Making your shop windows and in-store displays “Instagram-worthy” can lead to some free PR on social media, and also give you some great images to post.  One way to pull your visual merchandising together is to work with a theme — and there are more options available for this than you might think. If your… Read More


I like to think of myself as the #1 cheerleader for independent retailers, but I must admit that I get a bit discouraged every time I read of another store closing due to competition from Amazon. The latest casualty here in Madison, WI is Sacred Feather, a haberdashery (or hat shop, to the uninitiated) located… Read More


If you are looking for a new way to promote your town, shopping district or mall as a shopping destination, a shared gift card may be a good option.  We’ve recently created one to help Monroe Street, the part of Madison, WI where our shop is located, survive a year of roadwork. And we sold… Read More


Shopping patterns change when school is out and the temperature rises. I remember as a kid seeing signs advertising “Come in, it’s Kool inside” — a promotion of the pleasures of air conditioned stores sponsored by Kool cigarettes.  Today of course it’s assumed that all stores are cool inside, but that doesn’t diminish the pleasure… Read More


You never know where you may find a creative idea for promoting your shop –  your social media feed might include a baseball team offering a giveaway on Fan Friday. Mine led me to an interesting Fan Friday post by identical twin sisters. Perhaps you haven’t heard of the Harp Twins, also known as Camille… Read More


Why should you care about the new GDPR regulations taking effect later this month? After all, the General Data Protection Regulation only governs consumers’ private information in the EU (European Union).  But in our global economy, chances are good that you will be dealing with a European vendor or customer in the future.   My… Read More


The word incentivize is actually about a decade younger than me, although its close synonym — to reward — dates back to the early 14th century.  Clearly providing an incentive for somewhat to take action is not a new concept, and it has of course endured for all this time because it works. I recently… Read More


Which makes for a more effective offer — an ad with a discount percentage, or a specific amount off the regular price?  As shopkeepers we may guess at the answer to this question, but it turns out that there is actual scientific research we can use to make our decision. In his book Contagious: Why… Read More


It is no secret that high rents are driving some independent retailers out of business.  Real estate commitments are frequently the cause of the dire financial straits facing department and chain stores as well.  Rents in both small towns and big cities have gone up as real estate values increase, with the biggest competitor we… Read More


If your shop is incorporated, you are most likely an S Corp or C Corp.  You may not have even heard of the option of being a B Corp, which is not surprising — because this relatively new type of corporate status mostly reflects an ethical rather than legal position. “B Corps are for-profit entities… Read More