The home page for lululemon athletica, a chain of stores selling technical clothing for yoga, dancing and running, does not show any of its products. Instead it features rotating images of its customers talking about what what inspires them in life.  This type of relationship retailing, rather than hard sellling, is typical of the creative… Read More

Every family has its holiday traditions, and many of ours revolve around working at our store.  Although Katrina doesn’t look very happy at the prospect of being part of the Christmas season at Orange Tree Imports in this photo, as a young adult she’s actually quite nostalgic about all the time she and her brother… Read More

We entered the social networking world of Facebook last week, and I’m slowly watching the number of “fans” of my store increase. I hadn’t really thought about using Facebook or MySpace to reach new customers, but we’ve taken the plunge (thanks to my son Erik, who created the two videos on our page while he… Read More

What I want to know is, why do so many retailers act as if they are in a witness protection program when it comes to showing their face on their store’s web site? We know that successful independent retailing is all about forming personal relationships, so it stands to reason that you need to let… Read More

Three of the top factors in choosing a line of merchandise today may be that old retail adage: location, location, location. The cost of freight is of course one of the considerations in giving preference to a supplier that is not on the other side of the country, but another major advantage of buying from… Read More

"Thousands of jostling, combative women began lining up at 2 a.m. at Sainsbury’s stores one night for the chance to buy £ 5 shopping bags that had been advertised in various fashion magazines and were printed with the words "I am not a plastic bag,"  according to Sarah Lyall, author of The Anglo Files.  It… Read More

Does get your vote as one of the most innovative marketing web sites? That probably depends on whether they are competing with your shop for customer dollars, or allowing you to find new and unusual sources for handmade merchandise — and perhaps even a new way to supplement your store’s sales.  I recently discovered a… Read More

You would never guess that the young Frenchman on the right in this booth at the New York Gift Fair is fluent in Japanese, but then you also wouldn’t guess that the French pastries they are selling are actually made up of washcloths and hand towels. The fabrics are cleverly folded to resemble cakes and… Read More

Picture yourself shopping for a wedding gift at WalMart. A friendly and knowledgable salesperson instantly appears as you are looking at a set of glass bowls, and tells you about the artisan who made them. When you admit that they’d be perfect if only they were blue instead of pink, she offers to special order… Read More

Are your inventory dollars working as hard as you are? Inventory management is more important than ever in these challenging economic times. Few retailers can afford to have their open-to-buy funds, often borrowed at a high interest rate, tied up in idle inventory.   The key to making sure that your inventory is turning regularly is… Read More