"The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior" is a popular mantra in the psychology world. Whether it is true that you can predict an individual’s future actions based on their past may be debatable — but in business, it seems to be true that our customers buying patterns are predictable enough that we… Read More

Blogs can be a great source of inspiration and information (which is hopefully why you’re reading this one). But have you thought about ways to make use of bloggers in your area to promote your business?  We recently hosted a blogger competition, and were pleased by the response. Hopefully you could make it work for… Read More

Your staff is probably giving its all during the month of December (for many of us, the rest of the year is training camp and this is our competitive season).  Don’t forget to say thank you for their hard work! There are lots of creative ways to give them a reward at the end of… Read More

Customer service complaints aimed at Walmart seem to be at an all-time high this year.  "A negative experience can leave a bad taste in a customer’s mouth for a long time," Grant Cardone reports in this interview about Walmart’s recent decline in staff (and inventory) levels with Ashley Lutz of Business Insider — a timely… Read More

As of May of this year, 63% of adult cell owners use their phones to go online, and 34% mostly access the internet on their phone, according to a recent Pew Internet survey.  Almost 75% use their phone to get directions, and according to Constant Contact, 43% of all e-mail is opened on a phone. This… Read More

Looking for a new angle for your advertising or social media promotions? Take a walk through your store and see what items you carry that might solve a problem or need for a customer.  We sell a lot of fat separators for gravy at this time of year — but there are still plenty of… Read More

Spring cleaning may not be on your mind during November and December, but the Christmas season is an ideal time to go through your store’s back stock to get rid of odds and ends of merchandise.  I have often quoted the line “don’t let inventory become family” — so here’s a look at ways that… Read More

Succession Planning    Why didn’t they sell the shop to their employees?” asked a colleague of mine when they heard that a long-time retailer here in Madison, WI was going out of business.  The loss of a beloved independent is painful for the community, and clearly there were many people who would have preferred to see… Read More

The fashion world has long used the concept of a “lookbook” to promote a line, or a season — and now the term is starting to pop up in other merchandise arenas.  So what is a lookbook? Originally a collection of printed photographs compiled to showcase a designer or retailer’s offerings, a lookbook today can… Read More

You’ve got friends on Facebook, you tweet on Twitter, and you pin to Pinterest.  And now you’re hearing a lot about Instagram.  Do you need yet another social media outlet in order to promote your business effectively? I think the answer depends in part on the demographic you are trying to reach. Instagram boasts of… Read More