Saturday, December 25, 2004

Retail success story: Keepsake Corner

You can turn your hobby into a successful retail store. Consider Keepsake Corner, one of the first scrapbooking hobby stores in America. An article in the Quad City Times explains that owner Cathi Farwell now has two stores (in Illinois and Iowa) and also a small manufacturing operation making scrapbook supplies. Yes, the business has a website.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Newsflash: your competition isn't stupid

Adam Hanft over at Inc. magazine says that businesses should try to learn from the strengths of their competitors ... but don't because we think they're stupid. They're not, of course. And if you don't learn from your retail store's competition, those other stores might eat your lunch.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Retail niches

The Miami Herald takes a look at specialty stores and the niches they carve out for themselves. Kuma toy bears store is highlighted in the article.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Vermont retailers in e-commerce

A few days ago we linked an article about small retailers in Tennessee that are succeeding on the web. Now comes an article from the Times Argus about Vermonters expanding their businesses with e-commerce. Vermont stores are selling car-racks, tires (!), Apple computers and ... of course ... maple syrup.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Retail success story: A Bathing Ape

What makes an international retail success? A brand with mystique and exclusivity. Fashion, savvy marketing and bright sneakers have brought A Bathing Ape from Japan to New York City.

Transactional and relational customers

An interesting blog entry at Wizard of Ads about transactional customers (bargain hunters), relational customers (buy on trust, loyalty and "gut") and a recent study by MIT. Viewing yourself as a portfolio of customers, not product lines. Best Buy is cutting back on promotions that attract transactional customers. Who do you market to?

Monday, December 20, 2004

Day in the life of a retail manager

This is nothing surprising to anyone who's worked in retail, but I thought I'd post this profile of the day in the life of a retail manager anyway. A big thank you to retailers everywhere who work so hard during the hectic Christmas season!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Doing well doing good

Stores are hoping to do well by urging shoppers to do good. This Christmas season, Americans are the focus of a different kind of retail marketing: kinder, gentler campaigns that appeal to the emotions as well as people's oft-stated wish to share with the less fortunate. The retail marketing campaigns also provide a new incentive for customers to visit the stores. The Gap, Build-a-Bear, and Brooks Brothers are 3 retailers cited in this New York Times article. Paco Underhill says stores are hoping to wrap themselves in a mantle that distinguishes them. Just as Whole Foods has wrapped itself in the mantle of organic, chemical-free food, this season's retailers are trying to identify themselves with charity. A significant part of our nation is getting older, and as people get older, they get less interested in sex and more interested in spirituality.

Retail success story - JasmineSola

JasmineSola knows what women want. The eight-unit reail chain has plans to open 12 stores in the next 18 months in New England. The hip boutique targets teens and twentysomethings with its cool selection of apparel, shoes, and accessories. Unlike other specialty chains like Ann Taylor and Gap which promote their own brands, JasmineSola dishes up an ever-changing lineup of approximately 200 labels all under one roof. Result: an average $800 in sales per square foot. Sales at its high-traffic stores at Boston's Prudential Center mall and the Mall at Chestnut Hill in Newton have topped $1,400 a square foot. Article from the Boston Globe. The JasmineSola website has photos of the stores and the merchandise.

Solo 401(k)

If you don't plan for your retirement, no one else will. The Solo 401(k) is a special retirement plan for sole practitioners such as store owners which allows for pretax salary deferral contributions. The plan, also called the Uni(k), Single(k), Personal(k) or Individual 401(k), is filling an obvious hole in many people's plans and grabbing significant market share. Read about it in Forbes. Manage your future as well as you manage your store.