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J ANUARY  2 0 1 2

c o m m e n t a r y

Engaging Customers' Senses in an Abstract World

With so much time and energy spent in the virtual world, it can be easy to forget the simple pleasures of engaging the senses. A good-smelling candle, a melodic CD or a creatively lit display in your store can remind customers how much fun shopping in a “real” environment can be. In this issue, we offer an abundance of tips and advice on how to enhance the shopping experience so your customers will both spread the word about your store’s offerings and come back again and again. The magazine covers the broad spectrum of price ranges in today's merchandise universe, everything from better gifts and other higher-end products to goods in the value-price category.

In a special Candles and Scented Merchandise section, we examine candles and scented products at Hallmark stores and offer six top tips for buying and displaying this type of merchandise. Country stores also conjure of images of aromas and sights, from the smell of sweets and apples to the look of burlap, leather and tin. In the magazine’s Country Giftware at Country Stores section, our contributor discusses the sale of nostalgic merchandise at these unique shops, which are bucking the chain-store trend.

In a changed economy, offering necessities such as apparel can make a real difference in a shop’s bottom line. In our Apparel section, we cover selling wearables at seaside and beach shops and doing well with T-shirts at college bookstores. The college story includes the special bonus Five Top Tips for Buying the Right T-shirts.

Jewelry is another strong category that makes a highly portable souvenir and a memorable gift. The 600,000 annual visitors to Graceland in Memphis, Tenn., are active jewelry purchasers, our story found, and contribute to strong sales at 15 themed stores, including a store devoted strictly to jewelry and collectibles. We also feature stories on jewelry sales at carts and kiosks and at pet supply shops and boutiques.

Sports-themed gifts and souvenirs tap into the loyalty of fans of all ages and both genders. In our Minor League Baseball section, we examine the most popular licensed fan merchandise, and in a special Sports Museums and Halls of Fame feature, we look at the best-selling souvenirs and gifts. We also cover licensed apparel and gift sales at sports-fan stores around the country.

We also offer a preview of the Halloween & Party Expo along with a look at selling Halloween supplies at party stores. In the Hospital store section we present an overview of the sale of merchandise for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduation season. And our Inspirational Products feature examines the impact of online shopping on traditional stores.

This issue also covers pet gifts, independent toy stores, Native American-made products at national park shops and display and lighting, name-dropped merchandise and plush and toys at zoos and aquariums.

Special sections in this issue include stories and news from the International Gift Exposition in the Smokies®/Souvenir Super Show® and the National Association of Retail Buyers (NARB).

I hope you enjoy the issue. Please email me at with your comments, questions and suggestions.

Scott C. Borowsky
President and Executive Editor

“Time is your most important resource. You can do so much in 10 minutes. Ten minutes, once gone, is gone for good.”
–Ingvar Kamprad, IKEA founder

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