Saturday, January 29, 2005

Retail marketing strategy: the huge teen market

The current crop of teenagers is the largest population group to come along since the Baby Boom. And they've got money to spend ($175 billion last year). Read about some techniques retailers are using to attract the teen shoppers.

If you're targeting the teen market, your strategy better include staying on the "edge" of trends. Be prepared to dump losers and constantly add the newest hot items or you'll soon be yesterday's news. All teen spending is fashion spending.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Retail management: buying at trade shows

Buying the right inventory is a critical retail management issue. An article from the Tri-City Herald about the Western and English Apparel and Equipment Market includes some tips about how to make the most of trade shows:
  1. Learn about new trends.
  2. Stick to a budget ... don't get caught up in the excitement and order more than you can sell.
  3. Look for something new that fits your niche ... promotable items drive sales!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Retail business: collectible camera niche

About 12 years ago, Sandy Ritz started selling via a catalog the cameras he'd collected. Ritz Collectible Cameras now has a store in Arizona and keeps 5 employees busy filling orders from the Internet. His niche is film cameras. Visit his website at

Niches are great. Even in an industry that's rapidly changing technology, there's plenty of business for a small retailer specializing in the old technology.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Book review: Category Killers

Jake Batsell has written a review of the book Category Killers: The Retail Revolution and Its Impact on Consumer Culture in the Seattle Times. The new book is by Robert Spector.
After dispensing with the case studies, Spector leads the reader on a journey through 20th-century retail history, chronicling the rise of department stores and enclosed malls and their subsequent loss of market share to big-box chains. Writing in an accessible style that largely avoids business jargon, he provides a glimpse of what shoppers may see more of in the future: scaled-down stores in mixed-use and open-air retail settings.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Starting a retail business: a general store

You don't have to start from scratch to own your own retail business. Kenn Basler revived a general store in Monterey, MA.

Retail marketing strategy: emotion

Anthropologie sells stories. Restoration Hardware and Williams-Sonoma sell lifestyles. This article calls it guerilla marketing. It offers several examples of smaller retailers too. The "Kuma attitude" offers old feelings of emotion with an urban style.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Retail marketing: sales tax break

At Captain Bucko's Cigars, owner Duane Conover is paying the sales tax himself on all merchandise his customers buy through the end of January at his store.

"I've been in sales, marketing, PR all of my life, and a lot of different businesses do that, pay for taxes," said Conover, who also works as a salesman for Darvin Furniture in Orland.

"We're all looking down the barrel here with taxes, so I decided to do this. I lose 6 percent off the top, but I'm making a lot of friends. If people buy a box of cigars for $150, it's a savings. It's been such a good stimulant for business that I might carry this through to the end of February."
6% is a pretty small discount, but it makes a big impression because he's paying your taxes. That's smart retail marketing. This promotion would work particularly well around tax day April. Captain Bucko's has an entertaining website.

Tiny retailers get started in indoor flea market

The indoor flea market in Napanoch is home to 100 little retailers. Low overhead helps groundfloor entrepreneurs sell groceries, chocolates, meat and cheese, sports collectibles, fresh baked goods, tools, new and used furniture, and clothing. There's even jewelry repair while you wait. About half the merchandise offered there is new. Many of the sellers are retired or have other jobs during the week.

The "public market" has always been a worthwhile concept. Grouping lots of tiny retail businesses in one low-overhead place draws crowds of shopper and helps new businesses get started.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Small business technology makeover winner

Microsoft and Dell awarded the owners of Fawcett Boat Supplies of Annapolis, Md., the first of two grand prizes from a national Microsoft small business technology makeover contest. Fawcett Boat Supplies was chosen from among 195 national entries to receive up to $75,000 worth of Dell hardware and Microsoft software, along with local IT consulting services from RelianceNet IT Experts to assist in its business analysis, technology design, installation and training.
The winner, voted Favorite Boating Supply Store by Chesapeake Bay Magazine readers for the past four years, has supplied sailors and boatyards with advice and yachting equipment since 1948. Fawcett Boat Supplies offers more than 20,000 items to more than 8,000 retail and 5,000 commercial customers across the United States and the Caribbean. The technology makeover is designed to continue the company's success by improving employee communication, data and hardware sharing, information security, and Internet access.

"Technology will literally revolutionize our business; we'll go from zero to 60 in a blink of an eye," said Steve Ripley, co-president and owner of Fawcett Boat Supplies with his brother Tom. "The biggest impact can literally be expressed in one word: collaboration. This makeover will enable employees to collaborate more efficiently and effectively, internally and with our customers."