“Cause marketing” is a formal term for the concept of giving a percentage of a sale to a non-profit organization.  While doing good pays a moral reward in itself, the idea of marketing the fact that you are supporting a good cause — as with this eye-catching display at Kohl’s — is a valuable promotional… Read More

There will always be brides, no matter how dire the economy becomes, so the wedding gift business can be a real boost to your sales during the summer months. (And keep in mind that while June and August still host the most weddings, September and October are also popular.)  The average wedding has 175 guests,… Read More

You may not have to look very far to find a good source of customers in these challenging times —  just reach out to your family and friends.  Be sure to include the family and friends of your employees as well, and to be generous in your use of the term "friend."  (Facebook has made… Read More

Unless you really are a sole proprietor, you have a least one other person on your staff who needs to know everything you know.  After all, you can’t be in your store all the time. And you don’t want customer service to suffer just because you are off on a buying trip, doing the book… Read More

The pickled pig feet were probably the worst.  Some of the bottles in another shipment on the common carrier’s truck broke, spilling broken glass and a fragrant liquid all over our boxes of gift merchandise. The trucker who delivered our shipment wasn’t much happier about it than we were. But damaged and defective goods are… Read More

A beautiful store window is a true work of art, and I never tire of looking at the photograph of this wonderful New York shop.  Retailers wear many hats, including visual merchandiser, but not many of us have artistic training.  Learning a bit about the design elements that go into a good painting or sculpture,… Read More

As independent retailers, we are always on the lookout for unique products that won’t be found on the shelves of our big box brethren. Now there is a new resource to help us locate the regional artists and crafts people we like to support as part of the “buy local” movement.  We can also use… Read More

We sometimes forget that retailing is really very simple: you need to have what the customers want, be wherever they are when they want to buy it, and to make all your transactions as simple and enjoyable as possible. We sometimes lose track of these principles when we get caught up in the technology and… Read More

One of the keys to surviving this difficult economy is making wise use of every inventory dollar — and that of course means turning slow moving items into cash by clearing them out. Because my nickname is Orange, we’ve always called our spring clearance sale Orange’s Lemon Sale. (One of my fellow retailers once admired… Read More

Facebook fans are having fun with “25 Random Things” lists, and it’s high time that shopkeepers got in on the action. So here are 25 random — and not so random — things you may not know about retailing.  Feel free to add your own in the Comments section below!  1. According to the U.S.… Read More