Editor’s Letter: Partners for Success By Julie McCallum

Spring has finally sprung! The winter of 2015 will go down in the record books for outrageous amounts of snowfall and cold temperatures. It made travel tricky but hopefully everyone made it out to see new products at the winter trade shows. And from what we witnessed in Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Las Vegas and Chicago, the mood was upbeat and sales were strong.
Editor Julie McCallum
Editor Julie McCallum

As we spring forward, it’s a great time for spring-cleaning and goal setting. What are your goals for the year? Whether it is increasing business, raising awareness, rebranding or social media, I think we can all agree on a common goal: reaching customers.

Reaching customers is important to any business. There are so many avenues one can take but sometimes the best place to start is your own backyard. In this issue’s Featured Gift Shop, we talk to Trisha Logan, owner of Shindig Paperie in Fayetteville, Arkansas. One of the reasons she and the others in their retail community are successful is the grassroots collection of local shop owners on their street. Cross-promotion, especially around the holidays, has created a vibrant Shop Local Saturday after Black Friday event that they all benefit from.

Research is showing that shoppers are starting their decision-making long before they step foot into your store. There are more ways than ever of reaching them at home. In our Marketing Operations article, John Budzynski from the United States Postal Service explains new direct mail services that can help you target and reach those customers who are most likely to walk into your store. By putting a QR code on a mail piece, you can further invite these potential customers to check out your store on their smartphone before they leave home.

The new retail industry buzzword for this type of customer is “omnichannel shopper.” These customers bounce between physical stores to laptops to smartphones, and a purchase can come via any of these avenues, according to a November 2014 article by Sarah Halzack of the Washington Post. As the lines blur between in-store and digital shopping, savvy retailers must win over these shoppers in order to survive in a fast-changing landscape. Online and physical stores have become an interdependent ecosystem, she says.

Another fast-changing aspect of this industry is trends. Luckily, we have one of the best trend-spotters in Sarah Schwartz, senior trends editor. In this issue, Sarah will walk you through a lineup of Pantone colors for 2015 with a trend report that features products across several categories in this year’s top color stories. She is also at the helm of many of our showcases featuring everything from apparel and accessories to candles to whimsical. Enjoy!

We posed a question on our Facebook page not long ago that asked what is your biggest challenge as a gift shop retailer. The lively discussion that ensued was enlightening. Many people had similar challenges and some had great suggestions for others. It was proof of a very vibrant community, even if we aren’t all on the same street. Like us on Facebook and join in the discussions!

We all need each other to survive. Whether you run a small gourmet gift shop or an independent stationery store with several locations, we can all help each other by sharing ideas, challenges and, ultimately, by sharing solutions.

Julie McCallum

Julie McCallum is editor-in-chief of Gift Shop Magazine. She is formerly the editor of Museums & More and has more than 25 years experience in publishing.




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Upcoming Trade Shows

June 28, 2017 - June 30, 2017

International Christian Retail Show (ICRS)

Orlando, FL
July 5, 2017 - July 7, 2017

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Tokyo,
July 10, 2017 - July 17, 2017

Atlanta Summer Gift & Home Furnishings Market

Atlanta, GA
July 20, 2017 - July 24, 2017

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Los Angeles, CA
July 20, 2017 - July 23, 2017

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75 Applewood Drive, Suite A
PO Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345
616.887.9008
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