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

Niche departments, niche people
Tom Shay

The article for September was written because of an employee from our business. We were very fortunate to have a gentleman by the name of Bob Sheridan walk into our store one day.

If you have heard me speak at a conference or trade show, you have likely heard me tell the story of Bob. Because of Bob's talents and product knowledge, we decided to place special emphasis on a part of the store.

It turned out to be a wise decision as this part went from being the #5 department to the #2 department.

The idea is that you can develop your niche according to the people that work for you.

Click on Article of the Month to read this article.

Book of the Month

Visual merchandising - the business of merchandise presentation
Robert Colborne

It is a very helpful book that I am suggesting for this month with plenty of pictures and instructions on how to build the displays.

It has been shown that every store can increase sales by knowing how to display merchandise so that the items you want to sell are the ones that customers are most apt to see and spend time examining.

When you get a customer in the store, it is more important now than ever that you do not let the opportunity to make a sale walk out the door empty handed.

Get a copy of this book and let this research work for you just as soon as you try the first idea.

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

1. The August conference call was well attended and one that was filled with a lot of useful information. The down side to the call was the storm we were having here in Florida. Although the call was being recorded, the intermittent lighting strikes disconnected the service and all we got was the first few minutes.

Let me share with you several articles I found online that you will want to read as you decide the strategy for your business on the issue of discounting.

The title of the first article says a lot about the situation.

I can get it cheaper somewhere else. Even as you discount your prices, this will continue to be true. Don't ever think you have gotten to 'the bottom rung' of the pricing ladder.

The second article asks the question that I am concerned about. If you change to a discount image, what will be there for you when the economy completes the turnaround. Will you be stuck with the discount image? Will you have thrown away your years of image building? The title gives you an indication,'At a crossroad'.

The last article has some good ideas on how to discount without killing your image. It is titled,'How to discount'. Having used components of this philosophy in previous recessions, I think this author is on the right track.

The September e-retailer conference call is likely going to be WEDNESDAY, September 23 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 September conference call will be the financial statements. We will talk about the profit and loss statement as well as the balance sheet.

Do you have a part of the financial statements you don't understand? Perhaps you don't know that you should be making decisions each month based upon the information contained in these documents.

If these questions fit you, be sure to join us.

2. In a recent presentation I made a comment that the recession creates a giant free agent market that you can take advantage of to improve your staff. While you can read the entire article by following our twitter (ftomshay), the author is taking five quotes to give some sound advice.

They are: Hire those that are willing to make a decision. Hire those that have a personality. Don't be afraid of hiring those that are smarter than you. Get people that fit in, but stand out from your existing staff. Go with your gut feeling.

What amazes me so much in the current economy is all the unqualified and unskilled people working in our businesses. With all the news of so much unemployment, why aren't more businesses taking advantage of the free agent market and trading up?

Internet Tip of The Month
Gross profit percentage

This term has many names. Saying it is the gross profit stated as a percentage is one correct way; another is gross margin. One that is definitely WRONG is MARKUP.

There is no such thing as markup. I think we consider it because we have something called markdown. Like many things, if there is a down there must be an up. It is true in other things but not in margin.

Simply stated, you subtract the cost from the selling price of an item. The resulting answer is your gross profit - stated in a dollar amount format. Take the gross profit and divide it by the selling price. The resulting answer, in a percentage format is the gross profit percentage or gross margin.

And this point; if you have the cost of an item and want to know the selling price. You do NOT multiply the cost by the gross margin to get the selling price.

You can perform this exercise by using the financial ratios calculator from our website. And as always, this calculator is on the Profits Plus website and available to you at all times for free.

Gross profit percentage

The Power Promoting Idea of the Month
Appreciating your customers

I have a friend that has a men's clothing store. I like his stuff. To think of customers he sends them a tie that he believes they will like. If they like it, he sends a bill. If they don't like it he takes it back.

There is a story that says the best shoe salesperson for Nordstrom sells over $1.5 million (US) every year. This salesperson has a notebook tracking every customer and their preferences. When something arrives that the salesperson believes the customer will like, they are shipped to the customer with a prepaid return postage envelope. This person works just like my friend.

How about a simple version? What if you just called people? If you have 'inhouse' charge accounts, what if you sent all of them a note that said you appreciate their business? Then again, you could just continue to use the traditional media and do the 'item and price' thing that so many other businesses do.

Letting customers know you appreciate and want them is important. Of course, if the transactions are of the type the customer does not give their contact information, then you need to find a reason for them to share it with you.

If that last sentence is a sticking point for you, give me a call and let's see if we can find an idea that will work in your business.

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