Welcome to the All Things Retail Newsletter

News, Best Practices & the Evolution of Physical & Digital Retailing

Consumer habits and expectations are changing faster than ever, and retailers need to keep up! Our hope is this newsletter will provide not only curated retail news, research and trends, but also actionable content on best practices developed over 30+ years of experience. We will only consider ourselves successful if we add meaningful value to your business, regardless if it’s large or small, physical or digital … we are here for all retailers!

We don’t want to overload your inbox, so All Things Retail will be published once a week on Tuesdays. Please feel free to share any feedback, comments and questions you may have as we want to ensure our content is as valuable to our readers as possible. Oh, it would be great if you could share with friends in the retail business as well!

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Competitive Differentiation for Retailers

It’s an old but true saying, “Retail is Detail”. There are literally a ton of moving parts that need to be managed to ensure success for any retail business. For physical retailers there is store location, design & layout, occupancy costs, staff coverage, and more. For online sellers, the “details” include user experience, shipping costs & accuracy, and more. All merchants must address product assortment, in-stock rates, pricing, customer acquisition costs and more. You get the point!

All of this said, there is one huge opportunity to separate your retail business from the rest of the pack, and that is CUSTOMER SERVICE. Every retailer preaches great service, but the reality is most are horrible about taking good care of their guests. Employees are often poorly trained, marginally motivated, lacking in product knowledge and generally disinterested in their jobs. When was the last time you were in a store or on a website and thought to yourself “wow, what a great experience!”? Therein lies the opportunity. Any retailer who can provide “good” (not even “great”) guest service will stand out above the crowd. The bar is truly that low.

Motivating your team to achieve this standard is not easy, but the effort will pay huge dividends. I always found that the first step in accomplishing any goal, including superior service, begins with ensuring your expectations are clear and understood by all. To that end, I wrote the following about 16 years ago. It certainly is not a solution unto itself, but rather a starting point to adjust behaviors that would require constant training, follow up and feedback (good and constructive criticism). But it worked! Take a look:

“As a member of our team, you play a critical role in the future of Celebrations! You will be challenged to complete a variety of tasks as part of your job, all with the goal of making our customer’s shopping experience an exceptional one! You will be responsible for doing many things beyond the Basic Expectations listed below. However, if you are to truly add value to our business, it is extremely important that you understand and execute these items all of the time. 

Customer Service


Read and understand the Customer Service Guidelines brochure. Address all questions you may have to any member of management or any other team member.

Greet every customer! Smile, make eye contact and say “hi”. Never let a customer pass you by without acknowledging them!

Take customers to the item they are requesting! Hand them the item, never point. Suggest alternative options if we do not have the exact product!

Always suggest tie-in items (birthday candles with party plates; tape with gift wrap; candy, stick and blind fold with Piñatas, crayons with coloring books, etc.)!

Cashiers must always call for an additional register to open before there are four people in line.

Cashiers must always swipe the customers Celebrations! Savings Club card at the beginning of every transaction.

If the customer does not have one, always suggest a customer signs up for our Celebrations! Savings Club! It’s free! Please note it is critical to get the customer’s e-mail address when signing them up. We are sending coupons and special offers via e-mail only

Thank the customer (by name if your know it) and invite them to come back soon!

Ensure you are familiar with our various programs and discounts so you can accurately communicate them to customers: