It’s easy to get discouraged about the state of retailing — and I bet you wouldn’t have trouble coming up with a list of the ten worst things about being an independent shopkeeper. But it’s better for our businesses, our employees and our customers if we stay positive – so here is my list (which… Read More

The current shortage of potential employees is changing the way some independent retailers do business – owners are working more, and some shops are cutting back their hours. With unemployment hovering at around 2% here in Madison, Wisconsin, we  get very few applicants when we have an opening. One of our neighboring businesses, Bloom Bake… Read More

Are you making good use of Instagram Stories? The idea was apparently inspired by Snapchat, the popular disappearing social media platform on which messages, photos and videos “self-destruct” 10 seconds after they are viewed. Snapchat Stories is a feature that allows the sender to share one day’s worth of pictures that can be viewed together,… Read More

Maslow’s famous pyramid chart showing human being’s hierarchy of needs demonstrates that the needs at the bottom of the triangle (food, water, warmth and rest) must be met before those higher up can be attended to. I’ve creating a simple version for shopkeepers, with people as the most important component. You’ll notice that I didn’t… Read More

Forrest Gump famously said “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.”  And while surprises may be delightful when it comes to sweets, planning for the right assortment of merchandise will make you a better retailer. The success of your store depends on having what customers expect, and what… Read More

The phrase name “Venmo Me” is already in wide use among the tech-savvy, and yet this way of paying for purchases may not be familiar to all shopkeepers. That is in part because the program was originally used by friends or colleagues to share expenses, and has only recently become yet another cash-free payment option… Read More

Dee-Ann Durbin wrote in a recent AP article that “Hotel and home-sharing companies don’t just want to sell you a room anymore. They also want to sell you an experience.”  And what is one of the most popular experiences for people on vacation? Shopping! The trend towards spending money on experiences rather than material goods,… Read More

The environmental hazards of plastic straws are making headlines at the moment, but the debate about the use of plastic bags by retailers has been raging for some time. It has been four years since California first enacted legislation imposing a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at large retail stores, as well as a… Read More

If only vendors shipped everything on order every time — wouldn’t that make our lives as retailers so much easier? But the reality is that there are frequently products out of stock at the time a shipment is being picked and packed. When you mark an order “ship complete,” you may never get any of… Read More

Have you considered creating a video for your store?  It’s a great way to promote your business through social media, and to give online visitors a sense of the people behind your business.  We’ve just created a new one for Orange Tree Imports, so I thought I’d share a few tips. Consider hiring a professional. … Read More