Our store’s identity was stolen last week.  We discovered that someone (and we know who) had set up an e-commerce site that used our store name and location, and even stole some of the wording from our web site.  I was going to write about that in my blog this week, because the unpleasantness generated… Read More

TEXT TO “GIIV” A GIFT “Giving a gift should be fun, simple, and instantaneous — now it is,” according to the web site of the new L.A.-based Giiv. This web company, like others in Europe and Boston, allows shoppers to select a gift, enter the recipient’s cell phone number and a note, and hit send.… Read More

Robert Spector, who is known for his expertise on Nordstrom’s legendary customer service, has something in common with Margaret Thatcher, Mario Cuomo and Abraham Lincoln.  And you do too! These three political leaders either grew up in a family of shopkeepers (like Spector) or owned a retail store.  In his book The Mom & Pop… Read More

Social networking seems to be such a hot topic for small business owners these days that I’m afraid it may be getting a bit too much attention.  (Most of the trade shows this summer seem to be offering seminars on the topic, I’ve noticed.)  But at the risk of adding to the already crowded field… Read More

A blog about blogs may seem a bit redundant, but in my several years of writing this one, it’s a subject I haven’t covered.  We don’t feature a blog on Orange Tree Imports’ web site, in part because it keeps me busy putting one together every week for you, my fellow business owners. But a… Read More

As a store manager, your day is filled with decision-making.  You need to decide what tasks to tackle first, how soon to approach a customer, what merchandise to buy, how best to display each item, and on and on. Your customers are also faced with decisions — the most important being whether or not to… Read More

Think local, and think young.  That is the target customer for the 1 1/2 year-old program from Chicago called Groupon, an e-mail marketing plan that sends out one e-mail offer a day to local subscribers in participating cities.  Their demographics show that 68% of their subscribers are 18 to 34, 77% of them are women… Read More

“Le facteur bousculade.”  Why is it that everything sounds so much more romantic in French?  Paco Underhill’s seminal work Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping (Simon & Schuster) has just been published in France, and we can assume he will gain the same immediate fame there that he did here with his “Butt Brush… Read More

Everyone is talking about the advantages of permission-based e-mail marketing and social networking (Facebook and Twitter) for retailers.   They’re fast, free, and relatively easy ways to contact customers.  But how do you turn your existing customers into fans and friends? The first answer is to provide excellent, personalized service — and an exciting selection of… Read More

Today’s trend towards customization has hit a new high point — now you can design the food you buy for your cat or dog, requesting the ingredients that your pet likes the best.  This also allows you to accommodate allergies and health concerns, of course, and whether your dog is active or a pooch coach… Read More