YOU TUBE AS SALE TOOL A major Chicago Merchandise Mart showroom recently sent out an e-mail blast for those who didn’t make it to the winter show.  Instead of just listing all their lines, and showing an illustration of one or two new products, Sarm & Nastovski sent out links to 10 short videos on… Read More

At a recent retailer seminar at the Chicago Gift Show, interior and commercial designer Mick Santiago encouraged attendees to go back to their stores and check for burned out display lighting. And sure enough, he was right — our store had several bulbs that needed replacing. Santiago is the Chicago Merchandise Mart’s resident interior designer,… Read More

What do jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts, devoted home chefs and amateur Ukrainian egg decorators have in common?  These are all people we are trying to appeal to with special events in our shop over the next month.  It would be ideal to be able to send out a specialized targeted at those customers who would be… Read More

I recently read in the women’s magazine More about the common practice of allowing employees to take home beauty product samples sent in by manufacturers hoping for free publicity. Editor Lesley Jane Seymour decided to ask her staff for $1 for item, with all proceeds going to WIN (Women in Need).  This simple idea has… Read More

The situation in China is making many of the vendors in our industry worry about whether they will have stock on hand to fill orders this fall.  In order to best serve their customers, some are asking that orders be signed as being non-cancelable.  Others are encouraging retailers to sign on to a planned buying… Read More

You may have seen them popping up in trade magazines, brochures or consumer ads.  They look a bit like barcodes, but there aren’t any bars.  Instead these boxes resemble an unsolvable puzzle.  What are they, and how do they impact your buying or advertising? The official name for these codes is QR, which stands for… Read More

HELPING OUR ECONOMY RECOVER Economists agree that the recession will not end until we have a significant decline in unemployment.  After all, people who are out of work can’t be free-spending consumers. And we need customers eager to buy our goods and services in order to fuel our economy’s recovery. Small businesses are the single… Read More

TRACKING THE RIGHT REP  I firmly believe that sales representatives play an important role in the success of a specialty shop, conveying information about new items and helping you stay on top of the latest in merchandising.  In order to make sure that my sales reps get credit — they almost all work on commission,… Read More

There are now over 266,000,000 Internet users in the North American (according to Internet World Stats), which represents a good 77% of our population. Not all of them shop online, thankfully, but e-commerce is clearly a competitor to brick and mortar stores that is here to stay. How can you compete with the deep discounts… Read More