Sometimes it seems that we spend more time thinking about social media than about the buying and selling that are the basic activities of retailing. But in a recent blog and video for museums and cultural centers, Colleen Dilenschneider argues that “content is not king” (quoting Bill Gates) — connectivity is also key. In the… Read More

Facebook, Yelp and many other sites allow consumers to give instant feedback when they are pleased — or displeased — with a retail experience.  Happily we are not impacted as much as restaurants, who can flourish or perish based on online comments. But it is still important that we pay attention to what potential customers will… Read More

In a recent interview in an article by Randy Tucker about the benefits of working part-time, AJ Ferguson of the nonprofit UpDayton said that working less than full time allows him to “play in some other sandboxes.”  I love that image, because it can be used to describe almost any other activity — school, parenting,… Read More

We noticed the inviting “Buzz Point” sign at a downtown Madison retailer while Christmas shopping last December, and made a note to find out more about this program. We discovered that in our community, Buzz Points is offered by locally owned Park Bank. It serves as a way for the bank to promote the use… Read More

Walking down the street and popping in to explore a locally owned shop is one of the great pleasures of visiting a town or city.  It remains to be seen whether doing so virtually via Google Street View — without leaving the comfort of your easy chair — is as rewarding, and whether this new… Read More

It turns out that too much wool is not a good thing, whether you’re a knitting store or an Australian sheep. Chris is a renegade Merino sheep who apparently got separated from his flock in Canberra and missed his regular appointments with the shearer. Although he evaded capture several times, he was finally sedated and… Read More

Once upon a time, in the early days of the Internet, stores that wanted a web site had to hire a webmaster to create one. Web design required knowing how to use HTML, which was not a skill that most retailers had in their wheelhouse.  Even back then, some designers were better than others (I remember seeing sites… Read More

It’s been nice knowing that accepting a fraudulent credit card could only cost your shop, or the consumer, a small amount of money.  Considering the enormous overall annual cost of credit card fraud ($7 billion, by one estimate), we should all be grateful to the credit card companies and banks who have assumed this liability.… Read More

We all have a pretty good idea of what it means to be a sales rep in the gift industry — but what if there was a new way for some major vendors, and large sales agencies representing key lines, to structure the role of their sales reps in the future?  A recent chance meeting… Read More

Independent retailers in the US have never really come together to form a trade association with far-reaching goals, but thousands of our colleagues in the UK enjoy the benefits of bira (The British Independent Retailers Association). Of course I think that “buy local” organizations like BALLE and AMIBA are great. But wouldn’t it be wonderful… Read More