unique and they will know came from Oregon, small ballpen holder with Oregon flag on it, shirts with oregon on it, and thranx items, keychain etc

    2. darkside profile image71
      darksideposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      You're going to have to go down there and watch people. Not just see what's in the shops, but see the look on their faces when they find something they like. Also take note of the prices.

      You want to find out the best sellers from the shop keepers themselves? They're not going to be too forthcoming with the information. So grab a microphone, and a friend with a decent sized video camera and do interviews as if you're shooting something for a television program.

      I imagine most would willingly give up some tips that you wouldn't have got in a million years had they thought you were going to be competition.

      You could ask shoppers what they like, why they like it and what wasn't there that they would have willingly bought.

      Hell, you might enjoy the experience so much yourself you decide that shooting mini-docos is your thing and you broadcast them via Youtube and you make hubs to accompany them.

    3. tksensei profile image61
      tksenseiposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Tourists buy any and all crap. That's what's so great about tourists.

    4. dutchman1951 profile image60
      dutchman1951posted 13 years agoin reply to this

      Most have agreed to bring back something for each family member, and friends, People always ask; hey bring me back something?

      so it is t-shirts, key rings with the name of the place or symbols, animals native to the area, etc... cheep enough to give away to non family, or office mates.

      Some spend big money for nice stuff though. Collector stuff also is good. Local Handcraft artists are a good source, get them to con-sign items to you, you take a comission, no overhead.

    5. profile image0
      cosetteposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      anything small that they can put in their luggage to remind them of where they have been. i usually stay away from really kitshcy or tacky stuff though. for example, you see tons of tacky stuff like ceramic saguaro cactuses or scorpions in acrylic paperweights around, which is fine if that is what people want, but i usually buy stuff like little windchimes or suncatchers. the trick is to get things for a diverse group of tourists. good luck...that sounds like fun!

    6. profile image0
      Charlinexposted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Photography books feature local attractions and landscapes.

    7. SO-CAL Girl profile image59
      SO-CAL Girlposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      I know this post if very old. I’m a foodie and flower lover. I always buy a cookbook or memorabilia from places I visit. I’ve visited both Washington and Oregon and have a lovely seafood book about cooking aboard a sailing vessel, one published by a group of townspeople with favorite handed down recipes and one on flowers from Vancouver Island. These bring back memories, will always be admired and never collect dust or be thrown away from lack of interest.

    8. Blacksheep557 profile image59
      Blacksheep557posted 3 years agoin reply to this

      No one I know ever opens a shop, then wonders what they will sell or service they may provide. Do your market research first then put together a full business plan. The old adage is 'What is the easiest way to make a small fortune? first start with a large fortune'.

  2. thranax profile image75
    thranaxposted 13 years ago

    Cheap $5 or less "carp" items. Like keychains, magnets, and other things you would never buy if you lived there.


  3. retellect profile image65
    retellectposted 13 years ago

    Best thing to sell is souvenirs, as long as they have lots of pictures or writing of the place on it. I noticed that "flagged" products seem to sell very well in tourist hot spots. Get merchandise with landmarks and stuff, maybe even a souvenir where you take their picture and put it on something. People love pictures of themselves!

  4. profile image0
    sneakorocksolidposted 13 years ago

    We have boxes of junk! We have in the last 20yrs or so chosen one thing really nice to remember our vacation. Usually a print or a unique piece of pottery. Ok, my son and I usually get strange t-shirts.

  5. Jeffrey Neal profile image70
    Jeffrey Nealposted 13 years ago

    When the wife and I find ourselves in one of these places, we're looking for something, a gift, for someone else, or a Christmas ornament for the tree or refrigerator magnet that reminds us of the place.

  6. profile image0
    Janettaposted 13 years ago

    t shirts!!! you have to get a shirt with the name of the place you visited on it. lol

  7. Treasured Pasts profile image73
    Treasured Pastsposted 13 years ago

    That's helping a lot, keep them coming. Does anyone buy books?

    1. profile image0
      sneakorocksolidposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      One's that tell the history of the area are great!

  8. Treasured Pasts profile image73
    Treasured Pastsposted 13 years ago

    Got the video camera- keep a look out next summer as I cruise the beach!

    1. blue dog profile image60
      blue dogposted 13 years agoin reply to this

      not wanting to be a naysayer, treasured, but do as darkside suggests.  garner as much info as you can, keeping in mind that your competition sees you as just that.  trinkets and t-shirts are a dime a dozen.  even with a truly unique trinket or t-shirt, you'll still be in competition from those selling for ten cents less than you.  it matters not that yours is a cooler t-shirt or a shinier trinket. 

      having done retail, i'm thankful to see that it's in my past. of course, it was a specialty gallery, focusing on a product specific item.  still, there are so many factors beyond your control that will determine your success, or failure.  do some homework. think long and hard about where our economy's at and where it's headed. let me know if you need more suggestions.

  9. profile image0
    Wendi Mposted 13 years ago

    Clothes and shoes...no matter where I go with my family, we always buy clothes and shoes.

    My mother and I just spent all day in Boston (a city filled with history) and we shopped at Copley Plaza for 3 hours!


    Oh, and umbrellas!

  10. profile image0
    sneakorocksolidposted 13 years ago

    Do it yourself clam digging kit! Or sell videos of the engineers that blew up the whale!

  11. drej2522 profile image69
    drej2522posted 13 years ago

    personally, I buy shot glasses wherever I go in order to continue my 'collection'. so, a collector's item perhaps?

  12. profile image0
    lynnechandlerposted 13 years ago

    I look for shops that sell handcrafted items unique to the area like if it is the beach then things made out of shells or driftwood. Mountains I like things made out of natural elements like grapevine wreaths or chimes from the wood in the area.

  13. The Rope profile image61
    The Ropeposted 13 years ago

    Hats, hats and hats.  I live in a beachy tourist area and tee-shirts by far sell the best but they can't be expensive.  On the other hand, every time my family goes on a trip someone always comes home with a new hat because they forgot their old one.  I've also noticed that rocks are becoming a favorite among the souviner seekers who are left at home.  Someone always says bring me back a rock - given the area you are going to be selling in you might want to look for some inexpensive but interesting sources that you can promote.

  14. Treasured Pasts profile image73
    Treasured Pastsposted 13 years ago

    The next question would be to start fresh or buy an established business! I know how to check books and such to see if it is a good business.

  15. lrohner profile image68
    lrohnerposted 13 years ago

    We always buy t-shirts or hoodies. Just kind of a "thing" in my family.

    TP, I don't think the fresh vs established means much outside of financial concerns in a tourist business. Tourists are a revolving door and you're always going to be marketing to a "new" consumer base. In the kind of business you're talking about, it's all going to be about location, location, location. So you're most likely talking about an established business.

    In Vermont and Florida though, I know that a lot of the big-cash touristy stores are located in the podunks, but smack dab on the route between two major tourist spots. Those guys totally rely on signage to get business, but they certainly do get business!

  16. LRobbins profile image47
    LRobbinsposted 13 years ago

    I don't buy the ususual tourist stuff anymore.  I've started buying art from local artists of wherever I am and have also started a folk tale collection from countries I've visited.  I find this much more rewarding than the crap I used to buy.  Good luck with your store!

  17. The Rope profile image61
    The Ropeposted 13 years ago

    TP - with the NW coast the mecca of many writers, why not do both?  Books with a sideline of novelities...Good Luck!

  18. sannyasinman profile image60
    sannyasinmanposted 13 years ago

    Make sure that you stock up on those little domes which cause a snowfall when you shake them. You could put the white house inside. Utterly irresistible to tourists! smile

  19. cmlindblom profile image73
    cmlindblomposted 13 years ago

    My unit and i recently visited petra in the country of jordan and i got caught up buying a camel bone neclace... but i dont think that really helps you. oh yea but clothes like sweatshirts and crazy hats does it for me

  20. sannyasinman profile image60
    sannyasinmanposted 13 years ago

    Make sure you put a sign outside in Japanese.

  21. Beth100 profile image71
    Beth100posted 13 years ago

    Only unique, local items that you cannot find if you left the area.  Hand made pottery, hand dipped candles, tapestry, flours, baked goods, locally made stationary paper, stained glass and even menus from local restaurants (those were for some foody friends).

  22. profile image0
    Jenny-Anneposted 13 years ago

    I agree with LRobbins and Beth100 - locally produced is the way to go - food, crafts etc.

  23. Helen Cater profile image60
    Helen Caterposted 13 years ago

    Whever ever I visit in the world I always buy either a shot glass or a very small glass object to put on my shelf in the kitchen. It reminds me of all the wonderful places I have been fortunate enough to visit. I am running out of space.

  24. Flightkeeper profile image67
    Flightkeeperposted 13 years ago

    I look for nicely designed refrigerator magnets that represent the place.  When I visited Seattle, my cousin gave me a coffee cup shaped magnet with the Seattle skyline and Mt. Rainier in the background.  It was perfect.

  25. profile image50
    chevetteposted 13 years ago

    I love T shirts. I am a young lady that is about to open my tourist shop in Turks & Caicos Islands, It will be located on Grace Bay. It will be called T's Tee N Things. This site was very helpful to me as I did my research. Thank you.

  26. Mama Sez profile image64
    Mama Sezposted 13 years ago

    Usually, small souvenirs like keychain, ballpen, mug, ref magnet, cap and T-shirt...easy to put in the luggage. If the place is known for baked goodies like cookies, I bring home some to share with loved ones and friends.

  27. Fresh_Flower profile image60
    Fresh_Flowerposted 13 years ago

    I try not to buy anything that looks touristic

  28. profile image0
    loriamooreposted 13 years ago

    Me, I'm more of a "take in the sights and experiences" kind of person without buying the touristy stuff . . . but I have friends who think that buying the same thing at every destination is essential.  Here's what they go for:

    N. collets mugs
    A. collects ballcaps
    L. collects shot glasses
    P. collects spoons

  29. profile image50
    chevetteposted 12 years ago

    So, I've opened my shop in Turks and Caicos, I find that tourist like, magnets, T - shirts, small art, shells. Small stuff to fix in travel bag.

  30. Polly C profile image91
    Polly Cposted 12 years ago

    Something smallish, otherwise too bulky to carry home, and also something made in the area (and not imported from China or wherever).

    I like buying local paintings of the place I'm visiting, inexpensive jewellery, I used to buy a lot of handcrafted ornaments but trying to cut down on that now (no space to put them), clothes + shoes.Oh, and fridge magnets. But I like well made, arty things as opposed to cheap and tacky.

  31. travelespresso profile image68
    travelespressoposted 12 years ago

    I was about to post a reply with my tips and noticed the original question was posted 12 mo ago so I wonder if the shop is open now?  What did you decide to stock and is it selling well?

    1. profile image52
      tips145posted 12 years agoin reply to this

      Travelespresso,can You please tell your tips, my father would liek to open a store for tourists,so any information,suggestion would be appreciated.

  32. galapagosvoyagers profile image59
    galapagosvoyagersposted 4 years ago

    Tourists want authentic souvenirs. Nothing made by a machine somewhere else, these should be somewhat useful, nobody wants to hord things and stuff their basement. So hand made and useful, authentic and not always with the name of the city on it.

  33. Shepherd Traveller profile image60
    Shepherd Travellerposted 3 years ago

    Most of the times I but fridge magnets with the picture/ name of the place on it. If you are thinking of seaside shop it will be a good idea to sell simple seashells, decorated sea shells and keychains made out of them.

  34. poppyr profile image95
    poppyrposted 3 years ago

    I usually get local sweets or snacks you can only find there. Fudge in Scotland, yatsuhashi in Kyoto, etc.

  35. naveenkodeganti profile image60
    naveenkodegantiposted 3 years ago

    Most of the tourists used to buy Handmade Ornaments, Locally-Sourced Cooking Ingredients, Artisan Wearable Crafts, Spices and Keychains.


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