By Moe Lastfogel
Director of Sales and Marketing for The Retail Observer
What is green and looks like a tree? A tree of course, unless you have a vivid imagination at the dinner table and you take a good look at broccoli. I never looked at it that way until one day my daughter said, “Look Daddy, I’m eating trees”. Beside the fact that kids are cute and say the darnedest things, they can really open your eyes to see the world around you in a new light.
As a retailer, it is important not to lose the ability to look at your business, your competitors, and the industry with fresh new eyes. I encourage you to regularly take the time to step out of your shoes and drive up to your showroom, surf your website or take a look at your marketing materials (ads, flyers, etc.) as a new customer. Afterwards, evaluate what you perceived. Is this how you want your business to be portrayed?
Another great exercise is to drive around town and see what your competitors are doing. Especially those businesses with cars parked in front of it. Look beyond prices; take a note of how they handle customers, their use of in-store signage, their online reputation, etc. Are you doing these things better or could you improve in areas?
When you critically take a look at your business do you see a flourishing tree that bears profitable fruit? If not, it is time to nurture your tree so it bears enticing fruit that consumers will want to pick from. Think about it, when you go to the produce store, which apple do you pick: The nice shiny Granny Smith or the one in the corner that is bruised and oddly shaped? Most likely you’d pick the shiny one and with good reason – it’s the most appealing. Are you the most appealing option to your customers, does your marketing make you shine, and most importantly, would you buy from you?
If you can’t answer yes to the last question, then maybe your apple is bruised and it’s time to look at how to bring that polish back. I’m not saying that you necessarily have to tear down the tree and plant a new seed. Although that may be the solution at times, most often a little elbow grease and polish, a nice basket, and maybe a ribbon or two can make your apple shine above the rest.
In the coming year, The Retail Observer will be bringing you new writers and new sections that we feel will help you see your store in a different light so you can grow a stronger tree in the orchard with much more enticing fruit from which to pick.
By Eliana Barriga
Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
Living is giving, and people love to give because it feels good. Giving is an act of selflessness and a dedication to contributing to the joy of others. In a nutshell— giving lifts spirits and makes people happy!
For many, giving has become not only a mission, but a family holiday tradition. Giving is a way to reconnect with our inner selves. By helping others, our perspective shifts and fills us with an abundant source of gratitude. Giving back is a wonderful practice that delivers joy to the giver—and benefit to the receiver. Giving back is a commitment I wish for my family to adopt and continue to pass down for generations to come.
Through the transformative gift of giving, we also learn how to receive. It is important to let others do things for you. Sometimes receiving can be awkward or uncomfortable. Some people have a much easier time giving than receiving. A dear friend taught me how to receive. When I would deflect a compliment, he would say “Excuse me, but in my country we say ‘thank you’ when complimented.” So, maybe it's as good a time as any to open up to receive.
Many people use organizations like The Giving Pledge (www.givingpledge.org) or The Giving Circle (givingcirclesfund.org)—a form of participatory philanthropy where groups of individuals donate their own money or time to a pooled fund and decide together where to donate to community projects. Giving circles can be small and informal, with a few people pooling their money and giving it to a chosen local charity or family in need; making charitable giving more rewarding and fun.
Being generous and kind encourages us to perceive others in a more positive light and fosters a sense of community, a feeling of interconnectedness.
So, no matter if you have a lot or not very much; there is always someone who is more in need than you. Always try to give, even if it is just a little, especially this holiday season.
Share the love—start giving!