“We have heard from small businesses that what they need most right now is customers back,” Elizabeth Rutledge, CMO at American Express, said in an article on CNBC.com. “With this in mind we are launching our largest-ever Shop Small offer and are rallying our global community of cardmembers to support their local businesses and shop… Read More

Consumer racial profiling is the antithesis of the welcoming behavior that most independent retailers take pride in, and yet there is no doubt that it happens.   “Shopping while Black” is a phrase often associated with this type of profiling – African-American customers sensing that they are being treated differently because of their race.  One of… Read More

In his book All Marketers are Liars, marketing expert Seth Godin famously said “Perhaps the reason price is all your customers care about is because you haven’t given them anything else to care about.”  Pricing is one of the hot issues facing retailers as we reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Should we lure our customers… Read More

“Nothing is so painful to the human mind…as a great and sudden change.”  It would be hard to find a less likely source of retailing inspiration than Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. But there is no doubt that shopkeepers everywhere have found their personal and business lives subject to a painful, seismic shift due to COVID-19. We… Read More

It’s one thing to consider the results of national opinion polls – but every state, every community, every shopping district and even every retail store is slightly different from all the others.  The best source of information about what your customers want is your customers.  They “vote” every time that they’re in the store with… Read More

One of the biggest controversies facing retail stores reopening during the era of COVID-19 is whether to require customers to wear face masks.  Many states and municipalities make a recommendation about mask wearing, but stay clear of any enforceable requirement.  That lands the decision squarely on the shoulders of business owners, and quite frankly there’s… Read More

We are almost half way through 2020, and even if you haven’t been tracking year-to-date sales comparisons with 2019,  you know the news is not good.   Some wits have suggested unplugging 2020 and starting it over again, and while this is sadly not possible, I do think it makes sense to plan to write… Read More

Like many people, I’d never used Zoom before COVID-19. I now have as many as three Zoom meetings a day, and I’m not alone. According to a late April, 2020 article on The Verge, “Zoom usage has soared from 10 million daily meeting participants back in December to 300 million this month.” I finally broke… Read More

Mark Zuckerberg announced on May 19 that his company will soon be rolling out Facebook Shops as a way for small stores to market to consumers through Facebook and Instagram.  With the restrictions that we’re facing in the ways we are able do business during the pandemic, this is welcome news even to those of… Read More

Hand washing has been elevated to heroic status as we try to limit the spread of COVID-19 – and as our stores reopen, it is clear that frequent hand washing and other cleaning protocols are essential in keeping our employees safe as well as our customers.  The ideas below are based on what we know today, however… Read More