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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: November 2009

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Choosing the right Christmas music, a happy medium for personalized Christmas cards, a super-delivery service for snowy Oregon, and the wisdom of taking vendor fast-payment discounts.

 

Lingering Tunes

CHOOSE RIGHT The art of choosing the right songs in your store can be a counterintuitive one. With a lot of people still hurting financially, the best option is “happy” music rather than nostalgic Christmas carols. ?Depending on the demographics of your customers, this could be something  like “Every Day is a Holiday With You” by Esthero, says Leanne Flask, of the branding firm DMX. Bottom line: Make your customers feel comfortable and they will linger, she told the Associated Press.



E-card Mail

SURF & SEND Not looking forward to writing and mailing hundreds of Christmas cards, but you’d still rather send something more personal than a mass e-mail? Use a service like SendOutCards.com. You log on, choose a card, write your message and hit send. SendOutCards prints it, stuffs it and mails it, all for less than a greeting card.



Modern-day Sleigh

DELIVER The week before Christmas last year, a snowstorm blanketed Portland, OR. That wasn’t going to stop Carl Greve Jewelers from doing business with its customers. The 85-year-old store rolled out a four-wheel-drive shipping service to deliver Christmas purchases. “Scary? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely!” says store president Tim Greve, adding that it made this customer a “holiday hero” on Christmas morning. 



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Teetotal Networker

DESIGNATE YOURSELF It’s party season, which means it’s networking season. And a good way to take full advantage of the opportunities to mingle, mix and meet potential customers is to volunteer to be the designated driver for your social circle. That removes a huge headache for partygoers and ensures you’ll get invited to many events, says networking guru Keith Ferrazzi, co-author of Never Eat Alone.



Low Interest Times

TAKE THE DISCOUNT Taking advantage of vendor discounts for fast payment has always been a good policy. The near historically low interest rates being offered on savings deposits at the moment make it even smarter. Laurie Owen notes that by not taking the discount, which is typically 2 percent for paying in the first 10 days, you’re effectively paying 2 percent for each of the remaining 20-day cycles in the year (18 in all). That’s an annualized interest rate of 36 percent! Compared to the 1 percent you might get for cash sitting in your bank account, they are some serious savings.



Make ’em Smile

GET BEHIND A CART Robert Sandelman, who died aged 81 in mid-September, was one of the founders of “sales promotions” and made his name doing things like putting magicians in the waiting lines of supermarkets and selling Royal gelatin in the produce aisle along with a coupon for fruit. Two beliefs drove his work: Get people in a good frame of mind, and they’re likely to buy more (hence the magicians), and consumer research. Sandelman liked to approach shoppers while pushing a cart down the aisle to ask their opinions of products (which inspired the gelatin idea). 



Heel Halving

SHORTEN Got a pair of 4-inch high heels you’d love to wear but don’t because of the toll they take on your feet? Trim down those heels. Shoe-repair specialists can shorten most stilettos by up to half an inch and still maintain the shoe’s original pitch and alignment for between $8 and $15. Even a quarter inch can make a difference to reduce the pressure on the ball of your foot. This story is from the November 2009 edition of INSTORE

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