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  e-ret@iler newsletter
August 2009
Volume 10 Issue 9 Profits_Plus Solutions
Tom Shay Photo
Article of the Month

It is all fun and games
Tom Shay

The August 2009 article is a topic that seems to be popping up a lot lately. I did an interview with a magazine yesterday on the topic. I wrote an article on the topic for a trade show I am speaking at in October, and the book I am currently writing for a group in the industry is this same topic.

How do you engage your employees? While I understand the person that says they will not give an employee a reward for doing something they should already be doing, I must say that I have not see it work real well.

This month's article gives you some ideas of how to inject fun into getting your employees to engage at work.

Click on Article of the Month to read this article.

Book of the Month

Maximizing store impact
Donna Geary

How did you enjoy George Whalin's new book last month? I enjoy books written in that format because I can treat each section as a separate book and complete it over multiple evenings of reading.

This month's book is also written in a format I enjoy. It is the same format I am using to write a series of books for one of the retail industries. This is not just a 'read' book; it is a 'do' book.

The graphics are great, the tip lists in the margins are helpful, and the prompts; well they prompt you to use the information to help your store look better. A better looking store is able to increase average sales tickets and sales per square foot.

We have more books to suggest for your reading. Click on Book Referral to visit this page on our site.

e-ret@iler Conversations


We have a lot of new information on the e-ret@iler conversations blog. We invite you to add your comments, ideas, and observations.

Visit our e-ret@iler conversations, find the category of interest and post your comments, questions or best practices. You may also go directly to one of our categories by clicking on one of the links below.

  1. Advertising
  2. Employee Issues
  3. Financial Management
  4. General Discussion
  5. Merchandising
  6. Sales Techniques
  7. Vendor Issues


Contact Us

Profits Plus
P.O. Box 1577
St. Petersburg, FL
33731 USA
(727) 464-2182 Voice
(727) 898-3179 Fax

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Business Advisory

Popcorn. The lesson I want to share with you this month comes from the sale of popcorn at Wal-Mart. An article I recently read discussed how the mass merchants are cutting down on the stock keeping units (sku's) they have in their store. Wal-Mart was cutting the microwave popcorn selection to three brands of which one was their private label.

A second example was Walgreen's drug stores which is starting with their stores in Florida and doing a reduction of 4,500 items. In addition to many areas getting a cut similar to what Wal-Mart is doing with the popcorn, they are eliminating the hardware and automotive selections entirely.

As you read this, as with all other news, you can look at this in two ways. The first is to say, "Wow, this recession is really bad. I better cut back in my business as well".

Or, you can say, "What a great opportunity! I better get going to take advantage of it."

What advantage? My experience is that Walgreen's which were once located in strip centers are still located close by those same strip centers. In most strip centers there is an auto parts store and a hardware store.

This means the customers that are going into Walgreen's for their minor hardware and automotive needs now have to go somewhere else. It is a great opportunity to have new customers introduced to a business.

The same scenario will continue to play out for businesses in all kinds of retail industries. The big competition decides to make cut backs in what they stock. Perhaps it is a certain brand or item that you stocked as well. With the mass merchant no longer stocking it, you can have the opportunity to add some margin.

The question I am asking is month is, 'Are you watching the competition?'

As they make changes you can see it as a sign of a bad economy or you can see it as an opportunity for you to make money.

The July e-retailer conference call is posted on the website. You can hear it for free by following this link:

July e-retailer conference call

August e-retailer conference call is likely going to be Thursday, August 27 at 8:00 edt. As always I will send a notice about a week before and then one last reminder just before the call. Instructions on how to participate will be in both of the announcement messages.

The topic I am preparing for the August conference call is pricing. Enough of this 'keystone' or 'hard goods multiplied by a certain number and soft goods by a different number'. Let's talk about how to maximize margins.

We are also going to discuss discounting in light of the current economy. Your 'homework assignment for the conference call is to read this article in Business Week magazine. The article discusses retailers that are discounting their prices.

Where discounting can be dangerous

For you bloggers, Tweeters, Facebook and other social media readers we had added a new feature to the Profits Plus website. You can now highlight information on the site. With Firefox, Chrome and Safari browsers you will have multiple options for easily posting the material you have highlighted. Internet Explorer is currently limited to only one option.

Internet Tip of The Month
Return on assets

The return on assets calculation does bear a strong resemblance to that of last month's 'return on equity' calculation. Both calculations help you to understand how your investment in your business is working. The equity calculator looks at the rate of return as compared to how much of the business you actually own. What you actually own is the total of the assets minus the total of the liabilities.

The return on assets calculation tells you how well all of the assets are performing. As an example, the total assets could be $800,000 and the liabilities $550,000. Your equity is $250,000. The return on equity calculation is looking at the $250,000. The return on assets calculation is looking at the $800,000.

And as always, this calculator is on the Profits Plus website and available to you at all times for free.

Return on assets calculator

The Power Promoting Idea of the Month
Getting local 'cause marketing' to work for you

Walking through our downtown area this morning, I saw an example of this promotion. And while I would compliment them for doing it, they did a very poor job of promoting it.

The bloodmobile was parked on the street in front of a local bank. Of course the bank is to be complimented for doing this, but from the way it looked from the 'outside' this was an event only for their employees. Other than the signage of the bloodmobile, there was nothing to invite the public to participate.

Maybe you had to walk in the bank to see something, but the bank missed a great opportunity to build good will with their customers and gain new customers as well. How so?

What if they were to have sent postcards to all of their customers inviting them to participate?

What if they gave a reward to the employee of the bank who brought the most friends and neighbors to give blood?

What if they had a table on the sidewalk promoting the joint effort? How about someone handing out flyers on the street? How about an incentive to all existing and new customers for donating? How about getting a radio station to do a remote broadcast for the event?

Again, the idea was good, but the carry through was poor. If you are going to promote, go crazy with it. As an example, about 60 miles away there was a business that did a blood drive. However, they engaged a radio station, a restaurant, and a construction company.

The restaurant provided snacks to all that came. The restaurant gave gift certificates to all who donated. The radio station did a remote broadcast. If you donated, you got a free 60 second commercial in prime time on the station, or you could select a song to be played on the station.

Oh yeah; the construction company. They donated two cranes. It seems the business got the radio announcers to do all of their efforts from a cage that was lifted high above the parking lot of the business. As one of the radio announcers was female, she was high in the air in her cage asking women to donate. The same went for the male announcer. The first one to come down was the one who got 100 donations.

After a full day involving not one, but eight bloodmobiles, the total donation was over 200 pints of blood. It took two days to play all the dedicated songs and make all the free announcements. And for many days the radio station talked about what they did to help and who the business was that started the whole thing.

If you are going to promote, don't be a wimp about it! And you can find more ideas like this in our promotions books. You can order your copy by clicking on the link below; each book is only $9.95 plus postage.

Profits Plus Resource Center


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