Most of us don’t have a design department at our beck and call, despite the constant need for sophisticated graphics for social media, email blasts, websites and blogs.  It’s lucky for us that a young Australian design instructor named Melanie Perkins created Canva, a graphics design platform that is simple enough for any shopkeeper to use. And the… Read More


Would you guess that Black Friday, or perhaps the Saturday before Christmas, tops the charts for online and offline shopping? You’d be wrong.  The day that draws sales of over $25 billion is China’s Singles Day, which is celebrated on November 11. The fact that this holiday didn’t even exist until 1993 is indicative of… Read More


I love this quote from Kosovo poet Dejan Stojanovic, in The Sun Watches the Sun: “A breeze, a forgotten summer, a smile, all can fit into a storefront window.”  If your shop attracts walk-by traffic, what is your window saying to those who pause to look at it? We often feature merchandise in our window,… Read More


“Most consumers don’t want to be equal,” according to Scott Galloway in The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. “They want to be special.” Galloway goes on to say that a sizable fraction of the consuming population today will pay a premium for that attention. He points out that this segment… Read More


Looking for ways to attract shoppers in the Millennial (born 1997-1995) and Gen Z (born in 1996 and after) age categories to your store? One key way is to offer activities that will appeal to both young parents and their children.  Families are often looking for things to do together, especially on weekends. Holidays offer… Read More


It’s always great to get together with other retailers to share ideas. At a recent roundtable in Las Vegas, several store owners mentioned that they are now offering gift wrapping service — for merchandise not purchased in their shop. With department stores no longer offering gift boxes or wrapping (not to mention online retailers that… Read More


One of my favorite quotes from a retailer about the last edition of Specialty Shop Retailing is this one: “I have read, highlighted, marked up and re-read this book so many times it groans when I pick it up!” It’s been so much fun for me to hear from shopkeepers around the world about how… Read More


The busts in front of the entrance the Merchandise Mart in Chicago are all of prominent white men who founded large retail businesses, including Frank Winfield Woolworth, Marshall Field, and Aaron Montgomery Ward.  And the three largest retailers in the world today, Walmart, Costco and Kroger’s — as well as the online giant Amazon —… Read More


More than 7.5 million retail jobs are at risk of being eliminated by automation over the next several years, according to a report by Cornerstone Capital Group for the Investor Responsibility Center Institute recently quoted in an AP article by Anne D’Innocenzio.  Some of this shift is due to changes in buying habits.  Just last… Read More


I love the opportunity that our annual inventory count gives us to get our stock organized.  We start the year by throwing away broken merchandise, marking down odds and ends, and cleaning the shelves in our storage area. This year I’ve vowed to expand that fresh-start feeling to the rest of the store.  First off,… Read More