How hard is it to produce something that will get your store on the evening news, on Vimeo and YouTube, and end up being posted on your customer’s Facebook walls?  Let me tell you about the “flash mob” event we just did at Orange Tree Imports, which cost us less than $500 — but in… Read More

If only they would make gift wrapping an Olympic sport, I’d have a chance to go for the gold. My training over the past 35 years has been wrapping hundreds and hundreds of customer packages.  And I’m really fast — but that’s mostly because we have wrapping down to a system. This service that is… Read More

The customer may always be right (or not), but the customer is not always cheerful.  One of the day-to-day challenges facing shopkeepers and our employees is how to deal with an unhappy customer.  Here are four techniques I hope you’ll find helpful: 1)Acknowledge that the customer is upset and ask them to tell you the… Read More

About four years ago, an announcement was made that a new “WebTV channel” was being created to help retailers be more successful. This idea evolved into a web site rich in streaming video clips on many different topics of interest to small business owners. The Gift and Home Channel site also featured a number of… Read More

In order to fully reap the benefits of Twitter and Facebook, you need to keep in touch with your fans regularly. But who has time to tweet and post, especially at this busy time of year?  I find myself coming up with a great idea at 11:00 on Saturday night, and all the social media… Read More

On the way home from the Gift and Home Trade Association conference in New Orleans, I was looking for a magazine in the airport and discovered an article in Reader’s Digest by Michelle Crouch called ‘13 Things Your Salesclerk Won’t Tell You.’  Now chances are good that like me, you are a salesclerk, at least… Read More

The media has been talking so much about “Black Friday,” expanding it to “Black Weekend” and beyond.  This traditional launch of the Christmas shopping season occurs the day after Thanksgiving, and theoretically got its name from the fact that it is the day that is supposed to start putting you in the black for the… Read More

We first noticed text alerts, or mobile offers, while shopping in a Copenhagen department store a few years ago. The sign said that shoppers could find a special SMS offer on glassware using their mobile phone.  We didn’t even know at the time that “SMS” stands for short message service, and refers to text messages… Read More

Combining items in your store into pre-made sets can be a great way to give shoppers new gift ideas during the upcoming holiday season. And as you can see from this photo taken on a recent visit to Bennington Potters in Vermont, all it takes is a bit of ribbon or twine. Gifts sets also… Read More

Tag, You’re It    I often start out my seminars for retailers by asking participants to write a “tagline” or slogan describing their business. It should be ten words or less, and define makes your store unique. Taglines are more common in other fields of endeavor such as automakers (Ford: Built for the Road Ahead and… Read More