The ipsy subscription box program now has over a million young women waiting by the mailbox every month for a Glam Bag of cosmetic samples, each chosen by a beauty expert to match their skin, eye and hair color.  Companies submit hundreds of products each month in the hopes of getting these “try before you… Read More

When the gift show at the Chicago Merchandise Mart folded, I took the loss hard. For almost 40 years our semiannual trip to “the Mart” had played an important part in our buying — and I’d been a speaker at the shows there for over a decade.  I loved the fact that this historical building… Read More

The sign on the public restrooms at Antigone Books in Tucson, Arizona says “You can’t order these on!”  A witty acknowledgment that independent retailers offer many valued services not available online. Competing on price alone is a game that small shops are bound to lose. But customer service is where we can really shine,… Read More

The odd ghost outline logo of Snapchat is starting to turn up everywhere, but Snapchat is still not on the social media radar of most independent retailers.  Since the company is a rising star in this field, it is probably a good idea to know something about it. If nothing else, this will help raise… Read More

You may think that what goes on inside your store is the most important factor in determining its success, but in fact customers finding parking outside your door also plays an important role. And this is a factor that you can sometimes influence, with the help of your elected officials.  You should make sure that… Read More

One of my favorite Valentine cards from years past said something like “if you’ll help me get through February, I’ll help you get through March.”   No matter what side of the political spectrum you find yourself on, there is no question that this winter is a tough time for our country — and especially… Read More

One of the buzzwords in retailing today is the use of the word “curated” to describe a selection of merchandise.  The person who selects these goods would logically be described as a curator, which is defined by Merriam-Webster as “one who has the care and superintendence of something; especially one in charge of a museum, zoo, or… Read More

Amazon Go is the latest attempt by this giant firm to revise the future of retail. The idea behind Amazon Go is that customers can walk into the store, scan the QR codes of the items they want, and leave without any checkout procedure. Their purchases are automatically posted to their Amazon account.   The… Read More

“Holidays cast pall over department stores,” reads the headline on an Associated Press story by Joseph Pisani.  “The future of department stores seems bleak as they close locations — and thus give shoppers fewer options at the mall and more reason to just stay home and shop online,” the article states. The demise of department… Read More

Are you ready for the new version of the I-9 form that recently made its debut? Not the most exciting news for the start of 2017,  but it’s good to know that as of January 22,  all employees hired on or after that date must complete the new I-9 form to verify their identity and work… Read More