I don’t read Playboy, but I found myself standing in front of this display in the airport wondering if I should try a copy.  Why? Because it would only have cost me 60¢.  Someone at Playboy (perhaps Hugh Hefner himself) had decided that 60¢ was my threshold for buying something I really didn’t want or… Read More

How do you know when an idea has run its course? Whether you are looking at your store’s basic concept, a major line or category, or even an individual item — it is valuable to know when it is time (to really mix my piscine metaphors) to cut bait.  Jumping the shark, or continuing beyond… Read More

American Express has chosen Shop Small as the theme for November 26, this year’s Small Business Saturday. Last year’s premiere event, held on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, was a huge success.  Over 1 million people “joined the movement”, largely through American Express’s use of social media such as Facebook.  And better yet, participating stores… Read More

Walking down a shopping street in Scandinavia, you immediately get a sense of what is in each shop — because a sampling of merchandise is often displayed outside on carts and racks in front of the store.  This proved to also be true at Milwaukee’s Discovery World, where a display of green and blue snakes… Read More

I’m not above “borrowing” a good idea from a mass merchandiser, and here is one that I just saw in Target. Instead of offering $5 off on an item, the store offered a $5 Target gift card — with the idea, I’m sure, that I would come back soon to spend it.  A local appliance… Read More

The most impersonal shopping experience in America may well be the dollar store, where there is no need to even ask the price of any item. And yet there is a “dollar store” in Copenhagen called Søstrene Grene where customers are made to feel like the owners are old friends — even though the persona… Read More

We’ve just come back from two weeks of traveling, which made me think about why tourists make such great customers:  they are relaxed about spending money, they’re excited about seeing things for the first time, and they consider shopping to be part of the travel experience.  Are you doing all you  can to capture this… Read More

If you feature products on your website, you know that it can take a lot of time to keep the photos and information current. The Bridge is an innovative approach to solving this problem for retailers, connecting brands, shopkeepers and customers online by “stocking your website” with images and information.  It is currently only active… Read More

Maybe retailers should add “mind reader” to their job descriptions, because we often have to try to figure out what our customers are thinking without them verbalizing their thoughts. Of course it helps to engage them in small talk rather than starting with “May I help you” — which invariably leads to the conversation-stopping “No,… Read More

How hard is it for customers to find your business — and contact information such as your phone number, your e-mail address, your web site, and your phone number?  Taking a few minutes to try to find this information as if you were a stranger could be very enlightening.   With so much competition in today’s… Read More