Effective and profitable stores are notoriously easy to shop, with merchandise arranged and lit within reach of the customers, and displayed in a logical and attractive manner. Clutter and dust are the enemies of creating a successful selling environment. No matter how high quality and interesting, the appeal of your home décor items, gifts, apparel, jewelry, plush and toys is lost on shoppers if they must try and navigate through disorganization and poor planning.
So, how do you take your many merchandise categories and create an oasis for customers from the everyday world? In this issue, we offer a wealth of ideas to help you make the most of what you are selling by reaching out to and connecting with shoppers.
In the Apparel section, there are stories on increasing sales at college bookstores, resorts and science and nature museums. And our Carts and Kiosks feature examines how the holiday mood is enhanced with properly cared for specialty retail units in malls and shopping centers.
In the Hospital Shops section, Contributor Marilyn Nason looks at how St. Patrick’s Day and Easter factor into buying decisions. And for the first time, Nason examines the wedding market at party stores, which is a growing and profitable category.
Home décor and inspirational stores are a perfect fit, and our feature looks at how these shops draw in a community in search of artwork, furnishings and accessories. In the Jewelry section, we cover beach stores, battlefields, Hallmark shops and zoo and aquarium souvenir outlets. And our Minor League Baseball feature examines the tailgating merchandise category.
Twice a year, the magazine brings you the Profiles in Excellence section, and the winter installment appears in this issue. The profiles offer snapshots of many of the top vendors in the industry, companies that are also advertisers in this edition.
I am also pleased to present a special section covering the Organization of Associated Salespeople in the Southwest (OASIS) trade shows. As a complement to the OASIS section, you can read a story about the hugely popular Southwest merchandise category. The piece features interviews with store owners, buyers and other retail officials at shops in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, California and Connecticut.
Additionally in this edition, there are stories on licensed plush and toys, merchandise priced at $10 and under at national park shops and choosing gifts to match new temporary and permanent exhibits at zoos and aquariums.
I also hope you enjoy the Smoky Mountain Gift Show and IGES show photos and the coverage of the November Living Legends Association cocktail party and awards event, which featured me as a speaker and honored retiring SGN Publisher Emeritus and advertising sales executive Janice Weiss along with rep Terry Hilton. Urban Expositions, the new owners of the Smoky Mountain Gift Show, is revitalizing the event and showing a commitment to work with IGES, as they did with buses and badges in 2011, which will help the two shows as they strive to offer the best possible experience for buyers and vendors.
If you have comments, questions or suggestions regarding the issue, please don't hesitate to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scott C. Borowsky
President and Executive Editor
SOUVENIRS, GIFTS AND NOVELTIES MAGAZINE
“Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren't used to an environment where excellence is expected.”