Resources

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: I have an annual performance review scheduled for next week with an employee who has been with our company for two years and is just not working out as well as I would like. He is nice enough and is an effective salesperson, but he has some workplace performance flaws we talked about last year that have not improved. I have pointed them out to him and feel like I am nagging.

Fountain of Youth

Fountain of Youth

One thing is well known in retail: Acquiring a new customer costs at least three times as much as selling to an existing customer base. At Journeys of Life in Pittsburgh, we believe our customers of tomorrow are already shopping in our stores today. We just may not see them that way ... yet.

Just My Type

Just My Type

Storytelling is a powerful force in our lives. We use it to pass down wisdom, teach history, and enforce ethical behavior. We use it to create harmony and unity in our cultures and religions. Whether a person prefers reading Shakespeare or watching television sitcoms, each and every one of us are exposed to and affected by stories on a daily basis.

In the Cross Hairs

In the Cross Hairs

Tabatha Coffey (Tabatha’s Salon Takeover), Gordon Ramsay (Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares), and Jon Taffer (Bar Rescue) are hard-as-nails business experts who make entertaining reality television. The swearing, frustration, and scripted drama all play into our need to compare our efforts with those of other business owners ... and to be reassured we’re doing better than those poor suckers. We love the sense of becoming an instant expert at the end of each show and going into restaurants, bars, and salons thinking our newly acquired eye of the tiger can spot trouble like a pro.

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: Our new store just opened last month and sales are steady and growing. When we did the build out, we ran into some unexpected issues that cost extra money to rectify, and we were not able to complete all our renovations. One thing that got ignored was our small, dingy bathroom. Everything is old and stained and there is no way I would let a customer in there!

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: I have an annual performance review scheduled for next week with an employee who has been with our company for two years and is just not working out as well as I would like. He is nice enough and is an effective salesperson, but he has some workplace performance flaws we talked about last year that have not improved. I have pointed them out to him and feel like I am nagging.

The Right Stuff

How do you sum up a store customers rave about for its creative, quirky, amusing, fresh, unique, irresistible, one-of-a-kind gifts? In a word: STUFF. Hailed as “a jewel in Kansas City’s retail crown,” STUFF is known as much for its helpful and knowledgeable staff as for its amazing array of mostly artist-made goods. At the heart of it all are sisters Sloane and Casey Simmons, the dynamic, entrepreneurial duo who have nurtured the evolution of a store named STUFF.

In the Cross Hairs

In the Cross Hairs

Tabatha Coffey (Tabatha’s Salon Takeover), Gordon Ramsay (Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares), and Jon Taffer (Bar Rescue) are hard-as-nails business experts who make entertaining reality television. The swearing, frustration, and scripted drama all play into our need to compare our efforts with those of other business owners ... and to be reassured we’re doing better than those poor suckers. We love the sense of becoming an instant expert at the end of each show and going into restaurants, bars, and salons thinking our newly acquired eye of the tiger can spot trouble like a pro.

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: Our new store just opened last month and sales are steady and growing. When we did the build out, we ran into some unexpected issues that cost extra money to rectify, and we were not able to complete all our renovations. One thing that got ignored was our small, dingy bathroom. Everything is old and stained and there is no way I would let a customer in there!

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: My lease is up for renewal next month. Originally I only signed a three-year lease because I was cautious about how things would go. Now that our sales are good and fairly stable and I like the location, I would like to sign a longer lease. My landlord told me last week she would not raise the price per square foot, which is great by me! But, how long a lease should I ask for now?

Fountain of Youth

Fountain of Youth

One thing is well known in retail: Acquiring a new customer costs at least three times as much as selling to an existing customer base. At Journeys of Life in Pittsburgh, we believe our customers of tomorrow are already shopping in our stores today. We just may not see them that way ... yet.

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: More and more, it seems vendors are not extending terms and are asking for payment up front or with a credit card. I understand and even expect this for the first order or two from a new vendor as we are getting to know and trust each other. After that, though, I expect Net-30 terms to be available.

In the Cross Hairs

In the Cross Hairs

Tabatha Coffey (Tabatha’s Salon Takeover), Gordon Ramsay (Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares), and Jon Taffer (Bar Rescue) are hard-as-nails business experts who make entertaining reality television. The swearing, frustration, and scripted drama all play into our need to compare our efforts with those of other business owners ... and to be reassured we’re doing better than those poor suckers. We love the sense of becoming an instant expert at the end of each show and going into restaurants, bars, and salons thinking our newly acquired eye of the tiger can spot trouble like a pro.

5 Trends to Watch in 2014

With tech improvements and innovations making headlines practically every day, trends have become nearly synonymous with technology. While we definitely are keeping our eyes focused on tech trends, a closer look reveals the trends we’re watching are really about improving the customer experience in some way, from making social connections with our customers to enhancing the way they shop to being the source of products that keep them grounded in a wired world.

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: A friend of mine who has a similar store in a neighboring state recommended I purchase a line of bath-care products that were “flying” off her shelves. I did and was so excited, but they have only collected dust on my shelves! I made a major investment (for me) and now I’m not sure what to do.

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: A customer called today very upset because her teenage niece had come into our store with a few friends, and they felt they were treated with prejudice. I really could not get the whole story over the customer yelling that we were hypocritical, but it seems her niece and one of her friends were not Caucasian, and somehow they were treated disrespectfully in our store.

The Digital Zone

Imagine, if you will, a large digital display in your window that passing shoppers use to browse and buy your products with a wave of their hand … even when your store is closed! How about mirrors that dispense fashion advice, holographic store greeters, and interactive displays that provide product information as soon as the customer picks it up off the shelf? This is the future of retail, and it’s not as far off as you might think. Stores in major metropolitan cities around the world already are implementing these ideas.

Jumpstart Post-Holiday Sales

Do you wish the winter holidays would last all year round … or at least the influx of shoppers they attract? Once the last remnants of tinsel and bows are swept away, what’s left to motivate a steady flow of traffic back to your store? One solution is in-store events. But, how do you know what events are right for your store and your customers, how do you translate an event into sales at the cash register, and how the heck do you promote it?

Standing Tall for Fair Trade

Standing Tall for Fair Trade

In the center of a small island town just off Seattle’s coast, a life-sized, ironwork giraffe towers above the artfully landscaped front yard of a century-old house, inviting a closer look. Cross the garden to the wide front porch and you have arrived at Giraffe, the Fair Trade boutique Priscilla Schleigh opened seven years ago on Puget Sound’s quietly thriving Vashon Island.

When I'm 64

When I'm 64

What do Robin Williams, Oprah Winfrey, and Madonna have in common? They’re all card-carrying members of the vibrant Baby Boomer generation. At 80 million strong, Baby Boomers—those born between 1946 and 1964—represent one third of the U.S. population. Such a force to be reckoned with must surely be the focus of every major marketing campaign, right? Wrong. Less than 5 percent of U.S. advertising dollars targets Baby Boomers, despite Nielsen research that shows Boomers wield 70 percent of U.S. consumer buying power. Why the disconnect?

Navigating the Consumer Decision Journey

Navigating the Consumer Decision Journey

These days, you can’t turn around without someone touting the latest, greatest marketing technique, channel, or tool. But, stripped down to its essence, marketing really amounts to communicating the value of the products and services you sell and the shopping experience you offer. From that point of view, marketing encompasses much more than radio ads, tweets, and e-newsletters. Your marketing efforts need to address the whole consumer decision journey and all the customer “touchpoints”—every interaction, active or passive, you have with customers—that keep them shopping your store.

Five Ways to GreenYour Store

Five ways to green your store.

You don’t have to specialize in eco-merchandise to have an eco-minded store. A few simple adjustments can result in a healthier environment for your staff and your customers, and actually save you money in the process. Some communities even have “green certification” programs, which offer businesses incentives for reducing their carbon footprint and marketing materials to promote their “green-ification.” Here are a few ideas you can implement right now to help you make every day Earth Day!

Local Motion Part 1

(Part 1 of a 3-part series)

[Jump to Part 2] | [Jump to Part 3]

Local Motion Part 2

(Part 2 of a 3-part series)

[Go back to Part 1] | [Jump to Part 3]

So you’re ready to start a Buy Local business alliance in your town. You’ve done your research and reached out to other businesses you think would make a great working group to launch it. Now, it’s time to hold your first official meeting.

Local Motion Part 3

(Part 3 of a 3-part series)

[Go back to Part 1] | [Go back to Part 2]

You’ve established a dynamic Buy Local group. Now it’s time to get the word out about the benefits of buying local—and buying from your member businesses in particular. A kick-off event is a great way to generate free press and build excitement in the community.

Practical answers for tough business questions.

Question: My business partner thinks we can increase our total sales 25 percent by doubling our jewelry area. How can I tell if this is true? To give you some numbers: Our overall sales this past year were $480,000, and jewelry sales were $146,800. We have 1,400 square feet of sales space, and the eight display cases in the jewelry area take up 400 square feet.

Competition or Colleagues?

Competition or Colleagues?

What’s the difference between winning and achieving your personal best? Seeing your personal best as a victory is not an easy ideal to hold when faced with the prospect of “losing.” As you watch a store very much like yours move in down the street or find your customers have stopped ordering one of your products because someone else has a cheaper look-alike, it’s hard to enjoy the personal bests you achieved in your business last quarter.

Practical answers for tough business questions.

Question: Do you sell statuary in your store? how do you train your staff to talk intelligently about Hindu and Buddhist deities? There are so many! We carry Buddha, Ganesh, Shiva, Kuan Yin, and Green Tara, but even those are challenging for new sales people. Truth is, I would like to order a larger variety, but I don’t really understand them all myself. Any suggestions?

Answering Serenity's Call

Answering Serenity's Call

The path to opening an independent shop is often a winding one, with many adventures along the way. Like Dorothy on the yellow-brick road, the way is peppered with frightful moments, unforeseen challenges, inspiring developments, a host of helpers, and finally, a true sense of accomplishment.

Just seven months old, Serenity Calling is a beautiful store in both appearance and intention, and the manifestation of a dream owner Gillian Caine nurtured for years.

Practical answers for tough business questions.

Question: In your experience at your store, do book signings increase sales or just traffic? Do you usually sell a lot of books during a signing?

Practical answers for tough business questions.

Question: After the hustle and bustle of the holidays,customer spending tends to really slow down. Do you have any suggestions for stimulating sales?

Practical answers for tough business questions.

Question: My business partner thinks we can increase our total sales 25 percent by doubling our jewelry area. How can I tell if this is true? To give you some numbers: Our overall sales this past year were $480,000, and jewelry sales were $146,800. We have 1,400 square feet of sales space, and the eight display cases in the jewelry area take up 400 square feet.

Practical answers for tough business questions.

Question: After the hustle and bustle of the holidays,customer spending tends to really slow down. Do you have any suggestions for stimulating sales?

Practical answers for tough business questions.

Question: My husband is getting ready to retire from his corporate job in two or three years, and we want to travel together. To do that, I would need to sell or close my store. How do I begin this process and make a plan to let go and hopefully sell at a profit?

Answering Serenity's Call

Answering Serenity's Call

The path to opening an independent shop is often a winding one, with many adventures along the way. Like Dorothy on the yellow-brick road, the way is peppered with frightful moments, unforeseen challenges, inspiring developments, a host of helpers, and finally, a true sense of accomplishment.

Just seven months old, Serenity Calling is a beautiful store in both appearance and intention, and the manifestation of a dream owner Gillian Caine nurtured for years.

The RE Rules

The RE Rules

James Wanless, Ph.D., the “RE Doctor,” is an internationally recognized author, dynamic speaker and coach, innovative futurist, and expert in personal sustainability. The author of Sustainable Life: The New Success and creator of the Sustain Yourself cards, this “corporate shaman” offers insights into re-energizing body, mind, and spirit for personal and professional success.

Answering Serenity's Call

Answering Serenity's Call

The path to opening an independent shop is often a winding one, with many adventures along the way. Like Dorothy on the yellow-brick road, the way is peppered with frightful moments, unforeseen challenges, inspiring developments, a host of helpers, and finally, a true sense of accomplishment.

Just seven months old, Serenity Calling is a beautiful store in both appearance and intention, and the manifestation of a dream owner Gillian Caine nurtured for years.

Practical answers for tough business questions.

Question: My business partner thinks we can increase our total sales 25 percent by doubling our jewelry area. How can I tell if this is true? To give you some numbers: Our overall sales this past year were $480,000, and jewelry sales were $146,800. We have 1,400 square feet of sales space, and the eight display cases in the jewelry area take up 400 square feet.

Practical answers for tough business questions.

Question: Do you sell statuary in your store? how do you train your staff to talk intelligently about Hindu and Buddhist deities? There are so many! We carry Buddha, Ganesh, Shiva, Kuan Yin, and Green Tara, but even those are challenging for new sales people. Truth is, I would like to order a larger variety, but I don’t really understand them all myself. Any suggestions?

Practical answers for tough business questions.

Question: Do you sell statuary in your store? how do you train your staff to talk intelligently about Hindu and Buddhist deities? There are so many! We carry Buddha, Ganesh, Shiva, Kuan Yin, and Green Tara, but even those are challenging for new sales people. Truth is, I would like to order a larger variety, but I don’t really understand them all myself. Any suggestions?

Getting to Gratitude

There’s a lot of talk these days about being grateful, giving thanks, and the importance of having an “attitude of gratitude.” The reality is most people already feel grateful. When surveyed, most rated their overall gratitude a six on a scale of seven, according to the Emmons Lab at University of California-Davis. The study showed gratitude pays off: Grateful folks reported higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, and optimism and lower levels of depression and stress.

Practical answers for tough business questions.

Question: Do you sell statuary in your store? how do you train your staff to talk intelligently about Hindu and Buddhist deities? There are so many! We carry Buddha, Ganesh, Shiva, Kuan Yin, and Green Tara, but even those are challenging for new sales people. Truth is, I would like to order a larger variety, but I don’t really understand them all myself. Any suggestions?

RE-Sources for Success in Business from the RE-Doctor, James Wanless

The "RE Doctor," James Wanless, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized author, dynamic speaker and coach, innovative futurist, and expert in personal sustainability. In our six-video series, he shares his insights into RE-ing your life and business. For more on RE-ing your way to sustainable success, check out "The RE Rules" on p. 56 of the December 2013/January 2014 issue of Retailing Insight.

How to Upload and Edit Videos on YouTube

In our four-part video series, we’ll show you step by step how to upload and edit videos in YouTube.

For tips on creating share-worthy videos, check out our article, "Share-worthy," on p. 68 of the October/November 2013 issue of Retailing Insight.

Part 1: How to upload your video

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: I am applying for a small Business Administration loan to start my store, and they want me to submit a marketing plan that states my local demographics and who my target customer will be. I am finding this hard to do. We plan to appeal to all ages from young children to adults and men as well as women, so how do I narrow this down?

Seasonal Traditions Light Up The World

Seasonal Traditions Light Up The World

Midwinter is a time to make merry. We come together and share feasts of food, song, and dance. We visit neighbors and friends and spread our wishes for peace and prosperity. To dispel winter darkness, we practice ancient rituals of lighting candles, remembering virtues, cherishing our communities, and enjoying the magic of the solstice time as the earth turns once again toward the sun.

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: Last year was our third year in business and we did well over the holidays with sales increasing about 3 percent over the previous year. I can’t help but wonder, though, if I was too conservative in my buying, because we ran out of many things, and I think we missed sales because of it.

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: Do you have rules about employees surfing the Internet and/or using cell phones? It seems to me my sales people are always “just quickly checking email” or “sending a fast text” if I question what they are doing on the computer or their phone when I walk onto the sales floor.

Jingle Sells

Jingle Sells

All year long, retailers gear up for the customer traffic and healthy sales that are the promise of the holiday season. Experienced retailers know to display their new product early to give their customers a jump on holiday buying. They have learned the sooner they capture customers’ attention with a great selection of quality merchandise and exciting reasons to shop in their store, the sooner they will receive their share of shoppers’ holiday spending budgets.

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