The first days of 2010 will soon be upon us, so it is time to think about New Year’s resolutions. The recent Gifts and Dec Direct online poll showed that some 50 percent of voters in last week’s poll plan to make resolutions for their personal lives and their business. So aside from wanting to… Read More

We went to get our Christmas tree from our favorite tree farm on the outskirts of town a few days ago.  The owner, Eric Jensen, is trying to make up for the days that were lost when 17” of snow fell here in Madison, WI in less than 24 hours — followed by a day… Read More

The totals will soon be in for the holiday season of 2009, and whether we’re pleased or not with our sales, it will be time to face the slower winter months.  Now is a good time to give your shoppers a good reason to come back in to your store in January. The most common… Read More

You can’t be in retailing today without taking credit cards, even if you’re selling Renaissance clothing and accessories.  The percentage of our store’s sales paid for in plastic has risen dramatically since the start of our business. — and so have the charges we pay to have these credit card sales processed. Many of us… Read More

“Self service means no service,” as I wrote in last week’s blog. We all know what kind of service we hope to offer our customers through our friendly, sales personnel well-versed in the benefits of every product we sell. Certainly Ron Popeil, who you may know as the king of television marketing, is friendly and… Read More

This Friday has been termed “Black Friday” by the media, because of the idea that this one day’s sales are so important that they put major retailers in the black.  That doesn’t tend to be true for independent retailers, who miss out on the feeding frenzy of shoppers flocking to the malls and big box… Read More

I usually advise retailers looking for merchandising to imagine their typical customer walking through the front door of the shop.  Is the shopper male or female? Under 20, over 40, or perhaps over 60?  What income level does the customer fit into? This exercise helps you select items that have the right sense of style,… Read More

My second day in retailing was terrible. The customer who bought a Danish chair (back then we sold furniture) on our first day returned it, resulting in a negative sales figure for day number two. I was devastated. Since that time I’ve learned that returns are just a part of the retail landscape, and if… Read More

Now that the last trick-or-treaters have long since headed home, with visions of candy corn dancing through their heads, it’s time for visions of sugarplums to start taking their place.  For many specialty retailers, the start of November means the start of the holiday season.  You need to be thinking of the holidays now even… Read More

As we head into the holiday season, we need to have faith in the fact that shoppers will soon be coming into our stores, money in hand, to make our cash registers jingle happily with sale after sale. (I’ve been in retailing since back when registers actually did ring when the cash drawer opened, but… Read More