Insights on a New Museum Store as Part of a Major Museum Expansion

August 22, 2016

Is your institution considering a new store or store re-model? There are countless decisions that go into executing the design of a new museum store. Whether managing critical conversations with administrators and architects, or grasping the key issues and facts to consider when assessing a significant change in a store’s design and layout, careful planning is your key to success.

It has been almost a year since we completed a 50,000 foot new wing at the Columbus Museum of Art which includes our new 2,000 sq. ft. Museum Store. Below is a briefing on our process and some of the early results.

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Merchandise Themes for a Focused Museum Store

August 1, 2016

Museum Stores in the 21st Century reflect their times as assertively as they do their disciplines.   The dynamic ways your store can propel your institution’s energy and heritage in the marketplace will be evident in a finely focused merchandise assortment.  Supported by key factors including customer service, ambiance, merchandising and signage, your carefully curated merchandise selection contributes to making your store a unique, valued, and essential destination for partisans of your institution and beyond. An excellent way to focus your product assortment is to develop clear merchandise themes.
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Youth Friends Friendship Technology Together Concept

What’s in Store For Stores

May 23, 2016

If you read trade journals and newspapers, you start to get the feeling the future of retail may be dramatically shaped by two things: technology and the Millennials.  If Walgreens is now located at the corner of Happy and Healthy, then future retail will soon live at the corner of Technology and Millennial. It pretty apparent that technology and Millennials go hand-in-hand.

Okay, I know, yet another blog musing on the affect Millennials may have on the future, but stick with me on this.  So far, many of the predictions made about the Millennial’s impact have been surprisingly accurate. Read more


Technologies That Will Shape the Future

May 9, 2016

If you’re regular reader of this blog, you know we like to try to guess the future of retail. Of course no one can predict the future, but that’s never stopped us from trying. A recent article on the Chain Store Age website, Study: Three Technologies That Will Shape Retail and One That Won’t, took a look at a study that tries to predict the future of retail for the next 10 years.

Of course the study was conducted by Ovum, a technology company commissioned by Criteo, which is also a technology marketing company, so it focused only on technology.   Included in the study was Hyper-Connectivity, Wearables, Augmented Reality, and 3-D printing. Read more

heap of dollars and coins money

The Perils of Pricing

April 4, 2016

Boutique grocer, Trader Joe’s recently reported that they would be reducing prices.  This is in response to a new pricing strategy announced by Whole Foods… or as they are sometimes referred to – Whole Paycheck.  While Whole Foods has thrived over the years despite their reputation as being the pricey alternative, even they aren’t immune to the risks they face by losing price-sensitive shoppers.

In retail, correctly pricing the items in your store is both the key to your profit, and probably your biggest minefield.  Obviously, you have to set a price with enough margin to cover your operating expenses and hopefully show a profit at the end of the year.  But if you price too high, you’ll be babysitting the items on your shelves for a long time. Read more

Marketing word cloud concept on white background

I Hate Marketing


March 14, 2016

I’m not ashamed to admit it, but I hate marketing. On the surface, marketing sounds like it should be fun.  You know, coming up with fun slogans or filling balloons with helium and tying them to the front door, or maybe creating a cool sign with some flashy graphics.  You know, marketing… like they do on Madison Avenue.

When you’re doing marketing you get to tap into your inner Mad Men.  Of course, after you try it, you begin to understand why Don Draper drank a little too much. Read more

Business People Corporate Walking Travel Office Concept

5 Ways to Increase Foot Traffic

March 7, 2016

Have you ever noticed how many people walk by your store and don’t come in? Does it bother you? Of course it does. No one who has ever managed a retail operation is comfortable with traffic that passes them by. It’s like having a party and no one comes. For stores that are contained within a museum or an institution, it’s easy to feel like you’re doing something wrong if your numbers don’t reflect a sizable portion of the general admissions.

Increasing your foot traffic is one of the primary ways of maximizing profitability for your store. Profitability begins with feet through the door. So let’s look at five ways that you can increase your foot traffic, without breaking the bank. Read more

Vintage Typewriter With Phrase "A long time ago..." Typed in Blue Paper


February 22, 2016

It’s been said that you should write about what you know.  Occasionally, I have been accused that I don’t know what I am talking about, but in truth all of us are experts in some way or another.  If you do your job well, you’re probably an expert.  If you’ve been doing what you do for a while and have developed good methods to do what you do, you’re an expert.  This can be writing, managing people, cleaning, budgeting, working with customers, curating items for your store, and on and on. Read more


10 Ideas You Should Steal

January 25, 2016

In 1970, the King of the counterculture, Abbie Hoffman, wrote, Steal This Book. It was a guide to survival in time of change. It’s now 2016 and times are a changing. It’s time to steal some ideas.

Every industry has unique ways of doing business. Many of these ideas translate well to the retail business. So here are a few ideas that you can steal to help your store survive in the ever-changing world of noprofit retail. Read more


Coffee for Millennials

I recently ordered some coffee from the Death Wish Coffee Company.  I’m not kidding. This new company is quickly establishing itself in the market, particularly among younger buyers  including the fast-growing Millennial generation. Death Wish is a long way from the Folgers that Mrs. Olson pitched on TV back in the 1970s. Like many companies, coffee sellers are changing the way they package and market their products to appeal to the new wave of younger buyers.

With a logo that includes a skull and cross bones the coffee they sell pushes the limits of caffeine, nearly doubling the standard dose included in most store brands. This coffee is, well… serious. And I suspect Millennials will soon make it their brand of choice. Read more