I just had two very completely different experiences with two stores. I was on the phone trying to locate two books for my son. The library does not carry this series, so my son wanted to purchase them. I telephoned a large mega store in the area. After being transferred only once, I was able to speak with someone in the book department. I specified which books I needed. He told me that they were out of the first book. I asked if they had the second one. He said that he didn’t see it on their computer at all. I asked if they would be ordering any more of the first book. He said that they would. I asked when I could hope it would be in the store. He said perhaps within the next week.
I then called a national chain book retailer and was connected with a bookseller. I specified which books I was looking for. He said that they did have a few of the first book, but did not have the second one. He then asked me if I wanted to have him order the second book for me. I told him yes, then I asked him how long he could hold the first book for me since the weather is so cold and it is a 30 minute drive to their store. He asked if four days would work for me. I told him it would.
Two different stores, two different scenarios. The first store was not a bad experience, but the second store made life so much easier for me. The clerk informed me how many they had, offered to order more of the second one, then offered to hold the book for me for a time he hoped would work for me. I did not have to ask him more than two questions in the entire process.
My point is this, you know that your customers are in need of something if they call or come into your business. Offer up the options and suggestions that will help them make their buying decisions. The easier you can make it on your customers, the happier they will be.