As you head off to the gift shows in January, you will be looking for new products that will get your customers excited and in a buying mood.  Hopefully the steadily recovering economy will mean lots of product introductions by existing suppliers, and perhaps even some new vendors. Even if you have enough lines to… Read More

What is a flash sale?  A poll in the current issue of Gifts and Decorative Accessories magazine shows that 21% of the suppliers surveyed by Brandwise (from an anonymous representative sample of companies) sell through an online flash sale site.  And yet many of us are not familiar with this phenomenon, and how it impacts… Read More

With Christmas Day only about two weeks away, Santa is not the only one who should be making a list!  It’s time to re-evaluate your inventory on hand, and also to take notes for next year.  Happily much of our major buying for the holidays takes place at the winter gift shows, before we’ve forgotten… Read More

Smart Phones = Smart Staff? We all see our customers using their phones while shopping to get more information about a product, to find out which color Aunt Mary likes best, and even sometimes (much to our dismay) to order the item they’re looking at from an online source.  But how do we feel about… Read More

We all need more Facebook fans — especially since Facebook is now showing us how many (or how few) people see each posting.  Even if your business has over 1,100 likes, your reach may be less than 70 people.  I know, because the statistics from our shop’s Facebook page over the past week show a… Read More

Shopkeepers often take only two factors into account when setting prices: the wholesale cost of the item and the freight charges.  Many independent retailers don’t even even factor in their landing costs, preferring to take straight keystone markup (doubling the wholesale cost) because that is customary. Despite studies showing that it is hard to make… Read More

More Lessons from Zingerman’s How do you provide the absolute best in customer service? Paul Saginaw of Zingtrain was recently in Madison for a seminar sponsored by Dane Buy Local, and had many helpful ideas. He and his partner Art Weinzweig oversee the family of Zingerman’s enterprises in Ann Arbor, MI, which now numbers eight… Read More

Lessons from Zingerman’s We all aspire to build a business that provides great service — but Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, Michigan has made it their mission to create a corporate culture based on service, and to share their methods for achieving this goal with the world. Partners Paul Saginaw and Art Weinzweig oversee the… Read More

EVery Door Direct mail Most small businesses draw the majority of their customers from the geographic area closest to them.  How can you make sure that everyone in your neighborhood knows about your store, and receives information about special events and offers?  In the early years of our business we went door to door, hanging… Read More

Not open 24 hours a day? Good! Not only does it mean that you have a life, but it also means that your shop has the opportunity open outside of its regular store hours for private sales events.  In an era where people value unusual experiences, the exclusivity of a shopping opportunity not available to… Read More