This Friday has been termed “Black Friday” by the media, because of the idea that this one day’s sales are so important that they put major retailers in the black.  That doesn’t tend to be true for independent retailers, who miss out on the feeding frenzy of shoppers flocking to the malls and big box… Read More


I usually advise retailers looking for merchandising to imagine their typical customer walking through the front door of the shop.  Is the shopper male or female? Under 20, over 40, or perhaps over 60?  What income level does the customer fit into? This exercise helps you select items that have the right sense of style,… Read More


My second day in retailing was terrible. The customer who bought a Danish chair (back then we sold furniture) on our first day returned it, resulting in a negative sales figure for day number two. I was devastated. Since that time I’ve learned that returns are just a part of the retail landscape, and if… Read More


Now that the last trick-or-treaters have long since headed home, with visions of candy corn dancing through their heads, it’s time for visions of sugarplums to start taking their place.  For many specialty retailers, the start of November means the start of the holiday season.  You need to be thinking of the holidays now even… Read More


As we head into the holiday season, we need to have faith in the fact that shoppers will soon be coming into our stores, money in hand, to make our cash registers jingle happily with sale after sale. (I’ve been in retailing since back when registers actually did ring when the cash drawer opened, but… Read More


Shoppers with dogs may be willing to leave them outside while they browse in your store, especially if you provide a bowl of water and a place to tie the leash. But shoppers with children are going to bring them in.  Ready or not, here they come! The shopping experience will be more pleasant for… Read More


Bienvenido The most important welcome sign you hang in front of your store may not say “welcome.”  According to the 2008 census figures, about 18% of all U.S. residents speak a language other than English at home.  And that does’t take into account foreign visitors who are in the U.S. for business or pleasure.  But… Read More


How are you using your Facebook fan page? Starbucks recently used theirs to send out free ice cream, according to Springwise.  Sounds messy, but it turns out that the promotion was actually for a coupon entitling several hundred fans to a free pint. The promotion was set up so that a certain number of coupons… Read More


You don’t need to do much advertising if your store is located across the street from the famous Wall Drug in South Dakota.  Wall Drug does that for you, promoting their famous “free ice water” and 5¢ coffee to anyone traversing the state’s highways.   But the question is how to get the Wall Drug tourist… Read More


A recent study by the digital division of the National Retail Federation showed that over half the consumers queried occasionally used video to research products.   Of course many of the respondents to the Consumer Use of Online Video for Shopping survey used the information they gained to make their purchases on the web. But good… Read More