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


It’s not easy to run a store and still have time to keep your finger on the pulse of inventive retailing around the world.  The Dutch web site Springwise.com can give you "your daily fix of entrepreneurial ideas" with the simple click of your computer mouse. Springwise, established in 2002, claims to be one of… Read More


If you are an independent retailer, getting up each morning to do battle against the big box stores and the online mega sites, here is a source of inspiration: over 1,500 people have signed the “Declaration of Indie Bound,” which starts with these stirring words: “When in the course of human events it becomes necessary… Read More


Can you believe that a major national chain forgot its own name and left this sign in their parking lot reading “Thank you for shopping at …..”? (If you wonder which retailer it was, read on.) One of the fundamental principles of advertising and brand awareness is the importance of repetition. The more times you… Read More


“Geniuses are the luckiest of mortals because what they must do is the same as what they most want to do,” to quote to W. H. Auden. I assume that if you own a retail store, you chose the focus of your merchandising because of your passion for the product, so offering that line of… Read More


"Give your target customer more of what they want and less of what they don’t want, and you have a great chance of winning”.   This is important advice from Will Ander and Neil Stern, co-authors of Winning At Retail: Developing a Sustained Model for Retail Success.  Their book is one of the sources I recommend in… Read More


In Peter Pan, James M. Barrie asks children to clap their hands if they believe in fairies.  The equivalent in retailing is often buying a whole lot of one item to show how strongly you believe that the merchandise is a winner.   Do you believe enough to do that?  This display, from the Japanese department… Read More


What does your shop have in common with The Metropolitan Museum of Art?  Aside from a few items that you’ve kept on the shelf long enough for them to become antiquities, it’s probably the need to find the right person to fill every job.  We all know that excellent employees are necessary for excellent customer… Read More