Continuous Improvement

July 18, 2015

The management system that helped Japan radically overhaul their entire manufacturing process more than fifty years ago may be just the ticket to keep your museum store on the cutting edge. Often referred to as the Continuous Improvement Process (CIP) or Total Quality System (TQS), this management style has been successfully adopted by companies – both large and small – across the United States. The essence of Continuous Improvement is actually quite simple and can be a valuable tool for managing a museum store. Read more

Technology for the End of the Analog World



July 12, 2015

If the VCR in your living room is still flashing 12:00, then ever-changing  retail technology  is bound to be more daunting than ever.  Even by replacing of that old VCR with a snazzy new version of video-on-demand, the technology merry-go-round may still pose a challenging hill to climb.

Like it or not, technology is has become an integrated part of every retail operation.  What started out years ago as simply a souped-up version of the traditional cash register has evolved into a multi point POS system that can control virtually every facet of the store from the front door to the loading dock. Obviously, as a store operator, the challenge is to keep everyone on your team up-to-date and ready for whatever changes are around the corner.  Sometimes, that’s easier said than done.  You may have hired someone for their unmatched people skills, but now you face helping them adapt to whatever new system updates are close at hand. Read more

The Male Museum Store Customer

July 6, 2015

by Andrew Andoniadis

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 potentially be solved by looking back to our ancestral roots: men are hunters and women are gatherers. Read more

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