John's Intro

Have you seen who is writing in The Resource lately?  18 months ago, we launched The Resource with the goal of providing “actionable ideas” for retailers to implement in their stores. The staff consisted of hard working members of the OneCoast Team. Marc Dudley, Director of Visual Merchandising, Nora Chapman, Vice President of Sales, Majda Rensberger, Director of Marketing, and others. You may have noticed that recently we have replaced some of our OneCoast contributors with industry experts such as Becky Tyre of the Retail Details blog. She has a wonderful perspective on merchandising and continues to share some excellent advice.  She has proven to be a great addition to The Resource and look forward to her many more contributions in the future.

Starting this edition, you will be seeing some new experts sharing their wisdom and advice.  Patricia Norins, Publisher of Gift Shop Magazine, will be sharing tips on increasing impulse buying within your store and Lindsay Phillips who will be highlighting fashion trends for the season. In our popular Retailer Showcase article, we feature Parkleigh Gift Shop in Rochester, NY who will share their insights in driving business with impulse buys.  

I hope you like the articles and the contributions of our new contributing authors.  From impulse buying and cash-wrap successes to fall fashion trends, this month is full of “actionable ideas”.  We will continue to work hard at providing you with valuable information that you can put to use in your store today.  If you want to email me with any ideas or suggestions, please email me at  And as always…..THANKS FOR READING!  


Buying On Impulse

By Becky Tyre, Journalist and owner of the Retail Details blog
An impulse buy is an unplanned decision to buy a product, made just prior the purchase. In this issue, we will explore ideas for displaying products so that they are positioned as add-on sales.

Impulse items are frequently under $20. This display of scarves at Soulmates shows a large selection and the price is clearly displayed. The merchandising also shows a scarf on a mannequin to demonstrate its value as an add-on accessory.

Point-of-purchase items are usually displayed in the area surrounding a cash register. Customers can view the products while they are in line to pay or notice them during the checkout process. Many manufacturers provide point-of-purchase displays that include signage explaining the product uses, like these totes sold at Swell Dwell.
Shown here are two Poo-Pourri displays. One is a display constructed at Scrub Bath and Body, intended to be a conversation starter and the other is a point-of-purchase display from the manufacturer. Both are designed to tell the customer more about the product to generate an impulse sale.
Second to candy, retailers report that jewelry is the most popular impulse purchase. At Clothes Hound they use this clever “fingers” display to encourage customers to try on a ring at the register.

At St. John’s Auxiliary Gift Shop, they have several jewelry spinners in their checkout area. A jewelry showcase is also one of the counters used to create their cashwrap area.
Positioning candles by the register offers an added benefit, since customers may smell them while standing in line. Candles, like jewelry, are ideal for impulse buys since they are purchased for gifts and for one’s self. At Beckley Boutique, they use a glass case next to the register counter for their candle display.
Hair accessories, like scarves, can be suggested as an add-on when a customer is purchasing clothing. Displaying in multiples near the register area puts these bows at Monogram Muse clearly in a customer’s line of vision. Colorful headbands in a pretty bowl, make a nice countertop display at Everyday Indulgence.
If a store caters to area visitors, local products serve as a reminder to take home souvenirs of a customer’s trip, as seen here at Dedrick’s Pharmacy and Gifts. If a store sells any private-label products, the register is an ideal place for them.
When choosing products to display as impulse-buy products, look for items that are the “latest craze”. Silly Bandz and silicone watches are recent examples of best-selling point-of-purchase products.

Other ideas for impulse buys are inexpensive holiday items and special sales like buy-one-get one free promotions. Using smart choices for point-of-purchase products, a register area can become one of the highest “per square foot” sales areas in your retail store!

Becky Tyre is a visual merchandising consultant and owner of The Retail Details blog at She is also the Trends Editor at GIFT SHOP Magazine.


12 Surefire Tips to Increase Impulse Buying at the Cash Register

By Patricia Norins, Publisher

You’ve heard your customers say, “I’m just browsing." And they’re not being untruthful. The reality is that they don’t yet know what they want to buy until they see it. “Two-thirds of the shopping that goes on in malls is impulse buying,” says Paco Underhill, author of the book Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping. “Actually, two-thirds of the entire economy is impulse buying.” 

However, once a customer decides to make a purchase in your store, he or she is even more likely to add an additional item. Here are some tips on how you can increase total spending in your store at the cash register:

1. Use suggestive selling—Train every employee to make a suggestion to every customer about an item that complements the purchase in hand. For example, if the customer is at the register with a pair of reading glasses, you could suggest a decorative case to go with them. Many big-box stores track the average number of units per purchase per employee. They expect each employee to average 1.5 units per purchase. The goal of tracking is to put a plan in place to make each employee accountable for upselling each customer. You can also create a small bonus plan to incentivize your employees for hitting a monthly or quarterly goal of their average units per sale. 

2. Solve your customers’ problems—Retail veteran Virgil Klunder says that for him, the psychology of impulse buys comes down to two primal human motivations: avoiding pain and experiencing pleasure. “For every product, I look at the number of steps it takes for consumers to understand how that product will help them either avoid pain or gain pleasure. The fewer [the] steps, the better that product will do,” he says. “Big companies go out and spend millions on research, and that’s really what it comes down to—avoiding pain and gaining pleasure.”    

3. Offer value-oriented price points—There’s no doubt about it, in a recession, customers are looking for a good deal and they are very price sensitive. Items that are under $15 work best near the register.

4. Rotate inventory frequently—I can’t tell you how many stores have had the same display on the cash wrap for years. Rotate your products at the register monthly! Assign one person in your store the task of rotating the display and be sure to track those sales as a department so you can determine your store’s best impulse items. 

5. Promote your store's gift card program - Create a professional display to promote your store gift cards/certificates. Think about changing the signage regularly to reflect various holidays.  For example.  you might add a sign close to Mother's Day that says "The Perfect Gift for Every Mom." 

6. Set out greeting cards—Position mini cards near the register for the last-minute or time-pressed gift giver. 

7. Highlight accessories—According to a new study commissioned by Specialty Retail Report, jewelry is a top seller. Think about highlighting some fresh, inexpensive pieces near the register 

8. Make recommendations based on your customers’ specific preferences—Rather than just suggesting that your customers purchase an additional product based on the one they have in their hand, you can alter your suggestive selling based on your observations about their style, or information you know about them. Gloria Danvers of The JewelBox Goddess Shop says, “When a customer walks in through the door, I will pay attention to what she is wearing. If she is wearing a toe ring or an ankle bracelet, I will suggest a particular piece of jewelry. You have to be accessible and suggest things that will go with the customer’s personality. I have feng shui crystals for sale that would make great impulse items. If I see a customer is wearing purple, I will pick up the purple crystal, hold it up to the light and say, ‘Isn’t this gorgeous?’ Women buy jewelry for a lot of specific reasons. I sometimes ask questions if I know the customer. If she is going through a really hard divorce, then I’ll suggest rose quartz for unconditional love.” 

9. Use clear pricing—Cindy McAdams of Silver Crossing says, “A lot of my jewelry is on spinning displays, with the low- to medium-priced ones set to catch people’s eyes. The most important thing to remember if you want to encourage impulse buys is to have each item well marked with a price tag. If the customer picks up something and the item is not well marked, that is a distraction from the impulse. That chance [to make a sale] is lost.”

10. Try sampling—According to the Advertising Research Foundation, purchases rose from 11 percent to 52 percent among customers who attended a store event with sampling. Melissa Haberstroh of Burlap Horse explains, “We’ll offer candy this Christmas and set out samples to encourage impulse buys.”

11. Have ample counter space near the register—Haberstroh says, “We are fortunate to have a large counter space, and we are working on having different items that customers can look at while transactions are being conducted.”

12. Test, test, test!—Test different products and different price points to keep your customers interested and to determine what works best.

Patricia Norins is the Publisher of the quarterly trade magazine GIFT SHOP—an indispensable tool for more than 30,000 gift retailers seeking fresh new ideas for business success.  Norins is also an author of a how-to retail book and she writes a daily retail blog at  In addition, she consults for retailers and manufacturers across the country.  She can be reached at


Fall 2011 Trend Report

Hey Guys!

I am so honored that the OneCoast team has asked me to write an article every month on trends and what's hot in the fashion world. One of the cool things about my job is that I am constantly on the go and get to see inspiration all over the world, and I am so happy to be sharing my findings with all of you. My idea for SwitchFlops was born from a high school art project and looking back, I had no clue what I was getting into. I had a great a-ha moment and went with it. Sometimes in life you have to go with what your gut tells you. I have always had a passion for fashion, but I got my first taste for it when I was an intern at Ralph Lauren. Talk about fashion overload! No one does it better than Ralph. And what I learned is that all trends start with inspiration, a little bit of help from trend forecasters, and then a brand's interpretation of the meaning of trends for their brand. At Lindsay Phillips (aka LP) we read up on all the trends, study the fashion runway shows and then put our own LP spin on everything.  Sometimes fashion can be a bit overwhelming, so one of the things I want to do in this article is make it more palatable for you so you can make better business decisions for fashion merchandise in your stores. And personally you can interpret it for yourselves, which is what fashion is all about!  What most of us wear communicates who we are and our own personal style. So be sure to take these trends and make them your own.  I love to bring color and a sense of fun into everything I wear (and what LP creates) as that is my style!
Here is what we are seeing for Fall. The hot colors are purple, cranberry, teal and grey.  Overall trends are an interesting combination of feminine and masculine... very diverse styling- similar to what is going on in our culture today.  The 4 major trends are: (pictures with each!)
1. Into the Woods
- This trend is all about feathers, metallic snake-skins and animal prints. These are all natural materials that one would find outdoors. There is a big play on nature this Fall.
2. Fly Girl
- This trend is really inspired by Ameila Earhart. Camo is back, Sherpa (and fake furs) are in, and military inspired looks are hot again.
3. Charming
- This trend is all about going back to basics. When economic times get tough, life gets simplified. This group is filled with ribbons and bows, vintage classics, and tons of floral embellishments. Grandma's old cameos are a must have!
4. Gypset
-This trend is all about psychedelic patterns, ethnic motifs, and colored skins. This is a trend focused on mixing and matching. Honestly, there are no rules with this trend! Anything goes!!!! This concept it inspired by the fashion icon, Iris Apfel!
I hope this gives you a fun summary of what's hot for Fall. I challenge all of you to pull tears and keep a stash of items that inspire you such as magazine photos, ribbons, buttons etc.. This way you always have ideas and concepts of things you like. Maybe even make your own inspiration boards. Until next time!!



Out with the Old, In with the New

In the perfect retail world, a buyer would purchase the right amount of product without ever going way over in inventory.  Even with careful calculations and planning, you may still find yourself with excess inventory.  Now is not the time to be sitting on old merchandise with the holiday season just around the corner.  Here are some tips on moving the “old stuff” which could help free up buying dollars making way for new merchandise:
1.) Markdown that merchandise ~ Now more than ever you need to scrutinize your assortment and weed out inventory that will not be going forward next year. Sometimes it’s easier to not rock the boat and keep your inventory at regular price, but when you break that habit you will simplify your business and your store will profit. By doing this it can free up money that can be better spent on new and fresh merchandise for your customers. A suggestion would be to plan for space towards the back of your store for this type of specially marked merchandise. However, move your closeouts to the front of the store the day after Christmas.  This is the time of year where customers are specifically shopping for closeout deals.  
2.) Gift with purchase or reward program ~ Offering a gift with purchase program in your store is a great way to move merchandise.  When a customer spends a certain amount in your store, offer a select bin or table full of goodies where customers can choose an item once they have reached that spending limit.  Another great program is a customer loyalty rewards program.  Thank your best customers with gift bag of goodies (possibly including an item or two from your excess inventory) along with a gift certificate good towards their next purchase.  They’ll be appreciative of your good gesture and will be excited to return to your shop with their gift certificate in hand.
3.) Host an In-Store Event ~ Events are great ways to market your store while having a lot of fun!  Conduct giveaways during your event with the winning prizes being your “older” or excess inventory.  Set up a table or bin where the winning customer can select their prize.  Maybe even create a gift basket filled with your goodies for one grand prize drawing.  Either way you are promoting your store while moving merchandise.  It's a win-win!
4.) Offer a special promotion ~ Another great way to move excess inventory is by offering special promotions vs. doing a drastic markdown. Try promoting items at "Buy One Get One Free".  You will move inventory quickly while not losing money at the same time.