It’s been said that in music, the rests are as important as the notes.  The silence sets off the sound that precedes and follows the pause, giving it more importance.  While you wouldn’t want too many rests (I found a link to a list of 20 compositions made up of silence, which seems a bit… Read More

We all hope that we never have to face a medical crisis in our business, but of course things do sometimes happen.  Beyond keeping a supply of bandaids on hand, what have you done to make sure you’re prepared in case something happens to a customer, or one of your employees? It is a good… Read More

One of our employee’s favorite benefits is discovering treasures in the store’s “free box.”  As the name implies, they can help themselves to anything they want there, at no charge.  And although the free box isn’t really magic, it does seem to refill itself with very little effort.  What goes in the free box?  Mostly… Read More

Customers love choices, at least we assume they do. But there is a fine line between offering lots of options and inducing what brothers Chip and Dan Heath refer to as decision paralysis.  In their recent book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, they describe an experiment that takes place in a… Read More

A new source of funds: social lending Does your small business need money for inventory, growth, or unexpectedly expenses?  If so, you may have tried to get a bank loan without success.  Today’s economy has made traditional loan sources increasingly difficult to find, leading many shopkeepers to use high-interest credit cards as a last-ditch source… Read More

Shakespeare is famously quoted as saying “I can no other answer make, but, thanks, and ever thanks.”  Sebastian in Twelfth Night was certainly not speaking as a retailer showing appreciation to Antonio as his customer, of course. But we can take inspiration from The Bard in trying to  come up with ways to thank our… Read More

Finding safe toys to carry is your store is no longer child’s play. Just over a year ago the U.S.Consumer Safety Commission (USPC) rolled out regulations limiting the amount of lead allowed in children’s products to less than half what had been previously allowed. The new rules also require that there be tracking labels to… Read More

Shopping can be fun, so why not make it a game? The latest trend in social media is location-based services such as Foursquare in which that consumers use their iPhones or other smartphones to explore their city.  Foursquare lets users "check in" to a place when they’re there, tell friends where they are and track… Read More

One of the benefits of interviewing potential new employees is finding out a bit about their previous jobs.  If they’ve worked in retail, we often learn something about how their last employer handled issues such as scheduling, job duties and pay rates.  These topics come up because they are frequently among the reasons that the… Read More

Some twenty years ago Bob Phibbs decided to brand himself as the Retail Doctor, complete with a registered trademark sign.  His credentials may not include any actual academic recognition (understandable, since no one offers an R.D. degree), but his knowledge of the retail business has earned him the respect of those in the field. This… Read More