Dealing with Dogs: How to Handle Non-Moving Merchandise

June 4, 2015

It caught your eye at the trade show and  you placed a good sized order for your store. Now, eight months later great item is gathering dust on your shelf.  It not as eye catching as you once thought.  How do you unload the dogs in your inventory?  More importantly, how many non-sellers  can your store support before it becomes a serious issue for your bottom-line? Read more


2015 Conference & Expo Helps Attendees Visualize Opportunities

April 21, 2015

Photo: Roderick Buchanan from The British Museum, addresses the crowd during his opening keynote, “Is There a Silver Bullet?”

The 2015 MSA Retail Conference & Expo wrapped up this week with a hard-hitting closing keynote address by award-winning photographer Dick Durrance. “Visualize the opportunities that surround you, and then the actions that will transform your dreams into reality,” he said while our jaws dropped over his breath taking photos from around the world.

The Hartford conference was successful for many reasons— a sold out expo floor, many new vendor members, hundreds of returning MSA members and plenty new ones. MSA was worked hard to ensure the caliber of speakers as well as the content they delivered. Whether the speakers talked about leadership, business planning, marketing or store design, they consistently reinforced the message that this conference was about nonprofit retail professionals and the importance of their contributions to their organizations. Read more


Creating Signs Customers Will Read

February 19, 2015
We’ve all done it. Asked a question of a sales clerk only to have them point to the sign in front of us that has the answer we were looking for. That’s because we were on autopilot and since there was someone right there that we could ask, our brain stopped trying to find the answer any other way.

How many signs do you have on your selling floor right now? Are they all necessary? Are any beyond their ‘due date’ and should be taken down? Do they all coordinate with each other? The more signs you have up, and the more disparate the sign designs, the more likely your customers won’t read any of them. Their brains will simply bypass the signs because it takes too much time and energy to make sense of them.

With well-designed signage—signs that are simple and consistent in design—you can actually train the customer to read and (quickly) interpret your signs. Read more

trees growing on coins

Donating Unwanted Inventory Can Yield Tax Advantages

January 26, 2015
Most companies seem to have excessive pallets of merchandise that is either overstock or past dated. It’s taking up space that could be better used and benefit others.

There is an easy way to rid your organization of that unwanted stock and reap the benefits on many levels. Product philanthropy is aimed at C Corporations yet many of them have never even heard of this section of the tax code.

According to IRC Section 170(e) (3), when C Corps donate their inventory to qualified nonprofits, they can receive a federal tax deduction equal to up to twice the cost of the donated products. Read more


Handling the Unhappy Customer

December 5, 2014

As Christmas approaches, something else is close – the day after Christmas. And that means bargain hunters, crowded stores, long lines and after Christmas returns. You know the drill, you smile as you unlock the front door and greet the happy customers who will visit you today. Then reality hits you, an upset customer demands satisfaction.  Welcome to the days after Christmas when everyone’s in a bad mood.

We’re all busy, mom’s working, dad’s working and kids are in day care or school.  At the end of the work day it’s a mad rush to get Suzie to Girl Scouts and Timmy to basketball. Never mind that you’re tired, you still have to make dinner and do laundry, not to mention help with their homework before you can finally relax. No wonder we’re cranky. Read more


Creating a Trend Wall

November 21, 2014

Everyone loves to know what the latest trends are—whether it’s in fashion, color, home décor, food, or technology. So why not create a trend wall in your gift shop and feature some of the products that you sell? Read more

The Male Museum Store Customer

If you are a retailer you know that there is no single way to increase sales from male museum visitors. As a retailer you have tried different things to get men to buy but have not found a consistent solution. This dilemma can be understood potentially solved by looking back to our ancestral roots: men are hunters and women are gatherers.

Four out of five women shop like gatherers, browsing until they find what they want at a price they want to pay. Women regard shopping as a form of leisure and are happy to roam until they can gather what they want. Men, on the other hand, approach shopping as a mission. Upwards of 70 percent of men know exactly what they want before going shopping, they know where to shop and they go straight for the kill when they get there. Read more

chazan store for blog

The Chazan Museum of Art Shop

The Chazen Museum of Art, located on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, underwent a major expansion and remodel project that opened in Fall 2011. Unfortunately, while the store was given a bigger space, it continued to operate in the red and was not able to find its voice or leverage the added media attention or visitorship into an increase in revenue. The store was disorganized, both in the sense of product selection and how that product was merchandised. I came on as museum shop manager in November 2013. Within a week of taking on the retail management for the Chazen I knew I had a huge challenge ahead of me. Read more


Five Festive Holiday Decoration Themes For the 2014 Holiday Season

If you haven’t already, it’s time to start considering your holiday decorations for 2014.

Who doesn’t like a little seasonal sparkle to set the mood for holiday shopping?

With that in mind, here are five trends for the 2014 holiday season, ranging from formal, to more natural. Take your pick for what bests suits your shop style! Read more

Row of colorful shopping bags isolated on white background

5 Tips to Branding Your Shop

Who doesn’t love a great shopping bag? Like the treasures within, having your purchase wrapped up in beautiful gift paper, or put in a fun bag with a large graphic on the side can delight you and solidify a great shopping experience. Great packaging is also a key to strengthening brand identity and can have tremendous promotional impact.

Here are five ways to get the most out of your branded packaging. Read more