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e-ret@iler from Profits+Plus and Tom Shay
ideas to sell more merchandise and service
February 2004 - Our 51st consecutive issue

The February issue of the e-ret@iler contains:

1. The article of the month: The Key Ingredient
2. e-ret@iler advisory of the month: Crystal Ball
3. Our Power Promoting idea of the month: March 29
4. Book of the month: Fish!
5. Your e-ret@iler subscription and contacting
Profits+Plus and Tom Shay

=> Print the February issue of the e-ret@iler so
you can read it at your leisure.


1. Article of the month: The Key Ingredient

The article of the month comes from a first hand
experience in a restaurant. It was amazing how
something burning, and the decisions made, can
have such a lasting effect on customers. It is
so unfortunate to see businesses spend thousands
of dollars in an effort to get people to spend
money with them, only to have some short sighted
decision they have made, cancel out all of their

Our suggestion is that you read the article,
and then see how the scenario of the key will
play out in your business.

Click on this link to visit the Profits+Plus
website to read the February article of the month.

The Key Ingredient

We have also added a new feature to the website
relating to the articles on the site. After reading
an article, if you want to forward that article to
a friend, you can do so with just a couple of clicks
of your mouse.

0 <= After printing the February e-ret@iler, check
here if you plan to read the article of the month.


2. e-ret@iler advisory of the month: Crystal Ball

Just this past week there was another article on
the Internet in which the author was giving
their vision for the future of small businesses.
While these articles are enjoyable to read, I
often am disappointed as they include many
aspects that do not apply to retail. With that
in mind, I have decided with the February advisory
of the month, to share some ideas of how I see
the area of Mom and Pop retailing to be in the
next five to ten years.

It really doesn't involve a crystal ball, for the
future I am seeing is actually happening today
with a select, and too small, of a group of
retailers throughout North America.

Let's look first at the "brick and mortar" side of
the business. While some retailers will "click only"
with their Internet business, the majority will have
a combination.

The brick and mortar people that will have a
high level of success will do so because of their
superior efforts to better niche their business.
It will no longer suffice to be a hardware store,
men's clothing store, or even an auto parts store.

Each of these success stories will have worked
to identify the best customers and supply them
with all of their needs. Take for example a
garden center. Many have in the past settled for
just having a higher quality plant material than
the box stores.

Our future success stores will instead concentrate
on their core customers and what they need. The
store will know that this customer is using their
quality material to build their ideal outdoor room.
In each location, they will know if the customers
will want to add an outside sound system, an
outside lighting system, and if the customer
is going to want to feed the wildbirds, squirrels,
and other wild animals.

Currently, too many people will offer their customers
a bird feeder and a higher quality food. When the
customer asks how to mount their new bird feeder,
the store is telling the customer to go to the
box store to buy that 4 x 4 post they need. They
are also sending that customer to the box store
to buy the necessary shovel or post hole digger.
If the customer is going to buy two of the four
things they need at the box store, why not just
go to the box store and buy all four items? It
would save the customer a lot of time.

Our future success will be aware of everything
the customer needs and have it - even if it
means they go to the box store themselves
to purchase the 4 x 4 posts to resell to the

What we have known as a garden center in the
past will now become a niche outdoor room
store that is very accurately targeting the
customer. They will do so because they have
made an effort to ask their customers questions
as they have shopped in the store. The store
knows how big the yard is, how far the customer
drives to work, and what time the customer
gets home each work day. They know whether this
customer maintains their own yard/outdoor room,
or if they utilize a service. This outdoor
room store may even offer the lawn maintenance

In the future, our success business will carry
a combination of name brand products as well as
products that are not found in the mass merchants.
The name brand products answers the initial request
of the customer walking in the door, while the
other products will be suggested by the store
as they move the customer to a product that better
suits their needs. The store is now solving a
customer's needs instead of just having the
customer's wants (like the competition).

Our success business is going to also utilize
the Internet. Even when their customer base
largely comes from an area very close to their
"brick and mortar" business, the Internet allows
the customer to shop at their convenience. It
also allows them to offer their unique products
to customers that cannot find what they are
looking for in local stores. It also allows them
to keep customers that may move out of their
immediate trade area.

To emphasize this point, I share with you the
stories of a fire place store in the southeastern
United States where customers in California are
their largest block of customers. Or, how about the
vacuum cleaner store in Florida that sells $6 million
in products of which many can be found in other
stores. They just make it more convenient than
their competition.

Then there is Cole's Hardware in San Francisco
that has a great looking retail store as well as
a great looking Internet store. After you have
tried to find a specialty nut and bolt without
success locally, you won't mind waiting a couple
of days for Cole's to send you exactly what you
want. There are surely a lot of people that
have Cole's marked as one of their favorites in
their Internet browser.

This is enough for this month. We will visit this
idea again to see other aspects of where retailing
is going for the Mom and Pop success story of the
future. Of course the question is, "Are you making
plans, and carrying them out, to be a part of this group?"

What are your thoughts on the crystal ball of
retailing? Send in your ideas, and we will include
the best of them in the March issue. And for those
entries we select, we will have a special reward
for you.

0 <= After printing the February e-ret@iler, check
here if you plan to read the e-retailer advisory
of the month.


3. Our Power Promoting idea of the month: March 29

Monday, March 29 is a national holiday in our
industry. It is Mom and Pop Business Owner's Day.
Celebrate by having a sale in your store or on
your website. Last year, we observed a group of
stores that got together with their newspaper to
promote the event. You could even get the local
television or radio stations involved. The idea
is to recognize and promote the idea of doing
business with a locally owned business.

Where in the world do we get these Power Promoting
ideas month after month? We have been collecting them
for many years and now have them available in book
format. We have so many ideas that we even have two
books on the topic. Visit the Profits+Plus resource
center and take a look at the Ideas series of books.
The book with the blue cover and the one with the red cover
each contain 100 of the tried and proven promotional

The book with the green cover and the book with the
gold cover each contain 100 management tips and
shortcuts that can help you to make your business
more profitable. Each book is only $9.95.

This month's idea comes from the red book.

Click on the link below to visit the Profits+Plus
resource center.

Ideas Books

0 <= After printing the February e-ret@iler, check here
if you plan to visit the Resources Page to order
the Ideas books.


4. Book of the month: Fish!

For our second month of book recommendations, we
are going to go with another that is an easy read.
This doesn't mean that the content is light weight,
but as we are working to get more people into the
habit of reading business books, we want to show that
reading is fun and tremendously beneficial to your

Fish! by Stephen Loden, Harry Paul, and John Christensen,
is written about the store that many of us have
seen in the news. When you visit the market in
Seattle, you will see many businesses. Some sell
flowers, some sell fruits and vegetables, other
various items, and some sell fish. The problem
that any business would have in this marketplace
would be to distinguish themselves from the

The story in the book Fish! is how one business
did distinguish themselves. It is also about
a new business owner that saw the operation with
a set of eyes that was very different from the
previous owner. It is also a story about
solving staff problems. And it is an important
story about a lesson that so many people need
to learn - how to enjoy what they are doing!

Enjoy Fish! - a fun and great read. If you have
already read this book, or are wanting to find
other interesting titles, here is a link to
our website page that contains a list of good
retail business books.

Book Referral List


6. Your e-ret@iler subscription and contacting
Profits+Plus and Tom Shay

Simply stated, the e-ret@iler is free. If you
received it as a result of someone passing it to
you, you can get your own subscription by visitng
the Profits+Plus website and entering your
e-mail information to get a subscription.

Contacting us is just as easy. Our phone is
727-464-2182. The fax number is 727-898-3179.
Our mailing address is: PO Box 1577, St.
Petersburg, FL 33731 USA.

Thanks for taking the time this month from
your business to visit with us by way of this
e-mail newsletter, the e-ret@iler. Our goal is
to have you find a bit of information in it that
will help you make your business more profitable.

We continue to ask you to make an effort to
locate and do business with other small businesses.
You will meet some really great people and
find others who really appreciate their customers,
just the way you do!

Get your Profits+Plus, and may God bless you and
yours! See you in March 2004.

Tom Shay

Copyright Notice

Profits Plus Solutions, Inc.
PO Box 1577
St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
(727) 464-2182
Fax: (727) 898-3179