Originally Posted by Ekaros
Depends on the fee, for relatively low one, one might go in and pick something up as the already paid part of it and there is no point losing money, so you would have sale for the fee or bit more just then.
Based on my 30+ years of experience in retail . . . no. In fact, I would guess that a low fee would actually piss people off more than a high one. Yeah, some people will pay it, but by and large, nobody is going to just stop in to browse, which means zero impulse sales.
I could see benefit from, say, sponsoring book clubs in the store - a local B&N does that - or signings by authors - Mysterious Galaxy does a lot of that, or other events, to build a sense of community. But a cover charge? No, that will actively drive customers away, not draw them in. Especially in a business where there is generally little interaction between customers and employees outside the cash register. Having people browse, but buy elsewhere, doesn't really cost the store anything, unlike an electronics store where the browsers are tying up an employee asking questions. So a cover charge for browsers is simply abusive. No one will come in to the store because of it, and many will decline to because of it.